Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov triumphantly announced the start on June 9 of military exercises of a scale that "Russia has not seen before".
The codename is "Mobilnost (Mobility) – 2004" and indeed the key element is the airlift of three combat units: one company from the Pskov Airborne Division, one company from the Northern Fleet Marine Brigade, and a battalion from the Volga-Ural Military District, dispatched to a training ground in the Far East. Some 50 aircraft from the Military-Transport Aviation and the Ministry of Transport would operate the "air bridge" and deliver these 800 troops and 100 armored and other vehicles. The "active phase" will take place on June 21-25. But a number of smaller exercises, integrated within the same strategic framework, subsequently will be staged. The exercises are being undertaken as a demonstration and test of combat readiness (Izvestia, June 10).
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