MOSCOW (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin has ordered snap military drills involving 150,000 personnel and hundreds of aircraft and naval vessels to ensure “security in Russia’s south-west”, the defence ministry said on Friday (July 17).
“In accordance with the decision of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, snap exercises are being conducted by troops of the Southern and Western military districts,” Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying in a statement.
The drills involve nearly 150,000 personnel including airborne troops and marine infantry of the Northern and Pacific Fleets, the defence ministry said.
The exercises also involve more than 400 aircraft and over 100 vessels and will be conducted in the Black and Caspian Seas, among other places.
The drills aim to test the Russian army’s readiness to ensure “security in Russia’s south-west where a serious threat of terrorism remains” as well as prepare for the Caucasus-2020 war games, the defence ministry said.
Russia has accused the US and its Nato allies of encroaching upon its territory at a higher frequency in recent years.
In June, Russia scrambled fighter jets to intercept two American B-52 bombers flying over the Sea of Okhotsk, off Russia’s far eastern coast, the Interfax news agency cited the Defence Ministry in Moscow as saying.