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Russia defends Black Sea drills

April 2, 2013 at 9:11 AM

MOSCOW, April 2 (UPI) -- Russia doesn't need to give advance notice to other countries of plans to conduct military maneuvers, a treaty specialist at the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills last week in the Black Sea. Russia's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti said the maneuvers were training for regional security ahead of next year's Winter Olympics.

Sergei Ryzhkov, a defense official in charge of treaty implementation, said there's no legal requirement to give advance notice of military drills.

"The mechanism of checks today is such that we only need to notify Western countries when we hold planned events," he was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. "If exercises occur suddenly, we may notify them only when the exercises begin."

Putin's orders followed a decision by the Georgian government to refuse a draft non-aggression pact for breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia and Georgia went to war over the republics in 2008.

The U.S. State Department said last week it didn't have a specific concern regarding the Black Sea drills. The Georgian government said the maneuvers did little for regional stability.

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