Putin Re-Emerges and Orders Massive surprise drills in Arctic  Reports now indicate that Putin has re-emerged after a disappearance and has suddenly ordered thousands of Russian troops to  be put on alert Monday morning after ordering a surprise large-scale military drill to test the armed forces’ readiness to counter challenges in the country’s north and particularly in the Arctic. The order to go into battle readiness mode was given to the Northern Fleet, paratroopers and units of the Western military district at 8am Moscow time (05:00 GMT) by the commander-in-chief. Some 38,000 troops, 41 ships, 15 submarines, 110 jets and choppers are taking part in the drills which focus on boosting Russia’s military presence in the Arctic and test how quickly special operations forces can be moved along large distances. “New military challenges and threats demand further boost of the military capabilities of armed forces and special attention is being paid to the condition of the newly-set-up strategic command in the north,” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told journalists on Monday. A month earlier, Shoigu warned that Russia could consider protecting its national interests in the Arctic with military means if necessary. “The constant military presence in the Arctic and the possibility to protect the state’s interests by military means are regarded as an integral part of the general policy to guarantee national security,” he said. FULL REPORT