Russian forces put on full combat alert on Putin’s orders

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MOSCOW: The Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on Saturday that the military forces in central Russia have been put on full alert to verify their combat-readiness after Vladimir Putin ordered surprise drills.

The minister said that the drills in the central military district, which encompasses the Volga region and the Ural mountains, will last until next Saturday.

“In accordance with his (Putin’s) order, from 11:00 a.m. Moscow time (0700 GMT) the troops of the central military district as well as formations and military units located on its territory have been put on full combat alert,” the Russian defense minister was quoted as saying.

The Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov said that up to 65,000 troops, over 180 planes, some 60 helicopters and some 5,500 units of military equipment will participate in the one-week drills.

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