Putin ordered massive snap military maneuvers in southwestern Russia



The Defense Ministry says President Vladimir Putin has ordered a snap military exercise of 150,000 personnel and hundreds of aircraft and naval vessels to ensure "security in Russia's southwest".


The purpose of Friday's exercise is to test Russia's military readiness to ensure that there is a terrorist threat in Russia's southwest, as well as the Caucasus 2020 war game and preparations for defense. Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement.

"As per the decision of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, soldiers from the southern and western military districts are conducting snap exercises," he said.

About 150,000 personnel, including Air Force and Marine Corps personnel from the North and Pacific flats, were involved, the ministry said.

The exercise will involve more than 400 aircraft and 100 ships and will take place elsewhere in the Black and Caspian Seas.

Ukraine response
In response to the Russian exercise, neighboring Ukraine said it would also conduct military maneuvers on Friday, in which NATO allies are expected to participate in insurance on its eastern borders.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Andrei Taran told parliament that the exercises would include anti-aircraft fires and would take place in southern Ukraine in late September.

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv have been strained since 2014 when Russia withdrew Crimea from Ukraine and supported a separatist armed uprising in eastern Ukraine.

More than 13,000 people have been killed since 2014 in clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed forces, despite a ceasefire agreement in 2015.

"This unequal response shows the readiness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to revolt against any attempt by the Russian Federation to end any situation or to initiate large-scale hostilities," he said.

He said Kyiv would invite NATO countries to participate in the event.

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