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40 million Russians involved in annual 4-day defense drills

40 million Russians involved in annual 4-day defense drills
This week Russian authorities are conducting massive civil defense training involving 40 million people nationwide. The drill comes amid a spike in tensions between Russia and the US after the collapse of the two nations’ cooperation in Syria.

The four-day exercise launched on Tuesday includes 200,000 rescue professionals. Almost 50,000 vehicles are part of the drill.

“Our priority during the drill is to train evacuation of the civilian population from potentially-risky areas,” Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, who oversees all civil defense in Russia, told Interfax.

The drill is meant to test coordination between federal, regional and local authorities, feasibility of contingency plans for emergencies, the state of civil defense infrastructure like shelters and emergency supply stockpiles, and other aspects of the system. Emergency services are expected to “prepare suggestions on how to improve our potential,” the minister said.

Exercises such as these are held annually in Russia since 2012. It is timed to October 4, which is Civil Defense Day in Russia.

This year’s exercise is not exceptional in terms of scale. For example, the drill of 2013 involved over 60 million people.

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