MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian military says it has brought some of its forces to the highest stage of combat-readiness as part of sweeping maneuvers in the Arctic and elsewhere in Russia.
President Vladimir Putin issued the order Monday for five days of drills to check the readiness of Russia's Northern Fleet and the military's ability to deploy additional forces from central Russia.
The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that units from the Baltic Fleet, Southern Military District and Airborne Forces had been brought to full combat readiness.
The ministry said about 50 warplanes and helicopters will be redeployed within the next day to northern airfields, while three groups of naval ships have entered the Barents Sea.
The war games come as Russia-West ties are strained over the Ukrainian crisis.