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Arctic snap check involves 80,000 servicemen — Russia's General Staff

March 19, 2015, 12:17 UTC+3

According to the official, 220 aircraft are taking part in the drills

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. The number of Russian servicemen taking part in the snap checks of the combat readiness in the Arctic has reached 80,000, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Thursday.

Valery Gerasimov also said 220 aircraft are taking part in the drills.

"Additional air forces have been involved in the maneuvers," he said adding that military units involved in the drills had started fulfilling their tasks at sea and at the training grounds.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Wednesday said Russia’s sudden military inspection of the Northern Fleet’s combat readiness, which started on March 16, enables the newly established Arctic unified strategic command to practise control of forces for the first time.

According to Shoigu, the sudden combat readiness inspection "is of particular significance since it enables the new unified strategic command to practise coordinated control over all forces for the first time."

The Unified Strategic Command ‘Sever’ (North) was formed with the aim of protecting the country’s interests in the Arctic and started to operate in late 2014.

"Moreover, armaments and military hardware the Northern Fleet has recently received will undergo testing," Shoigu said.

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