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Surprise military drill in Russia ends

March 31, 2013 at 10:49 AM

MOSCOW, March 31 (UPI) -- About 7,000 Russian military personnel wrapped up a surprise weekend drill that tested their combat readiness, commanders said Sunday.

The exercise for the Southern Military District involved the sudden deployment of paratroopers, armored vehicles and 30 warships in the Black Sea, district commanders said in a written statement.

"The personnel of the Southern Military District's command and control brigade that took part in the surprise check of the combat readiness of troops in the country's south have arrived at their permanent base in the Rostov Region, having covered a distance of over 900 kilometers (559 miles)," the statement said.

The drill was ordered by President Vladimir Putin last week to check the capabilities of the forces assigned to the Black Sea region, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said.

The Black Sea coastal town of Sochi, near the Russian border with Georgia, will host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

A similar exercise took place in central Russia last month, involving units assigned to the Urals region.

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