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Russian troops conduct some 2,000 tactical drills in 2015 — defense minister

The combat training intensity of the Russian armed forces has considerably increased this year

MOSCOW, September 29. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday a 15% intensification of training activity in the country’s armed forces. As of today, the troops have held about 2,000 exercises over the first nine months of the year. The total number of exercises for the year should be 4,000 against 3,500 exercises in 2014. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the troops had drilled mostly in unknown terrain, including during the night.

"The combat training intensity has considerably increased this year. A total of about 2,000 tactical exercises, five surprise combat readiness inspections and one strategic command post exercise have been held," the minister said. According to him, the largest manoeuvres were conducted in the Central Military District in the period from August 18 to September 20: "They included special drills in different kinds of support, a snap combat readiness check and the Centre-2015 command post exercise conducted at an area exceeding 12 million square kilometers."

Over the past two years the Russian army has been engaged in active combat training. The maneuvers have been organized across the country - from Kaliningrad in the country’s west to the Kuril Islands in the east and from the Arctic to Russia’s southern borders. The maneuvers involve all service branches of all military districts. A number of exercises were international - the troops drilled interaction with the military from China, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Mongolia, Egypt, Azerbaijan and India. Maneuvers have also been held within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The manoeuvres were conducted at seven ranges located in the Volgograd region, in the Stavropol and Krasnodar territories, in Crimea, North Ossetia and Armenia. They involved specialists of combined-arms armies, fleets and the Caspian Flotilla, the Air Force and air defense troops. The largest drills were the strategic command post exercise Vostok held in 2014 and 2015, involving more than 155,000 Russian troops, the Center maneuvers with 95,000 troops, as well as maneuvers of 100,000-strong mixed armed formations of the Air Force and air defense units, the Pacific Fleet, the Long-Range and Military-Transport Aviation.

The Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) conducted drills in an area from the Tver to Irkutsk regions; launches of the Iskander-M tactical missiles were conducted in the Astrakhan region, exercises in the aftermath of the use of weapons of mass destruction were held in the Pskov region; mountain troops had drills at a military base in Armenia, the command post exercises of anti-aircraft missile troops were held in the Far East. The Northern, Black Sea and Pacific Fleets conducted manoeuvres with gun practice, landing operations in adverse weather conditions. The strategic aviation drills involved hundreds of long-range bombers, attack aircraft and fighter-interceptors.

The general inspection of combat readiness of the country’s Armed Forces embraced the Western, Central and Eastern Military Districts.