Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent military drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia. The drill included troops dealing with mock security and terrorist threats.
As part of the test, several drills will be held on Russian borders with other countries, including with Ukraine. The main purpose of these drills is to check the combat readiness of the Russian armed forces, Shoigu said.
The surprise drill tested ground troops, Air Force, airborne troops and aerospace defense, according to Shoigu.
Putin ordered to “test combat readiness of troops in dealing with crisis situations that threaten the military security of the country, as well as with antiterrorist, sanitary and epidemiological, or technogenic situations,” Shoigu said.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said the exercises would be held in two stages – from February 27-28 and February 28 – March 3. More than 150,000 servicemen from various troop units will take part.
Russia informed NATO of the military exercise thus fulfilling its obligations in the field of military transparency, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told journalists before a scheduled meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers.
“Yes, Russia has informed us about their military exercises,” Itar-tass reports, as Rasmussen stressed that Russia “lived up to all their obligations as regards transparency.”
While Western media was quick to connect the drill to the situation in Ukraine, such exercises were proposed by Putin as early as last September and followed massive 2013 drills.
In February, the Russian Army staged a surprise ‘combat readiness’ drill in central Russia for the first time in 20 years, which was followed by a Black Sea drill in March.
In July, a massive military drill took place in the Eastern Command. Up to 160,000 troops, 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 vessels took part in the drill.
Following the 2013 exercises, President Putin, in his capacity as Russia’s Supreme Commander-in-Chief, announced that the practice of surprise drills will continue. A comprehensive inspection of Interior Ministry troops was also ordered.