Russia plans to conduct large-scale military exercises twice a decade, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview.
“We give the main outline of what we are going to hold next year, the only thing that does not fall into this plan are surprise inspections. Naturally, we planned these exercises, and we plan to hold them every five years,” Shoigu told the Rossiya 1 broadcaster.
He noted that the Vostok-2018 drills had been planned in 2017 when the schedule of major events for 2018 was approved by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We need some intermediate points of reference. By saying we, I mean the supreme commander-in-chief, because investing such funds in the rearmament of the army and the fleet, we must understand and see where we are going and whether everything is all right here,” the Minister said.
The state armament program is designed for a 10-year period, but events showing combat readiness of the army should be conducted more often.
The Vostok-2018 drills are the largest exercise held in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The exercises were conducted from 11 to 18 September and involved nearly 300,000 servicemen, 36,000 vehicles, up to 80 ships and support vessels, and over a thousand aircraft.