Russia: Biggest war games since collapse of Soviet Union
Russian President Vladimir Putin was on Sakhalin where he observed a part of the large-scale military exercise staged by the Russian military.Source: Tanjug
It involves 160,000 troops and 5,000 tanks, and represents the largest military maneuvers in Russia since the era of the Soviet Union.
Sakhalin is an island in the Pacific Ocean in the Russian Far East, north of Japan. Covering 76,400 square kilometers, it is Russia's largest island.
The maneuvers are part of Russia's recent efforts to improve the mobility and combat readiness of the Russian armed forces.
The drills began on Friday and continued over the weekend, and also include several ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet, along with 130 combat aircraft.
The maneuvers are taking place across the country, through several time zones, and some units are deployed in areas thousands of kilometers from their bases.
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told foreign military attaches that the exercise was part of regular combat training and was not directly aimed against any one country.
This is the fourth military drill called suddenly since the start of the year.
The previous included military exercises in the Black Sea and in the north of the country, and each saw participation of an increasing number of troops and equipment.
At the same time the modernization of the Russian army is continuing - an equivalent of USD 640 billion has been set aside for this purpose through 2020.
For the current exercise, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, on the orders of the Russian president and commander-in-chief, Vladimir Putin, raised the combat readiness of 160,000 officers and soldiers, 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 military aircraft, including fighter and bomber aircraft, and 70 warships.