Russia Conducts Record Military Exercises
COREY FLINTOFF. Sat July 20, 2013
Today, Russia is wrapping up its biggest military maneuver since the Soviet era, an exercise that’s designed to test its military readiness on land, sea and in the air. NPR’s Corey Flintoff reports that it may also be an effort to show Russia’s Far Eastern neighbors that it is still a force to be reckoned with.
COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Russian President Vladimir Putin watched part of the war games this week at a firing range in southern Siberia.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Foreign language spoken)
FLINTOFF: He said Russia’s forces were tested in unfamiliar territory and that they showed a high degree of combat readiness. The territory was Russia’s Far East and some analysts say the maneuvers were a message to neighbors, such as China, Japan and the United States. Igor Korotchenko is the editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, and he watched the exercise as a guest of Russia’s defense minister.
IGOR KOROTCHENKO: (Foreign language spoken)
FLINTOFF: He says the maneuvers are not meant to threaten anyone but to show that Russia wouldn’t be an easy prey. Korotchenko points out that the exercise included forces that have nuclear capability as a deterrent to countries that outweigh Russia in terms of conventional forces. He’s not naming names, but that label only applies to the United States and China. Russian military expert Alexander Goltz points out that the war games included chemical and biological warfare defense brigades. He says Russian defense officials fear that some countries in the region might resort to such weapons. [emphasis added]
Who do the Russians fear invasion from? Who do they think might use biological weapons against them?
This story did not receive as much attention as it deserves.