The start of Vostok-2018 coincided with a meeting between Russia's President Vladimir Putin who met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
Putin said Moscow has a "trusting relationship" with Beijing "in politics, security and defence", while Xi said both countries would continue to "make joint efforts to … push the China-Russia relationship up to a new height".
According to a news report in al jazeera, The three-day meeting in Vladivostok brings together the leaders of Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, as well 5,000 delegates from 60 countries.
It is the two leaders' third meeting and comes amid an escalating US-China trade war and US-led sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, said the coming together of Moscow and Beijing was a direct response to moves by the United States.
"Clearly we can see a growing rapprochement between Russia and China because of the very assertive line against both countries by the United States. And in this regard we can say that Donald Trump is the major patron of the Russian-Chinese closer relationship," said Lukyanov.
Dmitri Trenin, a former Russian army colonel and director of the Carnegie Moscow Center think-tank, agreed.
"With its Vostok 2018 exercise Russia sends a message that it regards the US as a potential enemy and China as a potential ally," wrote Trenin.
Wednesday will see war games featuring anti-aircraft technology, while the main event will be on Thursday.
The Russian army compared the show of force to the USSR's 1981 war games that saw between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers take part in Zapad-81 - the largest military exercises of the Soviet era.
But Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu noted these exercises were far larger. "Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible," Shoigu said.