Russian paratroopers hold nighttime firing drills in Egyptian desert

© Yuri Smityuk/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Russian airborne forces and Egyptian troops have held joint daytime and night firing drills at the Defenders of Friendship 2016 maneuvers, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

“Today Russian airborne forces have for the first time left Egypt’s El-Umayed military base for the joint daytime and night firing drills using combat arms at the Alam el-Hadem practice range. The paratroopers from both countries held shooting practice, firing from automatic rifles and hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers, demonstrating their skills. During the gunnery exercises, the servicemen of both countries accomplished more than 600 firing assignments and then hit over 800 targets at various distances,” the Defense Ministry said.

The Russian-Egyptian Defenders of Friendship anti-terror drills involve over 500 servicemen. During the wargames, the servicemen from both countries will be assigned the missions to liquidate illegal armed formations in the desert. The drills being held on the territory of Egypt will last through October 26. Representatives of more than 30 countries are observing the drills.

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Russia in Syria ‘Indefinitely’: What It is All About

 

 Everyday life of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airfield in Syria

   This week Russian President Putin ratified an agreement with the Syrian government that allows Russia to use the Hmeymim air base in Syria indefinitely. Sputnik delves into the details of the Russian facility in Syria’s Latakia province.

   The agreement, which was signed between Moscow and Damascus on August 26, 2015, had been previously approved by both chambers of Russia’s parliament.

   The document regulates the terms of deployment of Russia’s air group in Syria

Among other points, it notes that the Russian air group is stationed at the Hmeymim airfield in the Latakia province free of charge at the request of Syria.

   Under the agreement, Russian military personnel and their family members are granted immunity identical to that provided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

   The document stipulates that the deployment of Russia’s air group on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic “answers the purpose of maintaining peace and stability in the region, is of defensive character and is not levelled against other states.”

   The structure of the air group is defined by Russia upon agreement with Syria. The group acts in accordance with the plans put forward and agreed upon by both sides. Russia has the right to bring onto Syrian territory armament, ammunition, equipment and materials necessary for completion of the tasks of the air group and for provision of security and life-sustaining activities of the military personnel.

   They are not subjected to any duties, fees or levies.

   The military personnel of Russia’s air group has the right to cross the Syrian border without encumbrance with the documents valid for travel outside Russia and is not subjected to security checks by Syrian border guards or customs officers.

   The air group officers are relieved of any direct or indirect taxes.

   September 30, 2016 marked one year since Russia launched its aerial campaign in Syria under the official request of the Syrian government.

   According to Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Motherland journal, since then the Russian air group has conducted about 16,000 sorties and over 54,000 air strikes on the positions of the rebel groups operating on the Syrian territory: their command centers, workshops which manufactured self-made explosives and ammunition, military hardware.

   Russian Aerospace Forces have eliminated about 5,000 terrorists, 2,700 of whom were either of Russian or CIS origin, the expert told RT news channel.

   The Russian air group has destroyed 125 tanks and several thousand trucks mounted with weapons, 200 objects of illegal oil infrastructure and has delivered over 1.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

   “Back in summer of 2015, some western experts predicted that President Assad’s government could hold-out for no longer than 5-6 months. However the involvement of Russia’s Airspace Forces and their high-intensive airstrikes have profoundly changed the situation in Syria. And speculation on the soon collapse of Damascus has become quiet,” Murakhovsky said. Ministry of defence of the Russian FederationTupolev Tu-22 M3 strategic bombers hit terrorists in Syria

   “The presence of the Russian air group on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic answers in full the purposes of maintaining peace in the region,” member of Russia’s Federation Council’s (upper chamber of the Russian parliament) Committee on Defense and Security Olga Kovitidi told RT.

   “The ratification of the agreement on the indefinite presence of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim base will become a basis for its systematic and planned operations within the military campaign for the benefit of friendly Syria,” she said.

   Kovitidi also noted that the signed agreement establishes international legal norms which regulate the number of personnel and the terms of deployment and operation of the Russian air group.

   Such agreements are the only legal instrument in the international practice for the use of foreign military bases. The implementation of this agreement will be Russia’s practical contribution into the efforts of the international community to stabilize the situation in Syria and to fight against international terrorism, she stated.

