Russia is not Willing to Send Troops to Ukraine Although Snap Drills Reveal Russian Military Training Improvement

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The results of snap combat readiness drills conducted last month have confirmed that training in the Russian military has improved, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“The intensity and quality of the forces’ training have improved,” Putin said at a ceremony attended by senior commanders.

3Putin added the improvement was aided by defense purchases last year, which have equipped the Russian army and navy with modern weapons.

The country’s military budget stands at about 2.5 trillion rubles ($70 billion), making it the world’s third largest behind the US and China.

The Ukrainian marine base in Feodosia, Crimea, surrounded by Russian soldiersLast month, Putin ordered snap military drills in Russia’s Western and Central military districts, which border Ukraine. The exercises involved dozens of vessels from the Baltic and Northern Fleets and aircraft of the Russian Air Force.

Moscow said the drills had no relation to the political standoff between Russia and the West over Crimea, an autonomous Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority that joined Russia last week.

FINLAND-RUSSIA-DIPLOMACY-PUTINRussia is expected to conduct large-scale military exercises in the Eastern Military District in September.

The Defense Ministry said earlier that snap checks are to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure constant combat readiness.

6The ministry said in November that government spending on military equipment will increase 25 percent this year, to 1.7 trillion rubles ($52 billion), up from 1.35 trillion rubles last year.

But Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko is confident that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have to use the Federation Council’s permission to send troops to Ukraine for protecting the civilian population.

“I am positive that will not be necessary. The Geneva meeting mapped out ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis (…) I hope that this permission (of the Federation Council to send troops to Ukraine) will not be used,” Matviyenko told a press conference in St. Petersburg on Friday.

2The Ukrainian crisis should be resolved exclusively in the dialogue between the authorities and society and the search for compromises for the sake of peace and stability in the country, she stressed.

Matviyenko reminded (listeners) that the Federation Council gave the Russian president permission to send troops to Ukraine proceeding from the situation Ukraine found itself in at that moment, Interfax reports.

“The events were unpredictable and we believed it was possible to provide the president with every instrument he could use to avert a threat to the security of the civilian population,” Matviyenko said.

1Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he hoped he would not have to use the right to send army units to Ukraine he has been given by the parliament.

“Let me remind you that the Federation Council of Russia has granted the president the right to use the Armed Forces in Ukraine. I very much hope I will not have to use this right and we will manage to resolve all pressing, not to say, critical contemporary problems of Ukraine with political and diplomatic means,” Putin said in a Q&A session.

He thinks Russia should do its utmost to help people in eastern Ukraine stand up for their rights. “We must do everything to help these people defend their rights and make an independent decision about the future. This is what we will be struggling for,” the Russian president said.

Russia Employs Former Ukrainian Military Servicemen and Personnel

1More than 16,000 former servicemen and civilian personnel of the Ukrainian armed forces have been employed in the military service and given civilian jobs in the Russian armed forces, First Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin said at an intercom conference held at the situation center of the Defense Ministry on Tuesday.

1“The Russian citizenship was given to 9,268 former servicemen and personnel of the Ukrainian armed forces who were employed in the military service in the Russian armed forces on a contract basis,” Bakhin said.” All of them have already received Russian passports,” he added, TASS reports.

In accordance with the instructions issued by the Russian defense minister of April 3, 2014, drills have been organized for newly employed officers who are trained on programs of upgraded professional education at educational establishments of the Russian defense ministry. Besides, a total of 7,050 former civilian personnel of the Ukrainian armed forces have been employed at the units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Bakhin said.

4The training of the former Ukrainian officers at the educational establishments of the Russian Defense Ministry will begin on May 13. All former Ukrainian officers employed in the Russian army will undergo a course of upgraded training in their military specialties at practically all the educational establishments of the Russian defense ministry, Bakhin said. The course of training has been scheduled for a whole year, he added.

Drills to upgrade the qualification of the former Ukrainian servicemen have begun at the base the Nakhimov High Naval School in Sevastopol. The main goal of the drills is to ensure adaptation of the former Ukrainian servicemen to the military service in the Russian armed forces and teach them operational, combat, technical and mobilization skills used in the Russian armed forces, Bakhin said.

