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    'Thousands of troops' to participate in Russian Far East drills

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    Tens of thousands of troops, as well as dozens of warships and warplanes, will be involved in a large-scale military exercise in Russia's Far East, a top military commander said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti)  Tens of thousands of troops, as well as dozens of warships and warplanes, will be involved in a large-scale military exercise in Russia's Far East, a top military commander said on Monday.

    Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said the strategic exercise, codenamed Vostok 2010, will take place on June 29 through July 8.

    According to media reports, at least 20,000 troops, up to 70 warplanes and 30 warships will participate. Last year's drills (codenamed Zapad 2009 as part of the Osen 2009 exercise) involved 12,500 troops, 40 warplanes and 200 armored vehicles. Over 8,000 troops took part in Vostok 2008 drills.

    Makarov stressed that the drills were not aimed against any one country.

    "This exercise...is not directed against any concrete country or military-political bloc. It has a purely defensive nature in ensuring the security and national interests of the state in the Far East," he said.

    The upcoming drills will involve units from the Far Eastern, Siberian and Volga-Urals military districts, as well as the Pacific Fleet.

    As part of the drills, the Armed Forces will practice the deployment of additional troops in Siberia and the Far East to reinforce the existing military contingent in the region in case of a military conflict.

    MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) 

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