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EURASIA > Russia should keep its powder dry: Putin

MOSCOW - Reuters

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. AFP photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin. AFP photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw Russian military exercises on Sept. 17 and warned soldiers that more conflicts around the world meant they had to “keep their powder dry” and improve Russia’s defenses.

Speaking to soldiers at manoeuvres in the Caucasus Mountain region on the country’s southern border, near where Russian troops invaded neighboring Georgia in a five-day 2008 war, Putin said the use of military force was rising worldwide.

“You are all educated people; you see what is happening in the world. You see that the use of force is increasing in international affairs,” said Putin, flanked by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and the Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov.

“That all speaks to the fact that we should keep our powder dry and that Russia’s defenses must improve,” he said.

Sept. 17 was the first day of training exercises named Kavkaz 2012, the Russian word for the Caucasus Mountains. The troubled region has emerged as a focus of hostilities, not only within Russia, but also between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where border skirmishes sporadically occur.

Putin, has been the primary force behind plans to revamp Russia’s fighting forces, injecting the defense budget with $751.97 billion over the next decade, at a time when Western counterparts are tightening their belts.

Ahead of the presidential election earlier this year, Putin said enemies were trying to provoke conflicts around Russia’s borders and the country’s allies, arguing that the country needed better weapons.

September/19/2012

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