Russia’s Defense Ministry says the first phase of joint air-defense exercises by the Commonwealth of Independent States began on August 18.
The ministry says troops from 20 air-defense and missile-defense units in the Moscow region have been put on high alert for the CIS Combat Commonwealth 2015 exercises, which are schedule to continue until September 11.
The ministry says the exercises involve more than 1,000 servicemen as well as surface-to-air defense missile systems, fighter jets, assault attack helicopters, aircraft used for close air support in ground attacks, and military transport planes.
The ministry says that after the first phase of the exercises are completed, the troops and military hardware will be redeployed to the Ashuluk training range in southern Russia’s Astrakhan region.
Ashuluk is about 500 kilometers from Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine.
Troops from five other CIS countries are taking part in the military drills -- Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.
Troops from other countries are participating as observers.