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Putin Puts Central Military District on Full Combat Alert

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in early 2014, Russia and NATO have been conducting large numbers of military inspections and exercises amid severely strained relations.

President Vladimir Putin, the supreme commander of Russia's armed forces, on Monday ordered a surprise inspection of all military forces under the command of the Central Military District, one of the Defense Ministry's four regional administrative commands, the TASS news agency reported.

“In accordance with [Putin's] order to the forces of the [Central] Military District, parts of the air forces of other military districts, the airborne troops and the military air transport forces have been on full combat readiness from 9:30 a.m. Moscow time,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, TASS reported.

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in early 2014, Russia and NATO have been conducting large numbers of military inspections and exercises amid severely strained relations. Russia has scheduled 4,000 exercises in 2015.

Shoigu said that the inspections, which will conclude on Saturday, will also be used to test the reactions to wartime conditions of federal and regional authorities, such as the ministries of health, agriculture and trade and industry.

State agencies involved in the inspections are the Federal Biomedical Agency, the Federal Reserves Agency and the Federal Fisheries Agency. Regional authorities include the administrations of the Volga Federal District's republic of Bashkortostan, and the administrations of the Novosibirsk, Samara and Chelyabinsk regions.

Shoigu said the General Staff has been split into two working groups to assess the combat abilities of the Central Military District under wartime conditions.

“The first group will work with the federal and regional authorities, and the second will inspect the troops of the Central Military District,” Shoigu said.

The Central Military District is scheduled to conduct large military exercises later in September, known as Center-2015.

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