(UR) Russia — Russian Army units in the south and west, as well as the Air Force and the Navy’s northern fleet, have been placed on high alert as part of a massive snap exercise aimed at checking the troops’ readiness, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday.

At a press briefing with top military commanders, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated the move came by way of“the decision of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” — Vladimir Putin — and that “Troops in the Southern Military District, some units of the Western and Central Military Districts, as well as the Northern Fleet, the Air Force and the Airborne Troops, are to be put on full alert.”

Shoigu said the war games, which are slated to run through August 31, will allow troops to be prepared to “defend Russia’s interests amid emerging security threats,” — meaning those in the western and southwestern regions where the Russian units are now on high alert.

The threats being referred to are those posed by the increasingly militarized NATO forces in Eastern Europe, along the western border of Russia, and the endless warfare happening along the country’s southwest, where the U.S.-backed government in Kiev ensures eastern Ukraine remains a constant warzone.

Now, with Defense Minister Shoigu talking about forming “sustainable task forces” to deal with crisis situations and instituting a “viable command-and-control chain” to communicate with troops on the move, it seems Russia has finally felt the need to have troops at the ready on its border.

Meanwhile, North Korea — following a successful test firing of a ballistic missile — issued another threat to the United States on Thursday, warning that it would bring “nuclear hammers of justice” down if the U.S. hints at aggressive action in Southeast Asia, according to a statement from North Korea’s KCNA news agency.

“The [North] Korean people would deal merciless blows at them with nuclear hammers of justice,” the KCNA statement reads, “so that nails of injustice may not come out again, once an opportunity is given, now that the DPRK has in place all substantial means capable of standing up against the US nuclear hegemony.”

The North Korean threat highlights the posturing taking place in the South and East China seas. The U.S. and China have been brought to the brink of naval warfare in the South China Sea over territorial disputes, and China and Japan — a U.S. ally — are ratcheting up tensions in the East China Sea over similar questions of sovereignty.

And hanging above all that is the fact that China recently joined the Russian alliance with Bashar al-Assad in Syria — in direct opposition to the United States.

The Syria war, incidentally, got a little hotter yesterday when Turkish tanks officially crossed the border into northern Syria in support of a U.S.-led coalition campaign to, purportedly, root out ISIS.

Turkey, however, who just pledged to militarily support the U.S. coalition in a new campaign in northern Syria, also has big economic plans in the works with Russia — who’s on the other side of the Syrian conflict.

One thing is for certain, however: Russia is preparing. On August 19 it was reported that Russian troops carried out an exercise in which they commanded “NATO” soldiers to “lay down your arms.” A loudspeaker recording also told the “enemy” that their “treacherous attack is disturbing a peaceful nation” and that they should “stop being pawns for your leaders.”

This article (Russia Sends a Surprise Message to NATO With Sudden, Massive Military Exercise) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to James Holbrooks and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/mil.rus.