Sergei Shoigu (left) and Vladimir Putin (center) during the drills in the Russian Far East in July© RIA Novosti. Aleksei Nikolskiy
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SOCHI, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin, supreme commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces, ordered on Monday a new series of snap checks of the military as well as civil services, including transportation, to begin the next day at 10 a.m.
“This time, alongside the Armed Forces’ preparation for the Zapad-2013 [West-2013] drills, comprehensive checks will also be conducted at the Interior Ministry’s internal troops, as well as in a number of civilian structures: the Transportation Ministry, the Energy Ministry and the Novgorod Region administration,” Putin said.
The Zapad-2013 two-stage strategic military drills, involving rapid-reaction units from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), will take place in Belarus and Russia between September 20 and 26.
Vyacheslav Usik, a spokesman for the Russian General Staff, said earlier that Belarus would send 10,400 servicemen to the drills, to also involve some 60 aircraft and helicopters and up to 250 combat vehicles. Moscow and Minsk held similar large-scale military exercises in September 2009.
July saw unprecedented drills in the Russian Far East testing the Far East and Central Military Districts’ combat readiness. The drills involved over 160,000 servicemen, 130 aircraft, 5,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 70 Pacific Fleet warships, five Russian armies, the Third Air Force, Air Defense Command and strategic aviation. The Defense Ministry has said such snap inspections will be conducted regularly.
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