Russia alarms St Petersburg residents with air raid test

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Russia reinforced the popular notion of Western bellicosity by staging the first full military drill in St Petersburg since the end of the Second World War.

Air raid sirens wailed across the country's northern capital and loudspeakers barked official orders as the authorities simulated a full-scale attack on the city.

The exercise caused consternation for many city residents who were unaware that a drill was planned. Some elderly inhabitants who survived the 900-day siege of Leningrad during the war collapsed and had to be treated by ambulance crews, local reporters in the city said.

Even for those too young to remember the war, the experience was an unnerving one.

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