The number of the Russian Armed Forces will be reduced to one million people by 2012, Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said after the joint meeting of defense ministers of Russia and Belarus. Nowadays, Russia has the 1.134,800-strong army, Itar-Tass reports.
“It was planned that the number of the Russian Armed Forces would make up one million people by 2016. Now we plan to achieve this goal by 2012,” the head of the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Serdyukov also said that the Russia army would consist of permanent readiness units in accordance with “the new image of the armies” document which was approved by the Russian president on September 15. The minister reminded that Russia already has the rapid deployment force in the form of airborne troops. The new structures will be formed by 2012, the minister said.
The minister also said that the number of the structures of the General Headquarters would be cut 50 percent.
In the meantime, Russia has launched the most ambitious tests of its strategic bombers in almost 25 years. Up to 20 bombers will take off within the scope of the exercise to test their cruise missiles. Over 5,000 military men, eight warships and five submarines will be involved in the exercise. It is the largest demonstration of Russia’s military power since the collapse of the Soviet Union, The Times wrote.
Russia conducts the exercise to test the nation’s readiness in the deployment of its nuclear deterrents, the newspaper wrote.
Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Drik told RIA Novosti said the strategic bombers would test their missiles at full war load.
More than one-third of Russia’s Tu-95MS bombers and Tu-160 supersonic aircraft will participate in the exercise.
Russia previously conducted such a large-scale military exercise with the use of Tu-95MS in 1984, in the middle of the Cold War. Tu-160 bombers have never participated in such an event because it was too expensive for the nation.
Western military analysts believe that Russia decided to flex its military muscle again to intimidate the whole world.