160,000 servicemen, 1000 tanks, 130 planes and 70 ships are taking part in Russia's biggest military drill since Soviet times. The war games will continue in the country's Far East until July 20.
The maneuvers are the latest in series of surprise military checks which performed by Russia, in an effort to reveal and oust flaws in the country's defense program.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu received an order to test the battle readiness of the Eastern command, which unites military forces in the Far East and Trans-Baikal. The request was received from President Vladimir Putin at 01:00 local time (21:00 GMT) on Saturday, July 13.
Following the order, 160,000 servicemen were put on high alert and began advancing toward the training sites.
According to the Defense Ministry, around 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 planes and helicopters, and 70 ships are taking part in the war games.
Military commanders in the Far East and Trans-Baikal learned of the drill's details only after it had begun, receiving a secret parcel from Defense Minister Shoygu."The main purpose of the activities is to check the readiness of the military units to perform assigned tasks and evaluate of the level of personnel's training and technical preparation as well as the level of equipment of units with arms and military equipment,"
the defense ministry said in statement.
© RIA Novosti / Andrei AleksandrovSu-27 fighter
The statement noted that the drill would require some units to travel more than 3,000 kilometers from their usual deployment sites. Seven hundred flat wagons and 50 railway cars were assigned to perform the transfer.
The ground forces have been given two days to reach their destination. They have been tasked with pitching field camps, masking their positions, and organizing defense strategies upon arrival.