RIA Novosti learnt this from Colonel-General Alexander Skorodumov, head of the Main Department for Combat Training of the Russian Defense Ministry. He is the second in command of the drill.
"This scope of a drill with the use of all the fighting arms and services is the first in last ten years. It is an indication that things are moving," he said.
General Skorodumov stressed that exercises will be held this year in every unit of permanent readiness.
He also said that in 2004 the land forces will get the new tanks T-90 and new armored vehicles BMD-3, the available military hardware will be updated.
As regards the tactical practice shooting at the Alabino proving ground near Moscow and in the Siberian military district, General Starodumov noted that they are getting good marks. However, owing to the bad weather the scope of the exercise had to be somewhat reduced: sorties by a section of Su-25 front-line aviation planes have been canceled.