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MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. The Kavkaz-2016 exercise in southern Russia was a scheduled event and it was not targeted against Ukraine, the chief of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, told the media on Wednesday.
"We have tasks of our own, and they have theirs. Neither side posed hindrances to the other. True, we do know that some mass media tried to link the plans and operations of our troops with allegedly existing plans for an invasion of Ukraine. This by no means agrees with the reality. The exercise was a routine event. We had declared them well in advance back last year," Gerasimov told a news briefing devoted to the preliminary results of the Kavkaz-2016 exercise.
In planning and holding the military exercise the Russian Defense Ministry took into account the activity of US and Georgian military, who conducted their own games alongside Kavkaz-2016.
"True, we took into account the US-Georgian exercise, bearing in mind that fifteen hundred troops were participating in them. We made allowances for their actions," Gerasimov said.
He told the media the Russian exercise drew considerable attention of other countries’ intelligence services, including those of NATO, but there had been no violations of the state border. Whenever foreign military aircraft approached the area of the exercise, Russian planes on duty were ordered into the air.
The Kavkaz-2016 exercise was held in southern Russia on September 5-10. More than 120,000 military personnel and civilians were involved, with no more than 12,500 taking part in the southern areas simultaneously at any one time. Various stages of the exercise were held at 14 proving grounds and also in the Black and Caspian seas. Naval practices and also drills at the Prudboi proving round in the Volgograd Region and at the Opuk proving ground in Crimea were the most significant ones.