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Putin to evaluate results of unscheduled Black Sea exercises

May 13, 2013, 2:56 UTC+3

The main purpose of the exercises was to check the operational readiness and concertedness of troops

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MOSCOW, May 13 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin is confer with security officials on Monday to sum up the results of and evaluate the unscheduled military exercises which he ordered at the end of March.

A presidential press service official told Itar-Tass that Putin is to hear reports by top officials from the Defense Ministry and the staff of the national Security Council on the results of the unscheduled exercises held in Krasnodar Territory from March 28 to 29.

On March 28, when returning home from South Africa aboard the presidential jet, Putin ordered the start of large-scale military exercises in the Black Sea area. The envelope containing the order was delivered to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at four a.m.

On the next day, the President arrived in Krasnodar Territory and inspected in person how the exercises were proceeding. At Anapa airport, the Head of State transferred to a helicopter aboard which he together with the Defense Minister flew over the erea of the exercises. He visited the Rayevsky firing range where troops were drilling the actions of ground forces. Over there, Putin watched a parachute landing of units of Airborne Forces (ABF), the actions of artillery men, armor units and aviation. Ships demontrated maneuvers and the landing of an amphibious party onto the shore for the Sureme Commander-in-Chief to see.

The main purpose of the exercises was to check the operational readiness and concertedness of troops.

Forces and units of the Southern Military Distric were roused. The exercises involved paratroopers, reconnaissance personnel, aviation, Marines, ships of the Black Sea Fleet (BSF)and those of the Baltic Fleet based in Novorossiisk. ABF units were urgently airlifted to the area of the exercises from Moscow, Ryazan, and Tula. About 7,000 servicemen took part in the exercises all in all, along with about 250 armoured vehicles, up to 50 artillery mounts of various purpose, up to 20 combat aircraft and helicopters, several tens of combatant ships and support craft from Sevastopol and Novorossiisk.

During the exercises, troops practiced combat missions on land and at sea. Squadrons of large amphibious ships of the BSF (the "Azov", "Saratov", "Nikolai Filchenkov", and "Novocherkassk") and of the Baltic Fleet (the "Kaliningrad" and "Alexander Shabalin") practiced missions in the Black Sea near the Caucasian coast of Russia.

BSF ships successfully landed an amphibious force in an over-the-beach operation in the area of Opuk firing range near Feodosia. On the whole, over the four days, from March 28 to 31, the BSF squadron logged 400 miles. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov emphasized that the unscheduled exercises were aimed primarily at checking the operational readiness of the BSF.

On March 30, troops and forces involved in the check-up began to curtail their operations at sea and on land and march to their permanent stations.

NATO regarded Russia's unscheduled exercises in the Black Sea in a calm manner. However, the Alliance could have been notified about such exercises, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow stated.

Georgia's Foreign Minidtry, on the contrary, expressed "concern over the unscheduled launch of large-scale exercises by Russia" in the Black Sea area. The Georgian Ministry pointed out that the exercises "are being held near the sea and land borders of Georgia while representatives of Russia's authorities did not circulate information on the duration and exact location of military units" involved in the exercises.

However, as RF presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said ealier, "according to international practice, participation of up to 7,000 servicemen in the exercises is not subject to a prior notification of partners, including those from NATO".

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