Prior to the launch of Russia’s biggest military exercise in four years, Zapad 2014, some 3,000 Russian and Tajikistan forces took part in a “snap” readiness exercise.

This isn’t the first one that Russian forces have conducted, but it’s the first one for Tajik forces.

“The military of Russia and Tajikistan are participating jointly for the first time in a snap readiness check. The servicemen of the two armies backed by Russian operational-tactical and army aviation are performing training and combat tasks in line with a single plan in a common operation situation on the mountainous firing grounds of Lyaur and Kharbmaydon,” said the Assistant Commander of Russia’s Central Military District, Colonel Yaroslav Roshchupkin.

The exercise involved the rapid notification and then deployment of forces to a simulated battle area, where they conducted live-fire training. Russian warplanes were also involved in the exercise. [source]

Analyst comment: These snap exercises, which have been increasingly frequent over the last few years — even before Russia annexed Crimea and began providing support for Ukrainian rebels — are viewed as pre-invasion drills. Moscow wants to assure all its security partners are adequately prepared for that contingency as well.