February 26, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent military drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia. The drill included troops dealing with mock security and terrorist threats.
The surprise drill tested ground troops, Air Force, airborne troops and aerospace defense, according to Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu.
Putin ordered to “test combat readiness of troops in dealing with crisis situations that threaten the military security of the country, as well as with antiterrorist, sanitary and epidemiological, or technogenic situations,” Shoigu said.
According to the Defense Minister, the drill, which started at 14:00 GMT, will be held from February 26 until March 3 in two stages. The second stage involves an opposing-force exercise with the participation of Russia’s Northern and Baltic fleet and bomb strike drills.
While Western media was quick to connect the drill to the situation in Ukraine, such exercises were proposed by Putin as early as last September and followed massive 2013 drills.