The exercise, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), will take place in central and eastern Russian military districts and involve almost 300,000 troops, over 1,000 military aircraft, two of Russia’s naval fleets, and all its airborne units, Shoigu said in a statement, Reuters reported.
The maneuvers will take place at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russia, which is concerned about an unjustified build-up of the NATO military alliance on its western flank.
NATO claims it has beefed up its forces in Eastern Europe to deter potential Russian military action.
The war games, which will take place from Sept. 11-15, are likely to displease Japan which has already complained about what it says is a Russian military build-up in the Far East.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to attend a forum in Vladivostok over the same period, and a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday that Tokyo always paid attention to shifts in Russian-Chinese military cooperation.
Shoigu said the war games would be the biggest since a Soviet military exercise, Zapad-81 (West-81) in 1981.
“In some ways they will repeat aspects of Zapad-81, but in other ways the scale will be bigger,” Shoigu told reporters, while visiting the Russian region of Khakassia.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has said that Chinese and Mongolian military units will also take part in the exercise.
When asked if China’s involvement meant Moscow and Beijing were moving towards an alliance, Peskov said it showed that the two allies were cooperating in all areas.
China and Russia have taken part in joint military drills before but not on such a large scale.