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Putin orders exercises in eastern Russia to test military readiness

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a press conference after a summit in Minsk early on August 27, 2014. .
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a press conference after a summit in Minsk early on August 27, 2014. . KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered military forces in the country’s east to carry out a major exercise to test their preparedness.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on state television on Thursday that the “combat alert” in the eastern military district, which encompasses eastern-most territories including those bordering on China and Japan, was issued at 10 a.m. Moscow time, or 0600 GMT.

There were no immediate reports of how many troops will be involved. Putin ordered a combat drill in the Volga region and the Urals in June as the conflict in Ukraine was raging.

Putin on Wednesday accused the West of using the Ukraine crisis to reinvigorate NATO, and said Moscow will ponder a response to the alliance’s decision to create a rapid-reaction “spearhead” force to protect Eastern Europe.

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