Large-scale Far Eastern war games envisaged

A large-scale Far Eastern troop exercise, slotted for mid-2003, will utilize the relevant experience of a Caspian naval exercise, which took place earlier this year. This was disclosed to reporters here today by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

The forthcoming military exercise will be even bigger and more intensive, involving quite a few servicemen and civilians, Ivanov added.

In his words, the forthcoming war games will encompass the Sea of Japan, the Okhotsk Sea and the Bering Sea, aiming to counter those specific real-life threats and forces being encountered by us in the Russian Far East.

Efforts will be made to tackle all the main regional problems, such as poaching and biological terrorism, to guard oil-and-gas deposits, to thwart illegal drug trafficking and illegal migration, Ivanov stressed.

This exercise will mostly aim to check the performance of institutions of state authority and military-administration divisions in the field of high-seas activities, Ivanov said.

The state must do everything in order to implement a clear-cut and coherent state maritime policy just about everywhere, that is, in the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere. Moreover, we must ensure state interests by all means, forces and resources at our disposal, Ivanov told his audience.

The confident presence of our Navy and Federal Frontier Service (FPS) on the high seas is a serious preventive measure aimed at preserving biological resources, the Russian Defense Minister stressed.

Not a single poacher ship could be seen during the Caspian naval exercise, Ivanov stressed. Moreover, sturgeon schools started migrating up the Volga for the first time in 15 years.

Ivanov reminded those present that preparations to elaborate the war-games concept were discussed at a conference here today.

Each ministry will be drafting its own plans. The Commander-In-Chief will be informed about the exercise concept by February 2003, Ivanov added. The planning phase will subsequently commence, if this concept is approved, Ivanov noted.

In his words, practical episodes aiming to fight poaching and biological terrorism are stipulated within the framework of this exercise.

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