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Russian planes patrol airspace over Seas of Okhotsk and Japan

July 15, 2013, 23:50 UTC+3

Dylevsky said the number of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles participating in the manoeuvres has been quintupled

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MOSCOW, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Tu-95MS strategic aircraft have started patrolling airspace as part of the large-scale military exercises now underway in the Far East, Major-General Igor Dylevsky of the General Staff told foreign military attaches on Monday, July 15.

The strategic missile carriers are operating from the base near Belogorsk, Amur Region, in order to “ensure strategic deterrence over the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk,” he said.

Dylevsky said the number of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles participating in the manoeuvres has been quintupled.

“The overall number of troops involved in the combat readiness drill is about 160,000, as well as more than 5,000 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, 130 long-range and transport planes, jet fighters, bombers and army aircraft, up to 70 Navy ships and vessels,” the general said.

Also additional 25 radar stations have been set up to provide anti-aircraft protection for the troops.

One of the special features of the current exercises is that units are travelling long distances of up to 1,000 kilometers under their own power. “This is never been done since Soviet times,” Dylevsky said.

He said 16 military trains of 590 carriages are used to transport 682 pieces of hardware and 480 tonnes of materiel. Military transport planes have made 21 flights over the past 24 hours, redeployed 212 troops, 17 pieces of hardware and 410 tonnes of materiel.

“All redeployment operations will be completed by the end of the day,” the general said.

“Most of the training tasks are being solved at the ranges unfamiliar to the participating troops -- Tsugol in Trans-Baikal Territory and Uspenovsky -- in Sakhalin in conditions as close to real combat as possible. This is also one of the key elements of the manoeuvres,” Dylevsky said.

The ongoing military manoeuvres in the Russian Far East are not muscle flexing but a step towards better combat readiness, Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told the foreign military attaches.

“Everything we do in the Russian Armed Forces, including combat readiness checks, is not an attempt to show our muscles. These are elements of daily, meticulous and well calculated work to improve the combat readiness of our Armed Forces,” Antonov said.

Antonov stressed that the manouevres are “taking place in strict compliance with the obligations assumed by Russia earlier with regard to other states and are not aimed against them.”

Explaining the need for the large-scale exercises in the Far East, Antonov said: “The Russian army must be able to act and be ready to respond to any threat from terrorist groups to attempts to violate Russia’s sovereignty.”

The meeting was attended by about 50 foreign military attaches accredited in Moscow or their representatives from key NATO, OSCE and CSTO countries as well as neighbouring or adjacent countries in the Far East.

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