2Meanwhile Russia’s Defense Ministry has suspended handover of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine from Crimea to prevent the munitions and equipment from being used against civilians in the east and south-east of the country, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

3“I would like to recall that Russia complies with its international liabilities and under the Paris Charter, the Helsinki Act and UN and OSCE resolutions it has pledged to avoid supplying or display restraint regarding arms supplies to hot spots,” he said.

Antonov explained that the term “hot spot” was very appropriate to describe the current situation in Ukraine’s east and southeast.

So far Russia has returned to Ukraine 389 pieces of military equipment, including eight helicopters and three naval vessels, Antonov said.

President Putin Met with Heads of Defense Industry Firms

1Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the directors of the country’s leading defense industry enterprises today to discuss possible options for substituting components currently imported from Ukraine and appropriate adjustments to state defense procurement.

During a meeting with government members in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside of Moscow, on Wednesday, Putin asked Industry Minister Denis Manturov to meet him once again on Thursday along with the directors of major enterprises of the Russian defense industry.

1Additional resources may be required, should a need arise to look for substitutions for components that are imported from Ukraine today, the president said.

“I think that in this case we will have to make certain adjustments to state defense procurement and our plans for defense and industry development. I am asking for the relevant proposals,” the president said.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, for his part, said on his Twitter page on Wednesday that “possible and necessary measures of import substitution for dual- and military-purpose products” would be discussed at the meeting with the president.

Vladimir Putin argued that a potential halt to imports of defense industry products from Ukraine would benefit Russia as it would give a boost to the Russian military industry.

5“At my meeting with the government yesterday, we discussed ways of overcoming the difficulties that may arise in the case of non-delivery of individual types of Ukrainian defense industry complex products from Ukraine,” Putin said at a conference in Moscow.

2“We need to understand how serious this threat is and, if it does emerge, how quickly and at which enterprises we [will be able to] launch the manufacturing of such products, and how much it will cost us,” he said.

“I have no doubt that we will cope, it’s just a matter of how long it will take and how much it will cost,” the president said.

“Let me say immediately that, if this does happen, it will force us to revise our state defense contracts, but I’m sure that they are all tactical matters and that, most likely, it will eventually benefit Russian industry and the Russian economy. We will be investing in the development of our own industry,” he said.

1For example, Russia’s nuclear, missile industries are completely domestic.

Russia is not purchasing foreign electronics equipment for its nuclear missile shield as all the necessary electronics are being developed and manufactured within the country, the chief of Russia’s state-owned electronics holding company told journalists Wednesday.

1“Our first-priority task was to ensure the manufacture of the electronic component base for critical zones within Russia’s defense sector. And the nuclear missile shield is now one of these critical zones,” said Andrei Zverev, the CEO of Roselektronika.

The CEO added that the task had already been completed.

“One-hundred percent of electronic equipment for these purposes [nuclear and missile industries] is being manufactured in Russia,” he stressed.

Zverev specified that the bulk of the world’s electronic component industry is in Southeast Asia, with about 70 percent of global electronics production coming from Taiwan alone.

New Ratnik Military Equipment to Transmit Information to Military Medics

4In Russia, the Warrior (Ratnik) military equipment is in the final stages of state testing. The next-generation equipment is outfitted with a system to register the physiological state of soldiers, with special sensors transmitting information to military medics.

1According to Izvestia, the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy named for Kirov (VMA) over the next two years will undergo an experimental modernization that includes a system to monitor soldiers’ vital functions and “to determine the physiological parameters of the wounded and assessing the severity of their injuries.”

The creators of the Warrior equipment (the Central Research Institute of Precision Engineering, part of the state corporation Rostec) confirmed to Izvestia that a health monitoring system was already being developed. The monitoring system is expected to be included in the next version of the Warrior equipment.

1The upgraded Warrior equipment will include body sensors that every minute will record parameters such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood-oxygen saturation indicators, and microvascular blood filling. The system will store and analyze these figures, and any deviation from the norm will trigger an alarm in the medical service. This technology draws on the already-developed Sagittarius (Strelets) system of intelligence, control, and communication. All information is automatically saved on a flash drive that stores medical history.

