Putin inspects war games, vows to beef up army

Putin watches war games billed as Russia's biggest ever; China taking part

Russian Federation and China officially kicked-off Moscow's largest war games in history this week; conducting joint drills and exercises in a stunning show of cooperation between the two nations.

Putin praised the "mastery" of the Russian army and its "capacity to face down potential threats" after watching the drills at the Tsugol military training ground near the borders with Mongolia and China.

The exercises, which are taking place in Siberia, Russia's far east and on its Pacific coast, involve 36,000 tanks and come amid hard relations between the west and Russia, and souring ties between China and the US. The exercises in the far east continue until September 17. They involve almost 300,000 Russian troops along with 1,000 Russian aircraft and 36,000 tanks and other combat vehicles. Analysts say that China's participation - the first ever country not from the former Soviet Union to be invited - shows the depth of the Asian neighbours' friendship.

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During the main stage of the exercises, Russian, Chinese and Mongolian military units worked out actions to repel the offensive of a conventional enemy, to start their own offensive and to complete the defeat of the conventional enemy's main forces, the Kremlin said.

Sergei Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe visited the Tsugol firing range in eastern Siberia where the troops were taking part in a joint exercise.

The air, sea and ground drills were witnessed by 87 observers invited from 57 countries.

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