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Russia's military drills not connected to NATO's increased activity — Putin's spokesman

March 24, 2015, 21:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Ukrainian conflict was not discussed at Putin’s meeting on Russian army drills
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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. The issue of the Ukrainian conflict was not discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Asked whether the officials touched upon Ukraine, Peskov said: "No." He said the meeting focused on discussing the results of a recent surprise inspection of Russia’s armed forces.

Putin’s spokesman rejected the assumption that the military exercises were held due to NATO’s increased activity. "There’s no such connection," he said.

"It is connected with routine development of military capability, maintenance of constant combat readiness and armed forces training," Peskov stressed.

"Such practice has proven its efficiency," he said.

Asked whether the issue of training peacekeeping units was discussed, Peskov said it is one of the permanent functions of the armed forces.

The spot check started on March 16. The primary goal of the maneuvers was to assess capabilities of the Northern Fleet to ensure the country’s military security in the Arctic region. More than 80,000 personnel and some 12,000 units of various equipment, including 65 combat vessels and 15 submarines, over 220 aircraft and helicopters were employed in the drills.

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