Massive Snap Military Drills Begin in Eastern Russia

MOSCOW, July 13 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian military began early on
Saturday large-scale exercises in the Eastern Military District aimed at
improving combat readiness of the Russian armed forces, the Defense
Ministry said.
The exercise, which involves over 80,000 servicemen, some 1,000
armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the Pacific Fleet,
will continue until July 20. It is the largest surprise check of combat
readiness of the Russian military in the post-Soviet period.
“The main goal of the drills is to check the readiness of units to
carry out their missions, and to assess the quality of their training
and technical preparedness,” the ministry said in a statement.
The snap drills were ordered by President Vladimir Putin on Friday
when he told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to inform foreign countries
about the upcoming exercises, taking into account their scale and common
international practice.
It is the third surprise check of combat readiness since the
beginning of the year and follows a major shake-up at the top of a
military establishment tarnished by persistent evidence of rampant
corruption.
Putin said in May that surprise military drills is a perfect way to
keep the armed forces in good shape and vowed to continue similar
practices in the future.
The Eastern Military District is one of the four operational
strategic commands of the Russian Armed Forces. The district was formed
in 2010. It absorbed the territories of the former Far East Military
District and part of the former Siberian Military District with
headquarters at Khabarovsk.