The results of snap combat readiness drills conducted last month have confirmed that training in the Russian military has improved, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
“The intensity and quality of the forces’ training have improved,” Putin said at a ceremony attended by senior commanders.
The country’s military budget stands at about 2.5 trillion rubles ($70 billion), making it the world’s third largest behind the US and China.
Last month, Putin ordered snap military drills in Russia’s Western and Central military districts, which border Ukraine. The exercises involved dozens of vessels from the Baltic and Northern Fleets and aircraft of the Russian Air Force.
Moscow said the drills had no relation to the political standoff between Russia and the West over Crimea, an autonomous Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority that joined Russia last week.
The Defense Ministry said earlier that snap checks are to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure constant combat readiness.
But Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko is confident that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have to use the Federation Council’s permission to send troops to Ukraine for protecting the civilian population.
“I am positive that will not be necessary. The Geneva meeting mapped out ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis (…) I hope that this permission (of the Federation Council to send troops to Ukraine) will not be used,” Matviyenko told a press conference in St. Petersburg on Friday.
The Ukrainian crisis should be resolved exclusively in the dialogue between the authorities and society and the search for compromises for the sake of peace and stability in the country, she stressed.
Matviyenko reminded (listeners) that the Federation Council gave the Russian president permission to send troops to Ukraine proceeding from the situation Ukraine found itself in at that moment, Interfax reports.
“The events were unpredictable and we believed it was possible to provide the president with every instrument he could use to avert a threat to the security of the civilian population,” Matviyenko said.
“Let me remind you that the Federation Council of Russia has granted the president the right to use the Armed Forces in Ukraine. I very much hope I will not have to use this right and we will manage to resolve all pressing, not to say, critical contemporary problems of Ukraine with political and diplomatic means,” Putin said in a Q&A session.
He thinks Russia should do its utmost to help people in eastern Ukraine stand up for their rights. “We must do everything to help these people defend their rights and make an independent decision about the future. This is what we will be struggling for,” the Russian president said.