Drills Show Russian Army Capable of Countering Threats: Putin
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on Thursday at the Tsugol Range in Russia's Zabaikalsky Territory to attend the main stage of the Vostok-2018 maneuvers.
Vostok-2018, set to become the largest military exercises held by Russia in over 35 years, are being held on September 11-17 at five ranges in the east of Russia, and in the waters of the Sea of Japan, Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.
According to previous estimates, about 300,000 troops were set to participate in the maneuvers. The drills have gained an international status, with troops from China and Mongolia set to take part in one of the stages.
"Russia is a peaceful state, we do not have and cannot have any aggressive plans," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at the Tsugol range.
However, the Russian army must be ready to protect national sovereignty and security and support the country's allies, Putin stressed.
"Our duty to our country and motherland is to be ready to protect sovereignty, security and national interests of our country and, if needed, to support allies," he said, Sputnik reported.
In addition, the Vostok-2018 war games demonstrated that the Russian army is capable of countering significant military threats, he stressed. "You demonstrated the military prowess, showed your capability to successfully counter potential military threats," Putin said addressing the troops that participated in the drills.
Putin further stressed that he highly assessed the performance of the Russian army and navy in the Vostok-2018 drills.
"Today here, at the Tsugol range in the Zabaikalsky Territory, the most active stage of the (Vostok-2018) drills came to an end. You demonstrated the high-level performance. All units and formations have fulfilled the set tasks," the Russian president added.
He also said that the Russian armed forces will be further boosetd, supplied with weapons and equipment of latest generations. Additionally, military cooperation will be further developed.
The large-scaled war games involve troops from the Eastern and Central Military Districts, the Northern Fleet and the Airborne Troops, as well as some units from the Russian Aerospace Forces.
The Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov said earlier that the exercises were preceded by a full cycle of preparatory measures, including sudden checks, as well as command and staff training.
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.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Col. Gen. Alexander Fomin stressed last week that the Vostok-2018 war games are not an anti-NATO event despite claims made by Western media, and that they are held several thousand kilometers away from Russia's western borders. The official noted that 91 observers from 57 countries, NATO Military Liaison Mission and EU Delegation to Russia attend the large-scaled exercises.
Vostok-2018, involving nearly 300,000 servicemen, 36,000 vehicles and over a thousand aircraft, is Russia's largest military exercise since the Zapad drills in 1981.