3Soldiers in the medical unit will have access to all indicators on the condition of the wounded. Based on the severity of the injuries, the state of a wounded soldier will be assessed on a scale of 0 to 5. The medical company will use the data to prioritize the evacuation of the wounded and to identify the best possible ways to reach them based on their GPS coordinates.

The Ratnik warrior military equipment includes body armor, GLONASS-GPS navigation, the Sagittarius (Strelets) control system, a communicator, and an automatic weapon with night and thermal vision. The helmet is equipped to withstand a shot from a pistol at a distance of 10 m and has a thermal camera and video module for sniping. The Warrior equipment also includes food, water filters, medical supplies, a tent, and a sleeping bag. In total, the equipment weighs up to 20 kg.

2The Ratnik warrior equipment was first introduced in 2011 and is expected to be formally adopted in the summer of 2014. This year’s state defense order includes the supply of tens of thousands of sets of the combat equipment for ground, airborne, and naval troops.

The Warrior equipment is produced at the Central Research Institute of Precision Engineering (TSNII TochMash), which was founded in 1944 and is now part of Rostec. The enterprise focuses on the development and manufacture of small arms and ammunition, military equipment, artillery systems, optoelectronic devices, sporting and hunting ammunition, sealed containers for transportation and storage, and firearm simulators.

Rogozin Called Defense Sector to Rely On Itself

3Russia should review the work of its military-industrial complex to scale back dependence on foreign technologies, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Friday during a meeting on defense in the Siberian city Novosibirsk.

2“Currently we are seeking practical measures but I think it would be better to first count on our own technologies and produce what is really necessary and beneficial for our defense industry,” said Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry.

He pointed out that in the wake of recent events Russia should rely only on its own resources and gradually revise previous policies of sourcing foreign systems, RIA Novosti reports.

“The situation is getting more and more complicated over the tensions in Ukraine and Crimea. Countries that have long enjoyed cooperation with Russia are now threatening us with sanctions,” Dmitry Rogozin added.

4Russia has systems that are capable of countering Western missile defense systems, Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Our new missile systems have higher speeds enabling them to pass through dangerous sites faster. Secondly, these systems have the most advanced means of countering missile defense,” he added.

“I can guarantee you that we have no more rusty missiles. If they still exist somewhere, it’s mostly likely in America,” the deputy prime minister said.

5US counter-missiles, nominally aimed against medium-range missiles, can also destroy heavy missiles both at takeoff and on approach to target, he said.

1“Essentially, the US is deploying a global system,” Rogozin said. Overall, the US missile shield is a fast, high-precision weapon which can be used not only against missiles, but also other targets, including the enemy’s military and political administration assets, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister at the meeting on Friday also said that the extra land of defense plants can become a platform for the construction of houses for their employees.

“We have very many plants with large areas of land in the city. As far as is necessary to have such a large territory in an environment where new equipment is supplied – it is compact , and technology allow you to borrow a smaller area . Let’s find you a mechanism to release these areas for housing development in the interests of the employees,” said Rogozin. According to him, one of the mechanisms to attract qualified personnel in the defense industry is providing them accommodation. On also noted that housing cooperatives are created in the Siberian Federal District – in Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk and Tomsk regions. Cost per square meter there will be 30 thousand rubles.

Russia Plans to Build up its Own Arctic Force

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Russia is planning to build up its special troops in the Arctic to be better prepared for possible security threats from the north.

For more than half a century, the Arctic ice cap has been regarded by the military as a potential theater of war. Nuclear-capable missile-carrying submarines have been secretly patrolling the Arctic seas during and after the “Cold War”. That’s where a key threat comes from, Mikhail Khodaryonok, editor-in-chief of the Military-Industrial Messenger newspaper, told the Voice of Russia.

1“As Arctic ice packs melt due to the continuing global warming, more ice-free areas emerge, which might serve as convenient launch spots for ballistic missile attacks. It’s one of the main threats to Russia. A surprise disarming strike involving ballistic nuclear missiles and cruise missiles might potentially come from the Arctic,” he said.

The Defense Ministry is planning to build new warships, including ice-breaking ones, and create a specialized coastal taskforce. The Soviet-era Arctic infrastructure will be restored.

