Surprise drills snap up 160,000 Russian service members

July 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM

MOSCOW, July 13 (UPI) -- As many as 160,000 Russian service members are now involved in "snap drills," double the number of only a day ago, the defense ministry said Saturday.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 81,000 soldiers were taking part in the drills in eastern Russia Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the surprise checks of combat readiness Friday night, the third such drill since January.

About 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, as well as 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the Pacific Fleet, also are involved in the drills.

The drills were instituted after the Russian military establishment was shaken by a series of corruption scandals.

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