"We give the main outline of what we are going to hold next year, the only thing that does not fall into this plan are surprise inspections. Naturally, we planned these exercises, and we plan to hold them every five years," Shoigu told the Rossiya 1 broadcaster.
He noted that the Vostok-2018 drills had been planned in 2017 when the schedule of major events for 2018 was approved by the supreme commander-in-chief, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We need some intermediate points of reference. By saying we, I mean the supreme commander-in-chief, because investing such funds in the rearmament of the army and the fleet, we must understand and see where we are going and whether everything is all right here," the minister said.
The Vostok-2018 drills are the largest exercise held in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The exercises involve nearly 300,000 servicemen, 36,000 vehicles, up to 80 ships and support vessels, and over a thousand aircraft. The drills began on September 11 and will last until Monday.