- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Russia kicked off its largest national military maneuvers in decades on Tuesday, sending an estimated 160,000 troops and 5,000 tanks into Siberia for an exercise some say was aimed at fending off a future attack from Japanese and U.S. forces.

Russia also sent in dozens of its Pacific Fleet ships and about 130 of its combat planes to participate, The Associated Press reported. The exercise is scheduled to last all week.

Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said the exercises were just normal combat training and not aimed at any nation in particular, but military analysts say otherwise. Konstantin Sivkov, a retired Russian military officer and former member of the General Staff, said in a local media report that part of the training was a simulated attack by Japan and the United States, AP reported.