Putin oversees test rocket launches ahead of holiday, says pre-planned

MOSCOW Thu May 8, 2014 5:54am EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony by the Kremlin wall on the eve of the Victory Day celebrations in central Moscow, May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony by the Kremlin wall on the eve of the Victory Day celebrations in central Moscow, May 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin oversaw test launches of Russia's most powerful rockets on Thursday during military training exercises held across Russia ahead of celebrations of the anniversary of its World War Two victory.

"We are carrying out tests of the readiness of the Russian armed forces. It was announced in November last year. The exercises will involve all branches of the armed forces across the country," said Putin speaking to reporters at the Defense Ministry.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, Writing by Thomas Grove, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska)

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