   Meanwhile Viktor Murakhovsky revealed that at the moment there are 16 Russian combat aircraft deployed at the Hmeymim air base: 12 Su-24M supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft and 4 Su-34 advanced fighter-bombers.

   “On average, they perform 40-50 sorties per day, which is relatively inexpensive for the Russian budget,” he told RT.

“In comparison, Russia’s Airspace Forces have over 1,500 combat aircraft which spend about 2 million tonnes of fuel per year, not including the operation in Syrian. Thus the daily operations of 15-20 aircraft in Syria are insignificant,” the expert said.

   He also noted that President Putin has made it clear that there were no additional means allocated from the country’s budget for this aerial campaign and that it keeps within the expenditures allocated by Russia’s Defense Ministry to the operative and combat training.

The expert also noted that there are over 4,000 Russian servicemen currently on station at the Hmeymim base. In addition to the aircraft already mentioned, there are also Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic strike bombers operating in Syria.

Syrian General: Victories against Terrorists Speed Up with Establishment of Russia’s Military Base in Tartus

 

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He further underlined that establishment of the Russian military base was a necessity for confronting the terrorists who are being backed by foreign parties.

On Monday, Russia’s deputy defense minister said the Russian military plans to expand its supply base in Syrian port of Tartus into a fully-fledged permanent naval base.

“We are going to have a permanent Navy base in Tartus. We have prepared the paperwork, which is now being reviewed by other government agencies. The documents are pretty much ready, so we hope to submit them to you for ratification soon,” General Nikolay Pankov, deputy defense minister responsible for communication with other parts of the Russian government, told the Russia’s Federation Council.

The Russian facility in Tartus has long been used to resupply Russian warships during Mediterranean Sea missions. The facility has been in place since 1977, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was used to resupply and repair Russian warships deployed to missions in the Mediterranean Sea, but did not serve as a permanent base for any of them.

Last week Russia confirmed delivery of an advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Tartus to protect the port facility and mooring warships from potential airstrikes and missile attacks.

The delivery came amid media reports that the Pentagon planned a massive cruise missile attack on Syrian airfields, which would dismantle Damascus’ aerial capabilities.

The US accuses Syria and Russia of perpetrating war crimes in Syria over the offensive operation against militant forces in Eastern Aleppo.

Russia says the operation followed US failure to deliver on its promise to separate the so-called militants form terrorist groups in Aleppo and that Washington is playing the blame game to draw attention away from its failures.

What Army-2016 has in store for its visitors

Russian Military Technologies's photo.

 

September 8 – The international military-technical forum Army-2016 opened on Tuesday in Russia. Over 1,000 companies will display more than 11,000 samples of weapons and military equipment at the forum this year.
The Russian Helicopters company plans to showcase its newest Mil Mi-38 multirole helicopter, an Arctic version of the Mi-8AMTSH helicopter and a convertible aircraftRussia’s major missile system manufacturer Almaz-Antey is going to demonstrate elements of the Antey-2500 air defense missile weapon system, as well as Kalibr cruise missiles. The latter were successfully used to hit IS terrorists’ targets in Syria.Kalashnikov is expected to display its remote-controlled weapons platforms, drones and amphibious assault boats.The United Instrument-Making Corporation, part of Russia’s hi-tech conglomerate Rostec, will roll out its latest innovation – a system that can control a dozen robots simultaneously.The Uralvagonzavod armor manufacturer is expected to demonstrate over 50 hardware units, including the T-90MS, T-72B3 tanks, as well as the BMPT-72 tank support vehicle (Terminator 2).The military-industrial company VPK LLC will display the Tigr (Tiger) armored vehicle with a combat module and a 30-mm automatic gun, a production model of the Medved (Bear) special police armored vehicle, and the upgraded BTR-82A with heat vision sight.The visitors of the forum for the first time will be able to see a based RS-12M Topol missile system (NATO reporting name: SS-25 Sickle).Another strategic missile to be on display is the RS-18 (NATO reporting name: SS-19 Stiletto). The missiles are currently being decommissioned and replaced in the Russian Armed Forces by the new RS-24 Yars missiles.Of particular interest is the Iskander-M tactical missile system. No other country in the world has such systems in service. Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile systems are capable of hitting both small-size and large-area targets at a distance of up to 500 km to destroy missile and multiple launch rocket systems, long-range artillery guns, aircraft and helicopters at aerodromes, command posts and communications centers. The missile complex includes a launcher, a loader-transporter, a routine maintenance vehicle, a command post vehicle, an information post, an ammunition equipment set and training aids. As was reported earlier, the Iskander-M tactical missile system is equipped with five types of aeroballistic missiles and one cruise missile.The forum will also feature the famous Russian Armata-based armored hardware – the T-14 main battle tank, the Kurganets-25 heavy assault armored vehicle, as well as the Bumerang wheeled armored personnel carrier. The military vehicles have already twice been shown at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, but they are still being tested before launching their batch production.The guests of the forum will also enjoy performance flights of Russia’s aerobatic teams