2“The Arctic airfields are the first to be restored. These are the Rogachyovo, Alykel, Tiksi, Khatanga, Nadym and many others. Airfields are crucial to ensuring the fast deployment of forces. They can also be used as bases for anti-submarine aviation and flying radars and as command headquarters,” Khodaryonok said.

The Arctic holds an estimated one-quarter of the global energy resources. Some experts predict armed conflicts in the Arctic in the coming decades. Others are skeptical.

“Such statements will always be made. One should take them calmly. There isn’t going to be any war or any armed clashes in the Arctic in the near future. Rather, it’s an information war, which has been gaining momentum lately, a kind of ‘Cold War’,” said Sergei Melkov, Co-chairman of the Association of Military Analysts.

As Russia moves to beef up its Arctic Force, it risks facing new accusations from the West that it militarizes the Arctic. But, as Mikhail Khodaryonok pointed out, that’s what all the Arctic nations have been doing to some extent.

6The Arctic has always played a significant role from the perspective of Russian Navy. Although Russia is the only country in the world with a nuclear icebreaker fleet (Rosatomflot), limited maintenance and construction capacity has caused general deterioration since the 1990s. At present, Rosatomflot possesses 18 icebreakers, of which six are active nuclear-powered ones. However, they are aging quickly and will be decommissioned by 2020. Viacheslav Ruksha, head of Atomflot (which operates the fleet), warned that Russia will face a “collapse” of these capacities in 2016-2017 (Kovalenko 2012). Moscow already emphasized the priority of the acquisition of new nuclear-powered icebreakers in Osnovy 2008. In July 2012 Rosatom (state-run corporation) signed a deal to begin construction of a multi-purpose new-generation nuclear icebreaker budgeted at 1.1 billion US dollars. The new icebreaker will be launched in 2017. In addition, in the next few years, Kremlin plans to build another three third-generation icebreakers to maintain the country’s potential in the Arctic (Kovalenko 2012).

5On the strategic level, the Arctic is particularly important for the maintenance of Russia’s maritime nuclear deterrent forces. The defence significance is underlined by the fact that only through the Arctic, Russia has full open access to the world’s oceans and the possibility of broad operational manoeuvre for the Navy’s submarine forces (unlike the ports on the Black Sea or the Baltic). Russia’s most powerful Northern Fleet with nuclear triad, is based close to Murmansk in the north of the Kola Peninsula at Severomorsk.

Crimean Military Units to Join Russia

5The self-defense forces of Crimea that played a key role in securing the peninsula ahead of its reunification with Russia will be regularized and enter into the ranks of the Russian military, a member of Russia’s parliament said Friday.

2“After Crimea and Sevastopol join Russia the self-defense forces of Crimea should be reformed and become part of [Russia’s] Southern Military District,” said Vladimir Komoyedov, the chairman of the defense committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament.

Komoyedov, the former commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, stressed the changeover should be expedited given the mobilization of reserve troops in Ukraine and the need to guarantee Crimea’s security.

On Thursday it was reported over 70 Ukrainian military outfits stationed in Crimea, including 25 navy ships, had changed allegiances and raised the Russian flag.

Over 22,000 Ukrainian troops were stationed on the Black Sea peninsula prior to Crimea declaring independence following the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych amid often violent protests last month.

1Meantime a total of 72 military units in Crimea have hoisted Russian flags instead of Ukrainian and applied to join the Russian armed forces, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

“Yesterday, 72 military units almost in full strength decided to join the Russian armed forces. We are now dealing with service and citizenship issues of officers and soldiers from these units,” he said.

Shoigu said that every serviceman can choose from three options: continue his service in the Russian armed forces, end his service and stay in Crimea or leave the region.

Those willing to continue their service in the Ukrainian army will be provided with transport to carry their families and belongings to the Ukrainian territory.

1Leaders in the predominantly Russian-ethnic republic refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev that came to power amid often violent protests last month, instead seeking reunification with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to ratify the treaty providing for the reunification of the Crimean Peninsula with Russia.

3Moreover the St.Andrew’s flag of the Russian Navy was raised on Ukraine’s only submarine, the Zaporizhzhia, on March 22.

The Zaporizhzhia, commissioned in 1970, will join the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which previously had three submarines.

