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MOSCOW, September 12. /ITAR-TASS/. An ad hoc inspection of combat readiness of troops and forces in the Far East of Russia that began Thursday is far from the first event of the kind this year and experts explain it by the tasks the Russian Armed Forces face and by some specific problems of the Far East, which Moscow finds troublesome.
President Vladimir Putin has issued an instruction to hold an ad hoc inspection of combat readiness of troops in the Eastern Military District from September 11 through September 18. The war games will involve up to 100,000 servicemen on a vast space from the trans-Baikal territory to the Pacific Ocean.
In line with the program of the exercise, the Pacific Fleet will simulate the submerged defense of Russia’s maritime borders and the destruction of ships of the potential enemy.
In spite of the scale and span of the exercise, the Defense Ministry officials have given the assurances that it is a routine event. They said seven ad hoc inspections of combat readiness were held in 2013/14.
Russian expert are trying to figure out the degree to which the inspection is linked to the general political situation and whether or not it reflects Moscow’s concerns over the instability in the region.
Ruslan Pukhov, the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, singles out three factors standing behind the inspection.
“In the first place, attention of the majority of observers is drawn to the Western Military District and that’s why it makes sense to alert some other district, not the Western one,” Pukhov told Kommersant FM radio. “Number two, we have fair dialogue with China and our trade turnover is growing but relations with it are fraught with a huge number of presumable problems. We do remember what these problems looked like in not so distant past.”
Factor number three is Japan’s claims for a number of islands of the Southern Kurile chain. “That’s why we must be ready to defend the Russian territory against the Japanese in case of complications, since Japan is an ally of the US in the Far East,” Pukhov said.
“Russia’s main strategic concern now is a potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula and that’s why the modeling of various local scenarios is underway,” military analyst Alexander Golts said.
Igor Korotchenko, director of the Center of Analysis of World Trade in Arms, told Gazeta.ru news portal the war games in the Far East could not be regarded as a signal to China as Moscow was not listing Beijing among its enemies.
The possibility of a crisis in the region is linked to Japan’s possible actions around the litigious Southern Kurile islands, Korotchenko said. He turned down the speculation about the possibility of a crisis in Korea, adding, “Nothing happened there over the past thirty years in spite of all the speculations.”
Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenals of the Fatherland magazine said he did not see any political underpinning in these inspections.
“Russian government didn’t do practically any inspections of the Armed Forces combat readiness from 1991 through 2012,” he told Vechernyaya Moskva tabloid.
“However, inspections became a regular feature after Sergey Shoigu had been appointed as Defense Minister,” he said. “They’re now checking the results of their activity since the beginning of the year so as to see the real operational readiness of the troops and to adjust the plans of combat training.”
He also mentioned the reaction of regional counties to the event and called for “giving no special attention to it”.
“If someone feels like saying something about it, he’ll certainly do it and Japan’s is mostly likely to speak up but all of these things don’t have any impact on the Russian military activity,” Murakhovsky said.
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