Putin puts Russian air forces on high alert

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end of year news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. Putin says that Russia's economy is showing signs of stabilization despite plummeting oil prices. Putin, speaking Thursday at a news conference televised live, said that despite a GDP drop caused by a drop in global oil prices, Russia's main commodity, the nation's industries have started to rebound. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) – President Vladimir Putin has put the Russian air force on high alert, the latest in a series of drills amid tensions with the West.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the drills launched Tuesday will check the air force’s readiness and its ability to repel an enemy aggression.

Shoigu told military officials that special emphasis will be given to practicing the deployment of air defense systems.

The maneuvers are the latest in a steady series of war games intended to strengthen the troops’ readiness. Despite Russia’s economic downturn, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on military training and weapons modernization amid tensions with the West over the Ukrainian crisis.

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