Russia begins ‘large scale’ drill with 40 million citizens participating
Has also deployed an advanced anti-missile system in Syria for the first time, according to US officials
Moscow said it will hold an unprecedented “large-scale” all-Russian civil defense drill for four days starting Tuesday, the Russian Ministry for Civil Defense said on its website.
The large-scale drill will see the participation of 40 million Russian citizens and 200,000 specialists from “emergency rescue divisions.”
The all-Russian civil defense drill involving federal and regional executive authorities and local governments is to prepare for “large natural and man-caused disasters in the Russian Federation.”
Director of the Civil Defense Ministry Oleg Manuilov said the drill will test how Russians would respond to a “disaster” under an “emergency” situation.
Russia announced on Monday its plans for the drill shortly before the White House said it would halt ceasefire talks with Moscow over Syria.
Russia and the United States exchanged accusations over Syria as each side continues to support one warring party against another.
In a related story, US news station Fox News said Russia has deployed an advanced anti-missile system in Syria for the first time, citing three US officials.
The officials said the new weapon system could potentially counter any US cruise missile attack in Syria, in a latest show for Russian military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
If true, this will make it the first time Russia has deployed the SA-23 system outside its borders, Fox News said, according to one Western official citing a recent intelligence assessment.
On Tuesday, the United States has defended its stance in Syria when it said it has not given up “pursuit of peace in Syria” as Russian and Syrian warplanes continued to pound residential areas in besieged parts of Aleppo.