Over 80 Foreign Delegations to Take Part in Russia’s Army-2016 Forum

 

 Combat hardware exhibition at the opening of the Army-2015 International Military-Technical Forum at the new congress and exhibition center in Patriot Park in Kubinka in the Moscow suburbs. File photo

   More than 80 foreign delegations will take part in the Army-2016 international military forum to be held near Moscow next week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday.

   MOSCOW The Russian Defense Ministry’s Army-2016 forum is set to take place on September 6-11 in Kubinka, a western suburb of Moscow. The forum is expected to be the country’s largest event designed to showcase modern weapons and military equipment.

   “It will bring together over 1,000 Russian enterprises and organizations, more than 80 foreign delegations. National expositions by our colleagues from the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization]- Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia — will be presented at the exhibition,” the minister said during a conference call at the Russian Defense Ministry.    

   Shoigu added that the preparations for this event had been completed “on the whole.”

The Army-2015 forum attracted over 800 exhibitors and over 200,000 visitors from 73 countries, as well official delegations from 38 countries.

Symmetrical Response: Russia Will Get Division of Troops 85 KM Off US Border

Far Eastern Command College in Amur region
Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that the Russian military plans to establish a coastal defense division in Chukotka, eastern Russia by 2018. Respected independent defense analyst Sergei Ishchenko comments on the news, and on how it may ultimately affect the security situation in the region.
      Speaking at a Defense Ministry meeting on Tuesday, Shoigu confirmed that “there are plans to form a coastal defense division in 2018 on the Chukotka operational direction.” The minister added that this decision was actually made in July 2015, and is part of a plan to establish a unified system of coastal defense stretching from the Arctic in the north to the Primorye Territory in the south.
The system, according to Shoigu, is intended “to ensure control of the closed sea zones of the Kuril Islands and the Bering Strait, cover the routes of Pacific Fleet forces’ deployment in the Far Eastern and Northern sea zones, and increase the combat viability of naval strategic nuclear forces” operating in the area. In other words, the new division will help ensure the defense of Russia’s sparsely populated eastern coast.
Commenting on the defense minister’s announcement in an analysis for the independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa, defense analyst Sergei Ishchenko pointed out that so far, no other details have been provided on this future military force. “However, it’s obvious that this is not just ordinary news, not least because what we’re talking about is the creation of a serious military force just a stone’s throw away from the United States: only the Bering Strait will separate the Russian coastal defense division from Alaska. At its narrowest point, that’s only 86 km away. Therefore, it’s worth taking a closer look at this announcement.”
     What’s more, the military analyst pointed out that the news is important because today, the Russian military “does not actually have a single coastal defense division. Therefore, there is no model on how it may look, and how it will be staffed. The only similar force is based in Crimea – consisting of the 126th Separate Coastal Defense Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet (formerly the 36th Separate Brigade of the Ukrainian Navy, which changed sides almost in its entirety to Russia in 2014). But a brigade-sized force is far from being a division. Its combat capabilities are much more modest.”
    “Secondly,” Ishchenko noted, “we have had a short-lived but not particularly successful experience in creating coastal defense divisions as part of the Soviet Navy.” The analyst recalled that in the late 1980s, in accordance with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, the Soviet military transferred four infantry divisions to the Navy, placing them in the charge of the Baltic, Pacific, Northern and Black Sea Fleets.
    “Of course, the personnel, armaments and equipment used by these suddenly ‘navalized’ forces did not change, and remained typical Soviet ground forces’ fare. It’s just that their range of tasks now also included the defense of sea and ocean coasts, fighting enemy landing parties, and being prepared for their own deployment on enemy shores in the second tier after the naval infantry.”
      In reality, these coastal defense divisions did not have the time to prepare to carry out these tasks,” the analyst noted. “The two that stood at Klaipeda [Lithuania] and Simferopol [Crimea] did not survive the collapse of the USSR.” As for the divisions inside Russia proper, the last of them, the 40th Division of the Pacific Fleet, was disbanded in 1994.
      Apart from that, the Chukotka region has already stationed another Soviet military force – the 99th Motorized Rifle Division, which while not operating formally as a coastal defense division, defended Anadyr and its environs beginning in 1983.
      Back then, Ishchenko recalled, the Soviet Union and the United States were locked in the Cold War struggle. In a situation where US intermediate range missiles based in Western Europe were capable of reaching the Soviet capital in just over five minutes, the Soviet defense ministry responded with plans to deploy its own intermediate range missiles, the SS-20 Pioneer, against Alaska and the northern states of the US West Coast, in Chukotka.
      “The kill zones of our missiles included the US early warning station at Clear, Alaska, the Cobra Dane radar on Shemya Island in the Aleutians, the Parks early warning radar in North Dakota, and the US nuclear missile sub base at Bangor, near Seattle. That was enough to force Washington to put on its thinking cap.
      ” The 99th Motorized Rifle Division was deployed to the Far East to keep an eye on the Pioneer missiles, and to defend the strategically important Anadyr Airport, which then held the strategic bombers patrolling the northern Pacific near US borders.
    “What were the conditions like for our motorized infantrymen in these parts? During the winter, which in Chukotka lasts nearly 9 months, the division’s tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles were buried so deep under the snow that it was necessary to search for them using improvised wire feelers. Those Moscow journalists who visited the area in the 90s named the 99th Motorized Rifle the ‘Frozen division’. But at the same time, neither would it be easy for anyone who dared to encroach on Soviet Chukotka. Across the Bering Strait, the US Army fielded the 6th Light Infantry Division.”
     In the early 1990s, the expert wrote, “the winds of Gorbachev’s perestroika blew everything away – including the Pioneer missiles, the Anadyr airport, its top-secret Object C nuclear storage facility, and the 99th Motorized Rifle Division itself, which was disbanded in 1996.” For many years, “the polar winds whistled through Anadyr’s abandoned barracks, among the military equipment, and the clubs, cafeterias and homes of the officers…”
        “The restoration of the area’s garrisons began with the airfield. The military returned there in 2014. Anadyr has once again become an airbase for the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 strategic bombers, which regularly visit from the Engels air force base along the Volga. Returning the Pioneers is impossible – they were all destroyed. But a division of troops, it’s now clear, will come here once again – this time not the 99th Motorized Rifle, but a coastal defense division belonging to the Pacific Fleet.”
        Some may ask why the Russian military would seek to place a division’s worth of troops in such an inhospitable area. The answer, Ishchenko suggested, isn’t hard to find. “To find the answer to that question, it’s enough to look across the border. In Alaska, we see a scattering of important objects belonging to the US Army. First of all, this is the Elmendorf Air Force Base at Anchorage, which stations not only aircraft, but the command of the 11th Air Army and the Alaskan zone of NORAD. Next door is Fort Richardson, which houses the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division.”
     “And most important, of course, is the air base. It’s from its well-heated hangers that the newest fifth generation US fighter, the F-22 Raptor, rises into the air to intercept the Russian strategic bombers which have resumed regular patrols along the edges of US Arctic borders.”
      Effectively, the analyst suggested, “if we suppose that alongside the coastal defense division, Russia deploys the Iskander mobile short range ballistic missile system, the US F-22s may no longer have time to intercept the Russian bombers, while US missile warning stations could unexpectedly go dark.” In any case, he noted, “the staff at the Elmendorf base, and the troops at Fort Richardson will go to bed at night with an uneasy feeling, as they did during Cold War days.
       ” Perhaps then, US military officials may get at least a taste of the concern Russian military planners feel when they see large-scale NATO exercises along Russia’s western frontiers, and parades involving US troops just a few hundred meters from Russia’s borders.

