Putin says will strengthen army at military drills

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that his country was peace-loving and that the ongoing Vostok-2018 exercises deemed as the largest military drills since the Cold War, were aimed at developing its defence capabilities.

More than 300,000 soldiers from Russian Federation and China are taking part in the land, air and sea exercises this week, in a show of strength and friendship between Moscow and Beijing.

On site, Mr Putin praised the "mastery" of the Russian army and its "ability to deal with potential threats".

Given the declining and increasingly acrimonious state of relations since Russia's annexation of Crimea, Putin "wishes to be as best prepared as possible to prevail in open warfare", Giles said.

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"It is our duty to our country and homeland to be ready to defend its sovereignty, security and national interests, and if necessary - to support the allies", Putin said.

The main stage of the Vostok-2018 strategic drills was held at the Tsugol firing range in the Trans-Baikal Region.

He added: "Therefore, we will continue to strengthen our armed forces, equip them with latest weapons and technologies, to develop worldwide military cooperation". Additionally, military cooperation will be further developed.

During his tour of the area, he referred to the strengthening of the Army with state-of-the-art weapons and equipment, and he also thanked the Chinese and Mongolian military participants in the exercises.

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For example, a surprise inspection of the Northern Fleet took place in mid-August, while similar inspections of the Central and Eastern military districts happened later that month.

Vostok-2018, involving almost 300,000 servicemen, 36,000 vehicles and over a thousand aircraft, is Russia's largest military exercise since the Zapad drills in 1981.

According to the Russian army, 87 observers from 59 countries were present for the Russian-Chinese exercises.

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