President Vladimir Putin has approved the plan of military exercises to be held in the Russian Far East on August 18-27, 2003.
The president signed the exercises plan and map after the report by Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Navy Commander Vladimir Kuroyedov.
Ivanov stressed in his report that 68 ships and craft of the Pacific Fleet, 42 auxiliary ships along with the Transport Ministry and the Russian Hydrometeorology Service would participate in the exercises.
The United States, Canada, China, the two Koreas and Japan have been invited to take part in the exercises as participants and observers.
According to the minister, the exercises are made up of 45 episodes related to counter-terrorism, security and protection of resources with the use of navy and border guards. The 5th army of the Air Force and Air Defence will take part in the exercises and strategic aviation in some of its episodes.
Navy Commander Vladimir Kuroyedov said that the exercises would be consist of three stages - staff work, preparation and build-up of forces and practical work aimed at elimination of threats.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea