Russia's Medvedev oversees naval phase of Vostok-2010 military drills
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is overseeing on Sunday the naval phase of Russia's Vostok 2010 military drills in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East on board the heavy nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky, RIA Novosti reported.
The drills began on June 29 in Russia's Far East training areas and involved some 10,000 troops and around 1,000 items of military hardware. The first phase of the drills ended on Saturday. The second, naval phase will see the involvement of several times more service personnel and military equipment. The exercises continue until July 8.
Apart from the Pyotr Veliky cruiser of the Russian Northern Fleet, the drills also involve the Guards guided missile cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet.
As many as 12,500 troops took part in last year's intermediate drills, while the previous large-scale Vostok 2008 drills involved more than 8,000 troops.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, earlier said this year's strategic drills would include the firing of live ammunition, simulated airborne assaults and amphibious assault landings.
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.
Makarov stressed that the Vostok 2010 drills were not aimed against any country.
"This exercise...is not directed against any specific country or military-political bloc. It has a purely defensive nature in ensuring the security and national interests of the [Russian] state in the Far East," he said.
Russia holds Vostok strategic command-and-staff drills every two years.