Russia has launched an air force exercise with 250 aircraft, 12,000 personnel and military hardware on Monday, the country’s defence ministry said in a statement.
The statement said that the military exercise is being conducted with 12,000 air force and air defense personnel joining from the Central, Western and Southern military regions.
The military exercise started on the same day as northern European countries and the United States began an air training exercise with almost 100 jets in the Arctic region near Russia.
The partner countries steered away from claims that the drill was connected with Russia’s stance towards the West and Ukraine, stating that the exercise - lasting from May 25 to June 5 - had been planned before Russia’s annexation of Crimea and is one of the biggest fighter jet exercises after 2013.
According to the Russia’s defence ministry, the country’s long-range aircraft are expected to launch cruise missiles at practice targets at a Siberian firing field.
Aircraft and air defense systems will be deployed to temporary bases to train with live ammunition at the Ashuluk and Kapustin Yar shooting ranges in southern Russia.
The current air force exercise is preparation for a more large scale military exercise Center-2015 expects to be held within the next few months, where tens of thousands of Russian military personnel will participate in a strategic drill that will be held simultaneously in various parts of Russia and overseas.