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Thread: 5 things to know about Russia’s Vostok-2018 military exercises

  1. #1

    5 things to know about Russia’s Vostok-2018 military exercises

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ary-exercises/

    September 13 2018

    Military analysts around the world are keeping a close eye on Russia’s annual fall military maneuvers, as this year may turn out to be the largest post-Cold War show of force. Vostok-2018 kicks off this week in Russia’s Far East and the Pacific Ocean, along with auxiliary exercises before and after the main event.

    The big news this year is the addition of joint exercises with China. What do these military exercises entail, and what do you need to know?

    1. What are these war games?
    The Vostok exercise is part of an annual rotating series of large-scale exercises that serve as the capstone to the Russian military’s annual training cycle. The series rotates through the four main Russian operational strategic commands (Eastern, Caucasus, Central and Western) that give name to the exercises. “Vostok” means east; last fall’s Zapad-2017 took place along Russia’s western border.

    Similar major strategic operational exercises took place each fall throughout the Soviet period as well. However, unlike past military-readiness drills, the Defense Ministry has billed Vostok-2018 a strategic maneuver exercise, in which the forces are divided into two groups that engage each other rather than fighting an imaginary opponent, as was the case in all previous iterations.

    2. What is Russia’s main goal for Vostok-2018?
    According to the Foreign Ministry’s official statement, the goals of the exercise include improving the Russian military’s ability to exercise command and control of joint military operations across multiple services in the eastern theater of operations, to move troops across long distances to the Russian Far East, and to coordinate operations between ground forces and the Pacific Fleet.

    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced “comprehensive snap checks of the Central and Eastern military districts, the Northern Fleet, the Airborne Troops, and long-range and military transport aircraft” began Aug. 20. It is also likely a nuclear forces exercise will take place at some point during this period, though it will not be linked to the Vostok exercise.

    3. How big is big?
    Official sources say the total strength of Russian forces involved in the exercise will be 300,000 military personnel, more than 1,000 aircraft, and 36,000 pieces of equipment including 1,100 tanks and more than 50 combat ships, making this the largest military exercise on Russian territory since at least 1981.

    The actual size of the exercise is likely to be a fair bit smaller than advertised. The Russian military has a history of inflating the number of participants in previous Vostok exercises by including entire brigades and divisions in the count, even when active involvement was limited to one battalion or regiment from that unit.

    According to Russian military expert Alexander Golts, it would be impossible to hold an exercise as large as advertised without tying up the limited transportation links between central Russia and the Far East for several weeks. Nevertheless, analysts expect Vostok-2018 to be larger than last year’s Zapad exercise, which was constrained by the OSCE Vienna Document.

    4. Why are Chinese troops involved?
    In addition to Russian forces, Chinese and Mongolian forces will participate in the exercise on Russian territory. China will be represented by 3,200 personnel using 900 pieces of equipment and 30 aircraft. Inviting Chinese forces will help assuage any lingering Chinese concerns about the Russian military preparing for a future fight with China.

    It also makes it possible for Vostok-2018 to be the first Vostok exercise to openly advertise an interstate-conflict scenario, in this case between two coalitions of states. Previous Vostok exercises were all officially described as aimed at eliminating terrorist groups or illegal armed formations, so as to avoid having to defend a scenario where Russian troops were exercising to protect their country against what could only be seen as a Chinese invasion.

    According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, the goal of Chinese participation is to further Russian-Chinese relations and strengthen the strategic partnership between the two states. The exercise will also provide the Chinese military, which has not been involved in combat operations in several decades, an opportunity to learn combat tactics and strategy from recent Russian experiences fighting in Syria.

    5. What is the political impact?

    Russia no doubt welcomes this signal of Chinese support at a time when political tensions with NATO and the United States show no sign of abating. Chinese participation in Russia’s major annual military exercise is a signal that Beijing is ready to develop a closer partnership with Moscow if relations with the United States continue to deteriorate.

    Chinese official media have been uncharacteristically ebullient about the political meaning of this exercise, trumpeting a deepening strategic partnership — for the first time openly highlighting that China’s partnership with Russia is intended to challenge the hegemonic role of the United States in the international system.