Captain 1st Rank Anatoly Varochkin, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet’s submarine flotilla, told RIA Novosti that half of the Zaporizhzhia’s crew, including the captain, refused to serve in the Russian Navy and left the vessel.

“Half of the submarine’s crew is ready to serve [Russia] and fulfill their tasks. They know their vessel and will continue service,” Varochkin said adding that the submarine was in a poor technical condition.

The submarine will be relocated to Yuzhnaya Bay where the Russian Black Sea is based.

4Leaders in the predominantly Russian-ethnic republic refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev that came to power amid often violent protests last month, instead seeking reunification with Russia.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Crimea to inspect troops and military facilities, the first senior Russian official to travel to the Black Sea peninsula since Moscow absorbed the region into its territory, Russian news agencies said.

Shoigu, one of the closest allies of President Vladimir Putin in the cabinet, inspected the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in the port of Sevastopol and also met Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, the reports said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a working meeting with the former members of Ukrainian Armed Forces – base and institution commanders who expressed a wish to continue military service in the Russian Army. Everyone who has expressed such a wish will enjoy all the social rights granted by Russian legislation and will have an opportunity to do military service in any military district and naval fleet of the Russian Armed Forces, Shoigu said.

Russia to Start Mass Purchases of Ratnik Gear

3The Russian Army will soon start the mass purchases of the next generation soldier gear “Ratnik”. The gear comprises more than 40 components, including firearms, body armour, and optical, communication and navigation devices, as well as life support and power supply systems, and even knee and elbow pads. The gear will make Russian troops the fully-fledged soldiers of the future, capable of carrying out the personally given orders. It also boosts the effectiveness of the units operating in local conflict areas, for example, against terrorists.

1Although the “Ratnik” gear is made up of dozens of components and weighs a total of 20 kilos, one can take it off in a matter of seconds. Editor-in-Chief of the National Defence magazine, Igor Korotchenko, claims that the gear has been perfectly adapted to meet the Russian Army requirements.

“The Russian Army most battle-worthy units, those of contract soldiers, professionals, will be the first to use the gear. “Ratnik” relies heavily on the use of GLONASS satellite navigation system, on Russian-made transceivers, radio sets. All the gear parts, including firearms, night vision devices etc. are Russian-made”.

Испытания боевой экипировки военнослужащих Сухопутных войск ВС РФ50 Russian production facilities are engaged in producing the “Ratnik” gear, whose framework is a “breathing” synthetic overall that one can wear for two days without taking it off. The fabric of polymeric compounds protects the soldier against open fire and minor splinters, and makes them invisible to infrared cameras. The body armour has been patterned on the Soviet Army prototype, tested in Afghanistan in the 1980s. We have more on that from an officer who witnessed those events of more than 35 years ago.

5“Soviet bulletproof vests consisted of two fabric protective panels (30 layers of aramid fabrics) and 25 protective plates (13 front plates and 12 rear plates). Plates were made of titanium and had a thickness of 6.5 mm. Whenever approaching Kandahar or another dangerous place, truck drivers would normally roll down the windows and hang up the vest, so one half of it would be inside the truck cab, while the other one, outside. The vest was a reliable protection if the truck was fired at from afar, but sub-machinegun bullets easily pierced the vest if the vehicle was fired on from close quarters”.

4The new armour body is made of ceramic plates and Kevlar, rather than titan, so it can effectively resist even a sniper rifle bullet. The “Ratnik” modification for seamen also has the function of a life-jacket.

The expert council of the Military Industrial Commission will have the final say. The council is due to meet in May.

Russia to Focus on Robotic Weaponry

2The Russian army should focus on the acquisition of robotic weaponry and reduce its overall number of different types of military equipment in use.

4In December, addressing lawmakers from Russia’s lower house of parliament, Dmitry Rogozin listed robotic weaponry and automated combat management systems with highly secure and fast communication links as key items to be included in the new state arms procurement program for 2016 to 2025.

Rogozin said robotic technologies should be present in the development of all types of military hardware for use on the ground, in the air and under water.

5Rogozin, who oversees the defense and space industries, stressed the need to reduce the variety of similar types of weaponry manufactured in small batches because of the heavy burden on defense companies and significant production costs.

