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Russia starts massive military drills

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Russia on Monday started massive military exercises involving 128,000 troops and the militaries of several allies, including India and China.

The Center-2019 drills will last through Saturday in the Urals, Siberia and the Caspian Sea.

They will also include over 20,000 pieces of military equipment and 15 ships, the Russian defense ministry said.

Russia regularly holds massive exercises, rotating in different regions of the country. Last year, the East-2018 exercises involved over 300,000 troops, making them the largest in the post-Soviet era.

The purpose of these latest drills is to “work on using groups of armed forces in solving issues of fighting international terrorism and ensure military security in the strategic direction of Central Asia”, the ministry said.

The first stage of the two-part drills will focus on issues of fighting terrorism and thwarting an attack from the air. During the second stage, forces will be go on an offensive against a supposed enemy.

Troops from India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also taking part in the exercise.

“The drills will serve to develop military collaboration and strengthen cooperation between our countries,” Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov said at the opening ceremony.

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