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Large-scale drills of Airborne, Aerospace Forces and Black Sea Fleet begin in Crimea

The exercises are held in the new format in Crimea due to the "increased terrorist threat"

OPUK RANGE/Crimea/, March 20. /TASS/. Drills involving three large units of Russia’s Airborne Forces, Aerospace Forces and the Black Sea Fleet began in Crimea’s Opuk firing range on Monday, Airborne Force Commander Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov said.

"For the first time in the Russian army’s history the Airborne Forces’ three large units were simultaneously alerted as part of the drills and partly redeployed to Crimea with weapons and equipment," said Serdyukov, who is in charge of the manoeuvres.

More than 2,500 paratroopers and some 600 pieces of equipment are involved in the drills.

Servicemen from Novorossiysk, Kamyshinsk and Ulan Ude units, as well as the fourth army of the Aerospace Forces and Air Defense Forces of the Southern military district take part in the exercises.

During the drills, the troops will train to conduct operations "as part of a group of rapid reaction forces" against terrorists and regular forces of a simulated enemy, Serdyukov said.

The exercises are held in the new format in Crimea due to the "increased terrorist threat and also a broad range of use of the Airborne Forces as rapid reaction forces to solve crises in various regions of the world," he said.

The servicemen will be tasked to take under control crucial facilities, practice amphibious landing and airdrops, and also firing during the offensive and defensive operations.