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Putin urges Russia to increase defense capability amid "growing use of force"

(Xinhua)

10:47, September 18, 2012

MOSCOW, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday urged Russia to increase its defense capability amid the " growing use of force in international affairs."

The president made the remarks while overseeing the Caucasus- 2012 strategic drills at the Rayevsky range, southern Russia. The exercise, which takes place from September 17 to 23, is the largest war game in Russia this year.

"You can see what is happening in the world, you can see that, unfortunately, there is growing use of force in international affairs. All this means that we must keep our powder dry, and we must increase the defense capability of Russia," Putin said in his address to the drills.

According to the president, the only objective of the drills was to demonstrate that the Russian armed forces were ready to defend the national interests and were able to respond to any security challenges and threats.

Led by Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov, up to 8, 000 servicemen along with over 200 military vehicles, some 100 artillery pieces and about 10 warships are taking part in the drills.

The drills will also involve the live firing of Iskander tactical ballistic missiles.

Georgia, however, has criticized the drills as a threat to the stability and security of the entire Caucasus region.

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