MOSCOW: Russia said on Friday it would stage massive military drills in the Caucasus later this month with troops from several countries, including Pakistan, China and Iran, invited to participate.
More than 12,000 troops will take part in the “Caucasus-2020” war games, which will take place in southern Russia from Sept 21 to 26 and include land and naval exercises, Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin told a briefing.
“The Caucasus-2020 drills are not aimed against other countries,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
Pakistan, China, Iran and Myanmar have been invited to take part in the drills, along with ex-Soviet Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, the defence ministry said.
Up to 250 tanks and around 450 infantry combat vehicles and armoured personnel carriers will take part in the drills that will involve 80,000 people, including support staff, the statement said.
Russia regularly holds large-scale drills — two months ago President Vladimir Putin ordered 150,000 personnel to take part in war games in the southwest.
The drills often involve allied countries, one of the biggest in recent years coming with China in 2018.