    At the same time, one exercise, even a large and politically significant one such as Vostok-2018, stops short of any covert declaration of a bilateral military alliance. Nor is Vostok-2018 a rehearsal for a large-scale global war. As was the case last year with the Zapad exercise, when many analysts overstated that size of the exercise and discussed the likelihood it would serve as cover for a Russian occupation of Belarus and/or a new invasion of Ukraine, threat inflation serves only to discredit the analysts and foster media fatigue about the real threats posed by the Russian military and its gradually developing partnership with China.

    Despite the China buzz, Vostok-2018 is thus just another in a rotating series of annual capstone military exercises. Its main political significance comes from the signaling by both Russia and China about the possible emergence of a strategic partnership, aimed at countering the threat that both countries feel from continued U.S. dominance of the international system.

    Military analysts are tracking the daily Vostok-2018 roundup news and will do a deep dive into the military significance after the exercise has concluded. It’s likely that the exercise will be another strong demonstration of the Russian military’s ever-improving capacity to transfer forces to the Far East from other parts of Russia — and ability to operate its air, land and sea forces in a joint manner.




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  3. #2
    From ZeroHedge: China Joins Russia In Massive War Games In Sign Of Growing Military Ties

    More details have emerged revealing just how extensive the joint China-Russia week long 'Vostok' war games will be, set to kick off Tuesday, which is to involve a combined total of 300,000 troops, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 aircraft, two Russian naval fleets and all airborne units, along with a contingent from China, a clear sign to the west of just how close military ties between the two nations have become.

    China is to deploy an unprecedented number of its People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops and equipment, which also constitutes the first time a country not from the former Soviet bloc has conducted joint games with Moscow and on Russian soil… China has sent about 3,200 PLA elite forces troops, along with 30 fix-wing aircraft and helicopters to deploy during the exercises. …

    300,000 troops and close to 40,000 vehicles will participate in Vostok, which is to coincide with talks between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in Vladivostok on Tuesday. …

    per FT:
    This is pretty huge. These major exercises are designed to simulate responses to aggression from external enemies. For decades, China has been considered one of those potential threats. Thus, to invite them to participate suggests that now they are seen as allies against other aggressors.”

    with NATO expanding up to Russia's Western border … one major element to the games sure to attract the attention of Washington military planners is the inclusion of simulated nuclear weapons attacks. …

    Meanwhile Russia's foreign ministry has sought to downplay the significance of the sheer volume of forces deployed for Vostok-2018 as well as Chinese cooperation. …

    Apart from China, a contingent of Mongolian troops will also be part of the games. …

    .....................

    Business Insider: The size isn't the only 'unprecedented' thing about it

    the size of the forces involved is not the only feature that has turned heads. Forces from China and Mongolia also plan to take part. Beijing has said it will send about 3,200 troops, 30 helicopters, and more than 900 other pieces of military hardware. …

    including China in the Vostok exercise hints at a significant geopolitical shift. … The two have said they are building a "strategic partnership" and expressed shared opposition to what they describe as a "unipolar" world dominated by the US.

    China's defense minister, Gen. Wei Fenghe, went to Moscow earlier this year on his first trip abroad, saying the visit was meant to "let the Americans know about the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia."
    "I am visiting Russia as a new defense minister of China to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation," Wei said.
    Last edited by AZJoe; 09-15-2018 at 06:13 AM.
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.

  4. #3
    Eric Margolis' Take:

    Good work Mr. President! You have now managed to lay the groundwork for a grand Chinese-Russian alliance. …
    This epic blunder comes at a time when the US appears to be getting ready for overt military action in Syria against Russian and Syrian forces … The excuse, as before, will be false-flag attacks with chlorine gas … fake attacks have already been filmed.

    Meanwhile, some 303,000 Russian, Chinese and Mongolian soldiers are engaged in massive maneuvers in eastern Siberia and naval exercises in the Sea of Japan and Sea of Okhotsk. …

    Most of the equipment deployed in Vostok-18 was state of the art. Russia’s and China’s infantry, artillery and armor appeared impressive and combat ready – or as we in the US Army used to say, ‘STRAC.’

    a possible warning to the United States not to invade North Korea, which is just to the south and abuts on both China and Russia. … a demonstration of the improved effectiveness of Russia and China’s military and as a warning …
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.

  5. #4
    Pre Game Ceremony Photos:















    Last edited by AZJoe; 09-15-2018 at 06:41 AM.
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.

