VLADIMIR PUTIN insisted Russia is a ‘peaceful nation’ as he inspected some of the 300,000 troops taking part in the country’s biggest-ever military exercises.
It claims 36,000 tanks, 1,000 planes and 80 ships are involved in the drills across military ranges and the Sea of Japan, Bering Strait and Sea of Okhotsk.
The Russian president made the comment as the war games got under way yesterday in Siberia and the far east of the country.
More than 3,200 Chinese soldiers are also taking part in Vostok-2018.
Speaking at the Tsugol firing range, about 80 miles north of the border with China, Mr Putin praised those involved in the drills for their skills, saying they ‘demonstrated their capability to deflect potential military threats’.
He said ‘Russia is a peaceful nation’, but has to ‘be ready to protect its sovereignty, security and national interests, and, if necessary, support our allies’.