The development of modular universal combat platforms that could be used as a basis for a variety of military hardware should also be a priority, he said.

Russia is currently implementing an ambitious rearmament program through 2020, with a budget of some 20 trillion rubles ($640 billion).

The program will see the share of modern weaponry in Russia’s armed forces reach 30 percent by 2015 and 70 percent by 2020.

Moreover Russia is planning to deploy mobile security robots in 2014 to protect its strategic missile facilities, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

“In March, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces [RVSN] began testing mobile robotic systems being developed to protect key RVSN installations,” spokesman Maj. Dmitry Andreyev said.

3Andreyev said the security bots will be deployed at five ballistic missile launch sites around Russia as part of an upgrade to the existing automated security systems.

The official said the robots will carry out reconnaissance and patrol missions, detect and destroy stationary or moving targets and provide fire support for security personnel at the guarded facilities.

Mobile robotic platforms play an increasingly important role in military and security applications, helping personnel to meet challenges posed by the growing threat of terrorist attacks or “guerilla warfare.”

1Moreover the Russian Defense Ministry will start mass purchases of domestically designed “future soldier” gear in 2014.

The equipment can be used by regular infantry, rocket launcher operators, machine gunners, drivers and scouts.

“We have practically finished work on the Ratnik gear and will start purchases of series-produced equipment for our army next year,” Shoigu told reporters on Saturday.

The Ratnik gear has been successfully tested by the Russian military but is adoption into service has been delayed due to uncertainty with the choice of small arms component, which is likely to include the new Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle.

Russia Intensifies Field Exercise

3In accordance with the combat training plan, military units and detachments of the Russian army are building up the intensity of field exercise at ranges in Rostov, Belgorod, Kursk and Tambov Regions. The Defense Ministry’s press service said this on Thursday. The main goal of the exercise is to comprehensively check the units’ cohesiveness with further fulfillment of combat training mission on unfamiliar territory and untested ranges.

2The field ingresses are carried out in two stages. During the first stage, “commanders and contingent of infantry, artillery and tank detachments gained experience during route marches from permanent dispositions in a combined method: afoot, by train and by air transport to final march objectives with further deployment afield. They followed up issues of cooperation with representatives of Russian Railways (RZD) and of uploading equipment on flat wagons”.

4This stage of exercise also features a “set of practical trainings, when servicemen within their units have worked the standards of driving military and special equipment on unfamiliar territory, route reconnaissance, engineer reconnaissance, fortification of positions and special tactical training. In the planned activities, special focus is placed on stealth of movement and camouflage security in staging areas.”

At present, the units’ commanders “are training the methods of staging different types of combat, detachment control and control of fire when fulfilling the combat training missions, learning to act unconventionally, fooling the enemy and achieving unexpectedness. During the training, a complex, combat type tactical environment with imitation of actions of the imaginary enemy is created.”

1On the last stage of the combat training, the servicemen “at the ranges will master a set of practical exercises aimed at combat cohesiveness of units, with firearms training and battle firing, and the commanders will also check their ability to control artillery fire”.

5The field training will continue until late March.

“The units and divisions within the armed forces intensify field exercises in polygons from the regions of Rostov, Belgorod, Tambov and Kursk”, the ministry announced in a statement, adding that these maneuvers will continue until the end of March.

 Ministry did not specify, however, how many troops are deployed in the training. “The main purpose is to check the ability of troops to conduct combat exercises in unknown places and untested polygons,” according to the statement.

 2During maneuvers, the troops are to travel and ensure that they are able to move on unknown land without being sighted. They will conduct exercises of combat shooting.

 A series of videos and photos posted on the Internet shows movements of armored vehicles without being possible to determine exactly the place.

 1The ministry told the official Itar-Tass news agency that exercises of other units of the Parachute units, involving about 4,000 troops, 36 aircraft and about 500 military vehicles take place in Rostov region.

 On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov announced that Moscow has authorized Ukraine to conduct an observation flight in Russian airspace, to ensure that there is no security threat to the Ukrainian state, but without specifying when it will be carried.

 Russia has already made military maneuvers in the central and western districts between February 26 and March 6.