Amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, Russia is checking combat readiness of its armed forces with ‘surprise military drills’. Major General Sergei Lipovoi, the Chairman of the Officers of Russia Presidium, said the aim of the surprise drills is to check the combat readiness of the armed forces and its mobilization abilities.

Last week, Russian officials had raised concerns about Washington planning to send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East. The country’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to CNBC, said the proposed increase of US forces in the Middle East is a ‘military provocation’ and a ‘matter of serious concern’. With the escalating US - Iran tensions, Moscow had called ‘all sides to show restraint’.

Lipovoi also said that Russia had pushed up its drills following increased activity with the NATO coalition. 

The Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that on the order of President Vladmir Putin, the whole military command, control bodies of the Central Military District, part of the troops of the Southern and Eastern Military Districts, separate units of the Airborne Troops, long-range and military transport aviation have been placed on alert.

Meanwhile, the US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on Iran by signing an executive order. This, according to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, will deny Iranian leadership access to key financial resources and support. The Trump administration continues to pressurize Iran to end its pursuit for nuclear weapons.