Posted on September 11, 2018
The last Russian exercise of similar scale was in 1981, during the Cold War but Vostok-2018 involves more troops. It comes at a time of heightened Nato-Russia tensions. Relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) – a 29-member defence alliance dominated by the US – have worsened since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified given “aggressive and unfriendly” attitudes towards Russia. Tuesday and Wednesday will see planning and preparation while actual operations will start on Thursday and last five days, the head of the Russian general staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. The Russian defence ministry says 36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and armoured infantry vehicles will take part in Vostok-2018, from 11 to 17 September, along with more than 1,000 aircraft. Vostok is Russian for east.