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Russia’s strategic command and staff drills gain momentum

March 19, 2015, 17:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Northern and the Black Sea Fleets are taking part in the drills to check the system of alerting and controlling troops and bring military units to the state of their highest combat readiness
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Tu-95 strategic bombers

Tu-95 strategic bombers

© ITAR-TASS/Marina Lystseva

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Russia’s command and staff exercises are gaining momentum along with a snap check of troops’ combat readiness that kicked off on March 16 and will end on March 21.

The strategic command and staff exercises are a planned event aimed at checking the system of alerting and controlling troops and bringing military units to the state of their highest combat readiness.

The surprise check of Russia’s Northern Fleet, units and formations of its Western Military District and the Airborne Force now involves 76,000 troops, almost 100 combat ships, vessels and submarines and over 200 aircraft and helicopters.

Tupolev Tu-95MS ("Bear") strategic bombers are taking part in the military exercises in the polar region to check the country’s air defense systems.

The drills to search for imaginary enemy submarines whose activity was simulated by Northern Fleet submarine crews were practiced jointly with Tu-142 ("Bear F/J") and Ilyushin Il-38 ("May") anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the fleet’s naval aviation, the Defense Ministry’s press office said on Thursday.

Russian naval ships will soon be regrouped in the Barents Sea "to hold tactical exercises for protecting Russia’s Arctic borders from seaborne threats," the press office said.

Meanwhile, the Northern Fleet’s coastal troops have started to practice the tasks of destroying imaginary gunmen. The troops' missions are complicated by weather conditions, with the snow cover exceeding 3 meters in some places, the Defense Ministry said.

A grouping of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet comprising over 10 warships, 10 aircraft and helicopters of the fleet’s naval aviation have accomplished the task of searching for imaginary enemy submarines in the Black Sea.

Currently, six NATO ships, including the US guided missile cruiser Vicksburg, are staying in the Black Sea. It was reported in early March that they would hold military exercises with the navies of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Russia is building up its grouping of forces on the Pacific Island of Sakhalin as part of the country’s large-scale military exercises. The maneuvers involve over 3,000 troops and about 1,000 pieces of armaments, military hardware and special equipment of the air defense troops.

"Osa short-range surface-to air missile systems are providing air defense for the grouping," the Defense Ministry said.

Some troops will be relocated with their combat hardware aboard military aircraft from the Khabarovsk Territory to the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk aerodrome, after which servicemen will make marches to the designated area.

Over 700 paratroopers of the Pskov airborne division have landed together with 10 combat vehicles on the Strugi Krasniye shooting range in the Pskov Region in northwest Russia, the Defense Ministry said.

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