'Biggest Military Exercise Since Cold War' Begins In Russia

WATCH: Russia moves its hardware into place as Vostock-2018 begins

Military exercises described recently by Russia as its largest war games since the Cold War have started in the eastern part of the country.

'Vostock-2018' has kicked off in waters around the Far East and Pacific and involves around 300,000 military personnel according to the Russian Defence Ministry.

More than 1,000 aircraft, 36,000 vehicles and 80 ships will also be involved.

The war games will also be held at military training grounds and air force bases.

Vostock-2018 is split into two stages - the first focused on maritime forces, and the second the training of offensive and defensive warfare.

China and Mongolia will also participate in what are the largest exercises of their kind since 1981.

In June, NATO held the two-week-long Exercise Sabre Strike involving 19 countries and 18,000 troops, which Russia viewed as provocation.

'Russia demonstrating they could fight full-scale operations' - Professor Mark Galeotti

When the exercises were announced last month, Professor Mark Galeotti, Russian expert at the Institute of International Relations Prague, spoke to Forces News about Vostok-2018: "They [Russia] are really training and demonstrating to the rest of the world, that they are now in position where if they needed to, they could fight full-scale, all-arms operations.

"You don't put up to 300,000 people in the field, or at least getting involved in an exercise, just for the optics.

"This [Vostok-2018] is about training how their higher level command structures work but at the same time, they absolutely have a clear sense of how the rest of the world is going to look at it and particularly with the involvement of the Chinese. 

"This is also meant to be a part of demonstrating that Russia does have a friend and this is an operation, from the Chinese point of view, is also demonstrating that the Chinese should not be ruled out in modern geopolitics."

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