By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Russia launched a massive military exercise Center-2019 on Monday, the Defense Ministry said.

The opening ceremony of the six-day drill took place in the southern Orenburg region with the participation of military chiefs from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, the ministry said in a statement.

Some 128,000 soldiers, more than 20,000 units of military equipment and over 600 aircrafts take part in the drill.

Some stages of the military exercise will be held in the member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — the statement noted.

The drill, which runs through Sept. 21, aims to work out the skills of interstates coalition forces in challenging global terrorism and "ensuring security in the Central Asian strategic direction", as well as to "strengthen the cooperation with the allies."

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