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THOUSANDS of Marines and sailors are taking part in the US Navy’s largest war games in 40 years as Washington “prepares” for a future world war amid rising tensions with Russia and China.

Fleets began the Large Scale Exercise on Tuesday and the drills across 17 time zones will continue until August 16.

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The war drills are designed to show the US' readiness for a potential global conflict

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The war drills are designed to show the US’ readiness for a potential global conflictCredit: Alamy

Forces will participate in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the exercises are designed to show the US’ “readiness” for a potential global conflict.

Marines’ ability to conduct operations in difficult environments will be tested during the drills, according to Military.com.

US 6th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Gene Black said: “LSE will test our commanders across the spectrum of naval warfare from the tactical to the strategic, integrating the Marine Corps to demonstrate the worldwide fleet’s ability to conduct coordinated operations from the open ocean to the littoral.”

But it remains unknown if China and Russia will “pay attention” to the wargames or if they will be interpreted as an act of aggression.

It’s thought that 36 ships and more than 50 virtual units will take part in the mission alongside military and civilians, according to the Defense Post.

The drill marks a return to similar Cold War exercises that were seen during the 1980s.

The war games come as threats posed by China and Russia do not seem to be disappearing.

RISING THREATS

American officials fear that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is “closer than we think”.

Taiwan — broke away from China in 1949 — but the Chinese ruling party regards the island as a “renegade state”  and has repeatedly vowed to take it back by force if necessary by 2050.

Washington has pursued a strategy of “strategic ambiguity” – where it has persuaded pro-separatist Taiwanese forces not to declare independence while deterring Beijing not to seize the island by force.

It’s thought that the formal declaration of independence would be the likely trigger for a potential conflict.

Beijing continues to stage war games off the coast of the island in what is widely seen as a dress rehearsal for an invasion.

Navy vessels have intensified drills in the Taiwan Strait and aircraft carriers regularly stalk US vessels in the South China Sea.

Military expert Du Wenlong said that US’ attempts to stall a potential military invasion would result in failure.

We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it.”

Vladimir Putin

Meanwhile, Russian leader Vladimir Putin continues to boast that his hypersonic missiles can deliver an “unpreventable strike” against Moscow’s enemies.

Putin’s warning came after Moscow claimed it had fired warning shots in the path of the British warship HMS Defender to chase it out of Crimea.

Speaking at a parade of warships in St Petersburg, he said: “The Russian navy today has everything it needs to guarantee the protection of our country and our national interests.

“We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it.”

Last week, Moscow warned of an “inadvertent conflict” if the US pushed ahead with the deployment of long-range hypersonic rockets in Europe.

A tweet from the Embassy’s official Twitter account read: We would like to remind @PentagonPressSec that the potential deployment of any [American flag] hypersonic [missile] in Europe would be extremely destabilizing.

‘CUTTING EDGE WEAPONRY’

“Their short flight time would leave [Russian flag] little to no decision time and raise the likelihood of inadvertent conflict.”

Washington warned it’s checking Russia’s “destabilizing activities” in the region as a British destroyer came under fire from jets.

Moscow continues to boast that it has the most modern and deadliest military in the world as tensions with NATO members continue to spiral.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said its state-of-the-art arsenal is now a far cry from the days when the Kremlin used to put “tin cans” on parade.

MiG-31 and Su-35 fighter jets were scrambled to “escort” three US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers after they were allegedly approaching Russian airspace over neutral waters.

Shoigu said Russia had the highest level of modernized weaponry in the world.

In May, Putin vowed to defend Russia against threats from the West during a celebration to mark the end of the Second World War.

In the huge parade, there were 12,018 troops and 191 pieces of military hardware, including intercontinental ballistic missile launchers.

Wartime T-34 tanks were on display and cutting-edge weaponry was paraded as Moscow symbolized its military might.

Troops ability to conduct operations in challenging environments will be put to the test

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Troops ability to conduct operations in challenging environments will be put to the testCredit: Alamy
Russia continues to showcase its military might as it develops stealth fighter jets such as the Sukhoi LTS Checkmate

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Russia continues to showcase its military might as it develops stealth fighter jets such as the Sukhoi LTS CheckmateCredit: Getty
The South China Sea is a potential flashpoint for a future conflict involving China and the US

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The South China Sea is a potential flashpoint for a future conflict involving China and the USCredit: Reuters
WW3 fears as China stages massive ‘Taiwan invasion’ drills and boasts it would defeat US and UK in any conflict
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