Vostok 2018 (Russian: Восток 2018, lit. 'East 2018'[note 1][1]) was a large-scale Russian military exercise, held from 11 to 17 September 2018, throughout Siberia and the country's Far East.[2][3][4] The exercise involved units from the Army, Air Force and Navy.[5] China, Mongolia, as well as NATO member Turkey, were invited to the exercise.[6][7]


In late August 2018, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said the exercise will be the largest to be held in Russia since "Zapad-81" held by the Soviet Union in 1981.[5][8][9] The Zapad exercises in 1981 involved about 100,000 to 150,000 troops and were the largest Soviet military exercises ever held.[8] Shoygu later reported that nearly 300,000 troops would be taking part in the drills along with 36,000 vehicles and 1000 aircraft.[2][10] 80 warships are also involved in the exercise.[3] Vostok 2018 was double the size of the previous exercise in the region, Vostok 2014.[3]

Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin reported that 91 foreign observers from 57 countries would be attending the exercise.[11] Vostok 2018 took place during a time of deteriorating relations between Russia and the West. [12] China and Mongolia plan to participate in Vostok 2018, with the People's Liberation Army sending 3200 troops, more than 900 pieces of land equipment and 30 aircraft.[8][13] Beijing reported that its troops would be participating at the Tsugol training range in the Trans-Baikal region.[1][13] The Chinese involvement is to improve Chinese-Russian military relations, as well as to prevent Chinese concern about military exercises near their border.[1] The joint exercise will also allow Russia to demonstrate it is not militarily isolated.[14] There are reports that there will be sharing of information between the Russian Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army on combat lessons from the Syrian Civil War.[15]

The Military Band of the Eastern Military District during the opening parade of Vostok 2018.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin visited the drills after attending the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.[16]


  1. ^ Russian exercises have often been named according to their location in the country, for example "Vostok", literally "East", or "Zapad", literally "West"

See also


  1. ^ a b c Majumdar, Dave (23 August 2018). "Vostok-2018: Russia (with China Making a Guest Appearance) Set for Largest Wargames in over Three Decades". The National Interest. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Russia war games: Biggest since Cold War 'justified'". BBC News. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Hecimovic, Arnel (13 September 2018). "Vostok-2018: Russia launches biggest post-Soviet war games – in pictures". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ "« Vostok 2018 », l'entraînement militaire géant de la Russie". Le Monde (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Russian military on alert for massive war games said to be the largest since Soviet games in the '80s". Military Times. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Turkey considering Russian invitation for Vostok 2018 military exercise - Turkish Minute". Turkish Minute. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Turkey mulling Russian invite to join Vostok 2018 military exercises -Turkish DM".
  8. ^ a b c Brown, Daniel (20 August 2018). "Russia just put its military on high alert ahead of massive war games that'll be 'unprecedented in scale'". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Шойгу: в сентябре в РФ пройдут самые масштабные маневры с 1981 года Подробнее на ТАСС". TASS. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. ^ Fiorenza, Nicholas (29 August 2018). "Russia outlines massive 'Vostok 2018' exercise". Janes. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  11. ^ Ali, Mohammad. "Russias Vostok-2018 Military Drills Not Anti-NATO - Deputy Defense Minister - UrduPoint". UrduPoint. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  12. ^ https://thediplomat.com/2018/09/vostok-2018-russia-and-chinas-diverging-common-interests/
  13. ^ a b Yuandan, Guo; Xuanzun, Liu (21 August 2018). "PLA to participate in Vostok 2018 drills". Global Times. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  14. ^ Chhor, Khatya (30 August 2018). "Sensing threats from the West, Russia prepares to flex its military muscle". France 24. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  15. ^ Chan, Minnie (29 August 2018). "Vostok 2018 war games: China's chance to learn Russia's military lessons from Syria". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Putin to visit Vostok-2018 military drills after economic forum in Vladivostok". TASS (in Russian). Retrieved 6 September 2018.