  6. #5
    Video clips:











    Last edited by AZJoe; 09-15-2018 at 06:46 AM.
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.

  7. #6
    Russian aggressive actions trying to cause WWIII!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I find the whole thing suspicious, the only thing I am sure of is that the UK is lying to try to cause WWIII with Russia.
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 09-15-2018 at 01:13 PM.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

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  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Russian aggressive actions trying to cause WWIII!

  9. #8
    http://www.atimes.com/russia-should-...not-war-games/

    Russia should focus on economy, not war games

    Russia is currently staging a massive exercise to show off its military might. But perhaps its sense of insecurity and weakness is a key factor behind the move.

    On September 11, the country kicked off what it calls “the largest-ever [exercise] in the history of modern Russia.” According to its Defense Ministry, the Vostok-2018 maneuvers, which run until September 17, involve some 300,000 troops, 36,000 tanks and other vehicles, 1,000 aircraft and helicopters, and 80 ships and vessels.


    These war games are bigger than the Communist-ruled Soviet Union’s largest exercises, the Zapad-81 drills, in 1981, in which about 100,000 soldiers participated.

    “The main goal of these grand military drills, the most large-scale ones since 1981, is to check the operational readiness of the Russian armed forces,” Frants Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of Russia’s Federation Council, was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying.

    “Such a check-up will be quite handy in the context of a very difficult situation in the world,” he said, citing “the unprecedented pressure that the US is exerting on Russia” as the primary cause of that situation.

    More precisely, Klintsevich referred to Washington’s sanctions, which are crippling Russia’s economy, describing them as “some kind of a preventive strike on Russia, an attempt to hinder its inevitable rise [and] its transformation into a leading global power.”

    What the Russian senator didn’t mention is that the main reason behind the US-led sanctions against Moscow is the latter’s foreign adventures in recent years, including its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.

    What’s more, the Kremlin is unable to retaliate against such sanctions economically. That’s why it chooses to flex its military muscles instead.

    Commenting about “Russian war games” on Wednesday, the Chinese state-run Global Times said: “One of Russia’s traditions is showing its military muscle and scaring off Moscow’s potential intimidators, especially when Russia is relatively weak.”

    Such views expressed by a major Chinese newspaper are both surprising and telling. Russia’s giant neighbor sent 3,200 troops and 30 aircraft to the Vostok-2018, becoming the first Asian country outside the former Soviet Union to take part in a large Russian military exercise on Russian soil. Also, as rightly pointed out by Li Hui, China’s ambassador to Russia, “At present, China-Russia relations are at their best in history.”

    But there are some truths contained in the nationalistic and outspoken Global Times’ less than complimentary comments.

    Russia is relatively weak. Economically, it is just a middle power. Despite its vast size, relatively large population and rich natural resources, the largest country by area on earth is not among its top 10 biggest economies.

    At $1,527 billion (in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund), the economy of the country of 144 million people is roughly the same as that of South Korea, which is much smaller in terms of population and especially land area.

    Or, by another comparison, Russia’s GDP, as pointedly observed by some, is smaller than that of Texas ($1,696 billion) and California ($2,746 billion).

    Unlike advanced economies, Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on the extraction of raw materials. The country is also faced with an aging population and shrinking workforce, which led to a plan to raise the pension age, prompting unrest and protests in recent months.

    While it is an economic dwarf on the world stage, Russia is a major military power – mainly thanks to the weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union. Under President Vladimir Putin, it often displays its military might to hide its economic weakness or project itself as a leading global power.
    More at link.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

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    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Russian aggressive actions trying to cause WWIII!
    War games are not an attempt to start a war, if anything they are an attempt to dissuade the other side from starting one.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    If the UK weren't trying to start WWIII they might be able to.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    If the UK weren't trying to start WWIII they might be able to.
    You need to find a new meme. That one is so old.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

    "China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very, very large brain," - Donald Trump.

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    You need to find a new meme. That one is so old.
    Truth is stable.
    Lies change frequently.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  15. #13
    More Vids:











    Last edited by AZJoe; 09-16-2018 at 10:22 AM.
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Dr. Ron Paul. "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." - Sophie Magdalena Scholl
    "War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne "Freedom is the answer. ... Now, what's the question?" - Ernie Hancock.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    You need to find a new meme. That one is so old.
    Zippy does humor.



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