Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting his Chinese counterpart at an economic forum in the far eastern port city of Vladivostok today as armed forces from both countries descend on eastern Siberia to launch Moscow's largest-ever military drills. Russia's week-long deployment alongside Chinese and Mongolian troops, known as "Vostok-2018" (East-2018), comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in Western affairs and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. Comparing this week's show of force to the Soviet Union's 1981 war games during which between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers took part in "Zapad-81" (West-81)—the largest military exercises of the Soviet era—Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said these exercises will be even larger, with 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships taking part in the drills. China's participation in the quadrennial war games, while comparatively modest with only...
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