Putin To Personally Oversee The End Of Russia's Biggest War Game Since The Cold War

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Russia is in the midst of a massive war game that involves as many as 160,000 soldiers, 5,000 tanks and armoured vehicles, 30 aircraft, and 70 warships, Brad Lendon of CNN reports.

And Monday, the Kremlin announced that Russian President Vladamir Putin — a former KGB colonel — would oversee the final part of the drill himself. The announcement follows Putin informing defence Minister Sergei Shoigu Friday that he would “personally take part” in the exercise.

This is the third “snap combat readiness” check that Putin has ordered this year, which the Kremlin says is aimed in part at shaking up a military leadership harried with charges of corruption.

The exercise is the largest since the end of the Cold War, and it comes on the heels of a naval exercise conducted in January — also the largest of its kind in decades.

The training ground is in Russia’s far eastern Sakhalin region, suggesting that Russia intends to match the U.S. military’s Pacific pivot as much as battle internal corruption.

In recent years, Russia has ramped up military spending. Their current military expenditures are at their highest levels since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. They are presently in the second year of a plan to increase military spending by 11% each year until 2020.

Furthermore, they’ve increased military activity, particularly in the Mediterranean region, since the U.S. has focused more attention on Northern Africa, Jordan, and Syria — the last of which is arguably in Russia’s own backyard.

A Business Insider slideshow on global military firepower placed Russia in second place, ahead of China, and behind the United States.

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