[Ed. – Russia would be vastly over-preparing for a basically unopposed and politically ambiguous occupation of Georgia or the Baltics. But over-preparing, to ensure success, is what you do when you’re serious. Quite obviously, there is no NATO threat to prepare for. NATO is as inert as a dead cockroach. On the other hand, with China busting out all over Southeast Asia, it doesn’t hurt, from Moscow’s viewpoint, to show some chops in mass-scale conventional-force exercises, nicely sited just to the west. Hold China close, but always with a knife to her back. It’s pretty much guaranteed that some Russian has said that, even if no one wrote it down.]
The Russian military has launched a massive exercise involving 250 aircraft and other weapons.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday the drills will involve air force and air defense units of the Central, Western and Southern Military Districts totaling 12,000 servicemen. Combat aircraft will deploy to temporary bases and air defense systems will be sent to the Ashuluk and Kapustin Yar shooting ranges in southern Russia for training with live ammunition.
It also said long-range Russian bombers will launch cruise missiles at practice targets at a Siberian firing range.
The exercise is part of a series of Russian military maneuvers taking place amid tensions with the West over Russian actions in Ukraine.