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September 11, 2018
SERGEI CHIRIKOV/AFP/Getty Images

Russia is flexing its military muscles.

On Tuesday, Russia mobilized 300,000 troops in a military display, reports Reuters. The country also plans to include members of the Chinese army for joint drills.

The war games are the biggest since the Soviet Union fell in 1991, with the Russian defense minister saying they're unmatched since a 1981 exercise. The two nations are joining together near the Chinese border, with Moscow also "sending an unspoken reminder to Beijing" that it is able to defend its eastern region, Reuters notes. Armored military trucks, tanks, combat helicopters, aircraft, and warships took off toward the eastern border in the first stage of the week-long exercise, Russia's Ministry of Defense said.

Moscow wants to test its ability to deploy eastward into the less-populated areas of Russia, rehearsing various scenarios and ensuring troop coordination. China will join the exercise later this week, reports Reuters. The Kremlin likely invited China and Mongolia so that the two neighbors wouldn't see the games as a threat, experts say. Other analysts say the exercises, which are taking place during a meeting between the two nations' leaders, could be seen as a message to the U.S. that Moscow sees Beijing, not Washington, as an ally.

The exercises will likely be closely watched by Japan, North Korea, and South Korea. North Korea held its own military parade over the weekend, displaying its might but opting not to brandish ballistic missiles. President Trump wanted to hold a similar parade this fall, but canceled the plans last month. Read more at Reuters. Summer Meza