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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Militaries Rehearsing Before Exercise

ReutersChinese and Russian servicemen taking part in an arm wrestling competition ahead of Friday's joint exercise.
Russian and Chinese military transport planes dropped more than 200 paratroopers and heavy weapons during a dress rehearsal Monday for a massive joint military exercise by the two former Cold War rivals, the first on Russia's territory.

A 1,600-member Chinese military contingent backed by aircraft, tanks and other heavy weapons has traveled to the Ural Mountains region of Chelyabinsk for the war games, to be held Friday and watched by the leaders of Russia, China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The SCO, which also includes four ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia, was created by Moscow and Beijing to address regional security threats, foster economic integration and counter U.S. influence in the strategically placed, energy-rich Central Asia. The maneuvers will follow an SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday.

China hosted the organization's first joint maneuvers in August 2005, which included a mock assault on the beaches of northern China and featured Russian long-range bombers. The drills sent chills across the region.

Russian military officials said the war games this week will involve about 6,000 troops and promised that such joint maneuvers will grow in scale in the future.

Russian television showed Russian and Chinese troops practicing Monday as part of preparations for the final stage of the exercise on Friday.