Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Putin visited "Vostok-2018"

Putin visited

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited Russia's largest-ever military drills in eastern Siberia, where he said Moscow planned to strengthen the country's armed forces.

The Vostok-2018 military manoeuvres have begun in Russia's far east.

Addressing a gathering of the soldiers on Thursday, Putin said Russian Federation was a peaceful country ready for cooperation with any state interested in partnership, but it was a soldier's duty to be ready to defend his country and its allies.

Russia's Ministry of Defence broadcast images on Tuesday of military trucks being transported on trains, columns of tanks, armoured vehicles and warships on the move, and combat helicopters and fighter aircraft taking off.

On site, Mr Putin praised the "mastery" of the Russian army and its "ability to deal with potential threats".

He also said that the Russian armed forces will be further boosetd, supplied with weapons and equipment of latest generations.

"Russia is a peaceful nation", Putin said.

The annual war games involve simulating attacks on enemies or repelling invasions from border countries.

'Today in the Tsugol polygon, in (the region of) Zabaikalie, the most active stage of the maneuvers, carried out at a high level, ends.

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.

But Putin played down the threat of Russian militarism, declaring his country a "peace-loving state". "We do not have and we can not have any plans for aggression".

The Russian leader greeted the 87 observers from 57 invited countries, the liaison mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the representation of the European Union.

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