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Russian army brigades in S.Ossetia, Abkhazia to hold drills


NIZHNY NOVGOROD, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian army brigades based in South Ossetia and Abkhazia will take part in a large-scale strategic exercise in the Caucasus next month, the Ground Forces commander said on Thursday.

Army Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev said the Caucasus-2009 exercise, due to take place in late June-early July, would comprise a series of operational drills with North Caucasus District troops, including South Ossetian and Abkhazian brigades, as well as units of the Black Sea Fleet, the Caspian Flotilla, and the Air Force command.

"The 4th and 7th Brigades in South Ossetia and Abkhazia are on full combat readiness. They are defending civilians and are ready to repulse any aggression," he said.

It was previously reported that a total of 8,500 troops, about 200 tanks, 450 armored vehicles, and up to 250 artillery systems would take part in the Caucasus-2009 exercise.

The exercise will be led by Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

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