MOSCOW, (BM) – Russia made a demonstrative military gesture. As part of the exercises “Slavic Brotherhood” Tu-160 bombers passed over the territory of Belarus in the immediate vicinity of the borders with NATO countries, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. In addition, three divisions of the Russian Airborne Forces took part in the exercises at once. How does this relate to the current political events in Belarus?
At last year’s international exercises “Slavic Brotherhood”, which took place in Serbia, the Russian Armed Forces were represented in the amount of 200 people, about 80 more fighters arrived from Belarus, the host side sent 750 people to participate in the maneuvers. An approximate parity in the balance of forces was also observed in earlier exercises [Russia, Belarus and Serbia take part in them, hence the name], which were alternately held on the territory of these countries, that is, no more than a thousand of the total number of participants.
These exercises could not be called either large-scale or heterogeneous – this is the development of joint actions of special forces from the Special Operations Forces, reconnaissance units of the airborne troops. They did not use tanks, artillery, or aviation [with the exception of drones] – the special forces do not tolerate fuss and unnecessary noise.
Actually, there was no special attention to this kind of teachings. For the most part, there was only a statement of the very fact of their implementation, with an emphasis on the fact that these maneuvers were of an international nature and symbolized the unity of the armies [special forces] of the Slavic peoples. The contacts of the intelligence units, capable of acting jointly when performing special operations, remained behind the scenes. Where and how – was not mentioned, but they certainly were.
The current exercises “Slavic Brotherhood” began without the participation of Serbia, which came under pressure due to the events in Belarus after the presidential elections. For the same reason, Russia has stepped up its participation in them, putting forward a more powerful “team”. And not so much to compensate for the absence of the Serbs with their side, but to demonstrate their readiness to defend both Belarus and themselves.
The very nature of the conducted exercises consisted to a greater extent in the development of tasks, sounded as “the capture and retention of important objects.” Both words are key. With “capture” everything is clear, and “holding” implies waiting for the main forces to approach. Where from? Presumably from the territory of Russia.
If we trace the geolocation of Russian military leaders in recent days, we can see that the 1st Deputy Minister of Defense – Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, relocated to Rostov-on-Don, where the headquarters of the Southern Military District is located. From there, he leads the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command and staff exercise.
Defense Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu went to Belbek airport near Sevastopol on September 21 to personally lead an operation to drive out [in fact, a raid at sea] NATO ships from the Crimean coast. But the commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov, went to Belarus – also on the forefront of the fight against NATO.
“The participation of three battalion tactical groups of the Airborne Forces in the exercises” Slavic Brotherhood – 2020 “was unexpected for many,” a high-ranking source in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation told VZGLYAD newspaper. 200-300 people from the Pskov airborne unit, which actually happened at the first stage.The paratroopers worked out various training tasks, including the crossing of a water barrier and a number of others.
But later on, new introductory ones followed – with the involvement of other units, already from the Tula and Ivanovskaya Airborne Forces, which landed on the training grounds in the Brest and Grodno regions of Belarus. The number of participants in the exercises from the Russian side exceeded one thousand. It’s not that much for a tactical assault force, but these guys, given their training, can perform very serious tasks. For example, to stop the progress of the probable offensive of NATO forces on Belarus.
The last mass landing of the Russian Airborne Forces was carried out in Crimea in July 2019. Then on two landing sites – “Naimanskaya” and “Okhchi-Oba” – 2.4 thousand winged infantry fighters landed by parachute method, who seized the airfield of the mock enemy, followed by the landing of the main forces. Their air cover was provided by the crews of the Su-27 fighters and the Su-24 front-line bombers.
Something similar, only with a smaller number of troops, has been worked out now in Belarus. That is, the current exercises “Slavic Brotherhood – 2020” showed NATO forces how they would act with them if they risk invading Belarus to establish “true democracy.”
Another feature of the current joint exercises is the use of aviation, including training bombing. Moreover, not only the Belarusian one [the aircraft fleet of the military aviation of the RB army is represented by only three dozen MiG-29 fighters and 22 Su-25 attack aircraft], but primarily the Russian Aerospace Forces. During the exercise, Tu-160 missile carriers conducted two special flights along the northwestern and southwestern borders of Belarus and at once six Tu-22M3 bombers carried out successful bombing at the range near Brest, successfully hitting all targets.
“The appearance of Russian aircraft in the skies of Belarus is not something extraordinary,” says the military aviation expert Alexander Drobyshevsky to the VZGLYAD newspaper. “This possibility is legally enshrined between the CSTO states, and according to the agreement between the allied states, it is also provided for in plans for ensuring the general security of Russia and Belarus. The practice of previous years did not have such cases with the use of military weapons, both bombs and missiles, during numerous joint exercises.”
It just wasn’t necessary. Belarusians are trained in Russian military aviation centers and academies, the air defense of the Belarusian army is being improved at Russian training grounds.
Now the situation is somewhat different: for training purposes, the possibility of military opposition to NATO forces is being demonstrated. It was not me and the Belarusian allies who were the first to demonstrate muscles of steel; here, to some extent, the alliance itself checked the degree of readiness to respond to a possible show of force. We saw everything in full, so they are unlikely to want to experience the “retaliatory move” on themselves.
The exercises “Slavic Brotherhood – 2020”, as Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized during his last meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, were planned in advance. “After completing the program of joint exercises, Russian units will return to their places of permanent deployment,” Putin said.
The Russian and Belarusian military conduct joint exercises at various levels all the time, up to a hundred a year. Now, over the next year, the two countries will hold joint events in the defense sphere almost every month throughout the Union State.
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