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Large-scale military drills held across Russia

March 18, 2015, 12:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s Armed Forces are for the first time holding their Arctic exercises that kicked off on Monday and will last through March 21
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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS
© Vitaly Nevar/TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Military exercises and combat readiness checks are under way in many Russian regions.

Russia’s National Defense Control Center is exercising operational control of the strategic command and staff exercises jointly with its regional centers of all levels, the Defense Ministry’s press office said on Wednesday.

Russia’s Armed Forces are for the first time holding their Arctic exercises that kicked off on Monday and will last through March 21.

The exercises involve the Northern Fleet, units of the Western Military District and the Airborne Forces. A total of 38,000 personnel are taking part in the drills together with 3,360 pieces of military hardware, over 55 battle ships and submarines, 110 aircraft and helicopters.

The Northern Fleet’s combined attack force has held joint exercises with two search and strike ship groups in the Barents Sea.

Crews of Ilyushin Il-76 ("Candid") military transport planes have delivered the airborne unit stationed in Ivanovo outside Moscow to a military aerodrome in the polar region where servicemen will practise the accomplishment of various tasks.

Iskander ("SS-26 Stone") tactical missile systems will be deployed in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad Region as part of the military exercises while Tupolev Tu-22M3 ("Backfire") strategic missile carriers will be transferred to Crimea in a combat readiness snap check.

Russia’s Baltic Fleet, troops of the Southern Military District and airborne forces were also alerted as part of the military exercises.

A motor rifle unit on Sakhalin Island in the Eastern Military District was brought to the highest state of combat readiness as part of the military exercises with the involvement of over 3,000 personnel and 1,000 pieces of military hardware.

Marine infantry units stationed in the town of Temryuk in the southern Krasnodar Region were also brought to the highest state of their readiness.

Motor rifle formations of the Southern Military District in Chechnya and the Western Military District in the Leningrad and Pskov regions have also been involved in military maneuvers.

Russia’s combat readiness check is in no way related to the international situation and is constant practice, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had informed the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) member states about the military drills.

"The number of servicemen and military hardware involved in the exercises does not exceed the levels falling under the 2011 Vienna Document and requiring timely notification," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

Infographics Russia’s state defense order in 2015 Russia’s state defense order in 2015

The Russian Defense Ministry is set to continue the rearmament program in the armed forces this year. Infographics by TASS

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