VLADIMIR PUTIN treated China’s Xi Jinping to a pancake-making session yesterday ahead of Russia’s biggest military exercises since the Cold War.
The two leaders washed down the traditional caviar pancakes with vodka as they met at a summit in the eastern city of Vladivostok.
Around 3,200 Chinese troops are joining more than 300,000 of their Russian counterparts for the five-day Vostok-2018 war games, which officially start tomorrow.
Some 36,000 tanks, 1,000 planes and 80 ships will take part in drills across military ranges and the Sea of Japan, Bering Strait and Sea of Okhotsk.
Nato spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the manoeuvres demonstrated Russia’s ‘focus on exercising large-scale conflict’ but said ‘all nations have the right’ to drill their military. ‘It fits into a pattern we have seen: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,’ she added.
Tensions with the West remain high after the Salisbury novichok attack, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for Bashar Assad in Syria.