Putin orders snap military exercise in central Russia

President Vladimir PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered snap checks on troop combat readiness in Russia’s central military district, the defence ministry said.

“According to the order, troops in the central district… are being brought into full combat readiness from 09:30 Moscow time (0630 GMT),” defence minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Russia has recently intensified snap checks of its military might, testing its capabilities from the Arctic to the Far East as relations with the West have plunged to a post-Cold War low over the Ukraine crisis.

The defence minister said the military exercises, which run to September 12, also involved paratroopers and military transport aviation as well as some aircraft from other military districts.

Russia’s central military district ranges from the regions around the Volga River to the Ural mountains and Siberia, while also including far northern Russia.

“We have to check the capabilities of paratroopers when they are deployed over large distances and their readiness to make landings on unknown aerodromes,” Shoigu said.

Shoigu said the latest wargames also involve civilians, including from the health and agriculture ministries, and are designed to test “their readiness to carry out their tasks in wartime conditions.”

Russia is gearing up for its largest war games of the year, Centre-2015, involving tens of thousands of troops, set for this autumn.

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