Thousands of Russian and Chinese soldiers began massing Monday for joint military exercises in Russia's Chelyabinsk region.
At least 500 combat vehicles and aircraft were scheduled to begin the operation on Tuesday as part of an unprecedented move by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Times of London correspondent reported from Moscow.
On Thursday, forces from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will join "Peace Mission 2007", described by officials as an anti-terror exercise, the report said.
The SCO was originally launched as a non-military alliance in 2001 to combat drugs and weapons smuggling, but the military exercise is viewed by some strategists as being a way to show defiance against NATO, the Times said.
By the end of the week, about 6,500 troops will be involved in the exercise, military officials said.
Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2007, 01:04