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Putin Announces Surprise Military Drill In Black Sea

The Russian amphibious landing vessel "Caesar Kunikov" (left) leaves the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a surprise order for military exercises to start in the Black Sea.

Putin reportedly sent the order to Russia's defense minister early on March 28.

"We’re talking about a large, unplanned review-exercise," presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov said.

There was no obligation to inform neighboring countries of the pending maneuvers, he said.

Peskov said that "according to international practice, exercises in which less than 7,000 people taking part do not require informing our partners ahead of time."

Peskov said 36 naval vessels from Sevastopol and Novorossiisk would take part, along with an unspecified number of aircraft.

Peskov said the main goal is to check unit "readiness and cohesion."

In February, Russia’s military conducted several unannounced military exercises and discovered some units were unable to mobilize quickly.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS