Russia Launches Emergency Drills Involving 40 Million People

October 6, 2016 Updated: October 6, 2016

Russia has launched a large-scale civil defense training exercise set to involve 40 million people in the case of a man-made or natural disaster, according to reports.

Russia’s Emergency Ministry, known as EMERCOM, is running the operation, involving more than 50,000 pieces of equipment and 200,000 specialist rescue units in the event of a disaster—which includes a chemical, biological, or nuclear attack from Western powers.

The Defense Ministry-run Zvezda TV announced last week: “Schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow,” according to The Independent.

The rhetoric and actions evoke the Cold War, when Soviet citizens were trained on how to survive a nuclear conflict with the West. Some experts say that the EMERCOM drill is linked to heightened tensions between Russia and the United States over how to operate in Syria and other security issues.

EMERCOM Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the four-day exercise, launched on Wednesday, will help “raise government efficiency while dealing with the consequences of large-scale emergencies,” reported The Associated Press. He added that the ministry will be able to ensure “uninterrupted transport, energy supplies and communications.”

On its website, EMERCOM said the drill is about organizing management. The drill will be conducted in three stages.

“The main goal of the drill is to practice organization of management during civil defense events and emergency and fire management, to check preparedness of management bodies and forces of civil defense on all levels to respond to natural and man-made disasters and to take civil defense measures,” it reads.

Meanwhile, the maneuver will include the rehearsals of radiation, chemical, and biological protection of the personnel and the population during emergencies “at crucial and potentially dangerous facilities,” the website states.

“Response units will deploy radiation, chemical and biological monitoring centers and sanitation posts at the emergency areas, while laboratory control networks are going to be put on standby,” it adds.