Russia will make threatening gestures to its potential enemies rather carefully
Today, August 18, large-scale exercises of Russia's Pacific Navy start in the Far East. The exercises will engage also subdivisions of 16 ministries and departments, starting from the RF Ministry of Defense and the State Fishery Committee.
Russia's news agency RIA Novosti informs, the exercises will be held in three stages: August 18-19 will be devoted to basic preparation of forces and troops; August 20-22 - to all-round preparation of arms, military technique, deployment of troops on the territories where missions are to be carried out; August 23-27 - an active stage of the exercises with participation of observers from six countries of the Asian-Pacific region. There will be 24 separate exercises: 10 will be held in the Primorye region, 7 – in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk and 7 – near Kamchatka.
It should be mentioned here that a scandal nearly broke out concerning observers of the exercises last week. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in a letter to Russia's Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov that the USA wouldn't send any ships for participation in the exercises. He explained the decision with the fact that allegedly the USA received an invitation to the manoeuvres too late. However, Commander of the Russian Navy Central Headquarters Viktor Kravchenko says the invitations to participants of the exercises were sent in time. It is important that Russia's neighbors in the region somehow or other will take part in the exercises. South Korea and Japan will appropriate ships, China and North Korea decided to send only their observers to the manoeuvres. It is expected that observers from the USA and Canada will be present at the navy exercises as well.
These manoeuvres in Russia's Far East are the largest in five years. Over 68 ships and boats, 42 auxiliary vessels, 50 planes and helicopters, up to 30,000 servicemen and civil specialists will be engaged for the exercises. The official aim of the exercises is to polish methods of fighting against terrorism, fend against piracy and protection of biological resources (the scale of poaching is immense in the Far East, it is quite obvious).
One more objective of the exercises is to improve cooperation between countries of the region in case of natural disasters. What is more, in the framework of the manoeuvres the alertness and preparedness of Russia's Pacific Navy will be checked. One may arrive at a conclusion that Moscow has made a decision to demonstrate its strength and potential to all parties concerned, especially against the background of the North Korean nuclear program.