Russia Holds Large-scale Naval Exercise in Far East

Russia launched a large-scale strategic naval exercise in the Far East and the Pacific early Monday morning.

People's Daily

August 19, 2003

Russia launched a large-scale strategic naval exercise in the Far East and the Pacific early Monday morning.

The exercise, participated by the Pacific and Northern fleets, strategic and front-line aviation and troops of the Far Eastern Military District, is unprecedented in the history of the Russian Navy in terms of its scale, range of participants and area, Itar-Tass quoted Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, chief of Russia's Naval Main Staff, as saying on Monday.

The exercise involves 75 naval ships and support vessels of the Pacific Fleet, 20 aircraft of the Northern and Pacific fleets and 30,000 military servicemen and civilian specialists.

The exercise, scheduled to last 10 days, will be held in three stages in the Sea of Okhotsk, Bering Sea and Sea of Japan.

In the first phase on Aug. 18-19, the ships and personnel will be making preparations at bases. Then the forces will be deployed in the designated areas on Aug. 20-22. The active phase of the exercise will begin on Aug. 23 and the whole exercise is set to be completed on Aug. 27.

Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Viktor Fyodorov said earlier that Russia has not held such joint exercises in over 15 years, Interfax reported.

Ships and aircraft from South Korea and Japan will participate. Observers from the United States, Canada, China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will be present during the exercise, said Itar-Tass.

According to Konstantin Pulikovsky, special envoy of the Russian president to the Far-East Federal District, the exercise seeks to improve interaction between federal and regional government, military and law-enforcement agencies in emergency situations, the Moscow Times reported.

Apart from representatives of the Defense Ministry, the exercises also involve servicemen of the Russian Federal Security Service, the Interior Ministry, the Transportation Ministry, the Atomic Energy Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and other ministries and agencies, according to the newspaper.

Russia's Baltic Fleet on Monday also started a major naval exercise, which will last till Aug. 21.