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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grachev U-Turn on Exercises

In a surprising reversal, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said Wednesday that Russia "must" allow American troops to participate in joint maneuvers on Russian soil. "If we refuse to hold joint maneuvers at the Totsk training ground, we will suffer a political loss," Grachev said. Grachev's comments came three weeks after U.S. and Russian lawmakers agreed that the maneuvers would be held in the United States instead. Russian nationalists had harshly criticized the plan to allow American soldiers on Russian soil. The exercises, initially scheduled in July, were supposed to train 250 U.S. troops and an equal number of Russian soldiers for future UN peacekeeping operations.