MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin praised on Monday the results of the recent surprise military drills as a good way to keep the armed forces in good shape and vowed to continue similar practices in the future, the Kremlin’s spokesman said.
Putin unexpectedly ordered a snap large-scale military exercise in the southern Black Sea region in March as concerns persist over armed forces combat readiness. The drills involved up to 7,000 servicemen, 30 warships and hundreds of pieces of military hardware.
“The president gave a positive assessment of these snap drills, and the practice of surprise inspections will be continued in the future,” Dmitry Peskov said.
According to Putin, surprise inspections would help making the necessary adjustments to the military training process as the drills had exposed several shortcomings in preparedness among the armed forces.
The Russian president started on Monday a series of daily meetings with Russian high-ranking military commanders dedicated to the country’s defense capability.
"We're improving and upgrading the defense capability of our Armed Forces," Peskov said. "It’s a routine work but it naturally demands close attention on the part of the Supreme Commander."
The unscheduled exercise in March was the second in the space of two months following a major shake-up at the top of a military establishment tarnished by persistent evidence of rampant corruption.
Sergei Shoigu, a widely respected Putin ally previously in charge of the Emergency Situations Ministry, was appointed defense minister in November last year amid hopes he would implement much-needed military reforms.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.