Speech of the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoy before media representatives

 

 

The Russian Federation, in accordance with the commitments it has undertaken, continues the work aimed at maintenance of ceasefire in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Just since the beginning of this August, 44 towns have signed ceasefire agreements. Today there are 371 such inhabities localities.

Moreover, there are 69 ceasefire application forms, which have been signed with leaders of armed groupings of the “moderate opposition” and sent to the Russian Centre for reconciliation of the opposing sides.

Despite the efforts taken to maintain the ceasefire, the situation in Aleppo remains complicated.

Jabhat al-Nusra militants, which now call themselves Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, as well as their allied groupings of the so-called moderate opposition keep attaking governement troops both to the north and to the south of Aleppo in order to deliver to the city weapons and munitions including the explosives which are used for terrorist attacks against civilians and the governement troops.

The most difficult situation is observed on the south-west outskirts of Aleppo where terrorists have created in the course of the last week a grouping (7 thousand militants strong) with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery and automobile vehicles with mounted weaponry on them.

The grouping is being reinforced with the reserves of the terrorists. The militants draw up additional forces from the controlled territories in the Idlib, Homs and Hama provinces.

On the night of August 6-7, after tough combat actions, terrorists managed to drive a wedge into the defences of the Syrian army in the south-west of Aleppo and to take under control the territory of military schools situated there. By the start of the offensive, massive terrorist attacks had been carried out by suicide bombers who used IFVs and armoured vehicles fitted with explosives.

Those actions of militants did not have a significant effect to the situation. The district, which is under their control, is under constant fire of the governement troops and militia detachments. That completely excludes the possibility of delivering armements and munitions to the terrorists located in the eastern part of Aleppo.

At the present time, the governement troops are taking the necessary measures aimed at taking under full control the south-west approaches to Aleppo.

The main goal of efforts of the governement troops supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces is to deprive terrorists from drawing up reserves to the south-west outskirts of Aleppo.

Strikes are carried out against concentrations of militants, armoured hardware, artillery positions and columns with weapons and munitions.

Terrorists suffer heavy losses.

In the course of the last four days, over 1000 militants have been killed and about 2000 – injured in the south-west of Aleppo. 7 tanks, 8 IFVs, 29 artillery weapons and mortars, 85 automobile vehicles with large-caliber weaponry were destroyed.

Since the morning of August 9, the government troops have passed to active offinsive actions after regrouping, pushing militants from the city. Now they are exploiting success.

It is to be stressed that terorists have been shelling for a long time residential quarters from fire positions located outside the city. That is why the situation becomes safe while the militants are being pushed away from Aleppo.

The humanitarian operation carried out jointly with the Syrian authorities for the civilian population of the city of Aleppo is continued.

By this day, the Russian Centre for reconciliation of the opposing sides has delivered over 50 tons of food products, essencials and medicaments as well as 93 tons of bottled water.

All the seven humanitarian corridors arranged to allow the civilians and the militants, who have decided to lay down arms, to quit the city are working 24 hours a day. There are ambulances, camps with hot food and drinking water near the corridors.

The additional humanitarian corridor near the route Kastello for militants with weapons, who decided to quit the city, continues functioning.

It is to be stressed that several armed detachements, which had realized the hopelessness of further combat actions, have already left the eastern part of the city with their armament through that corridor.

The administration of the city takes any possible measures to improve the humanitarian situation.

On August 8, road to the northern suburbs of the Aleppo city through the Kastello trade centre has been constructed.

Safety of the traffic and 24 hours nonstop delivery of food products, water, petrol, medicaments, and other goods of first necessity to the western and eastern parts of the city has been provided.

Currently, there have been received application forms from 47 different organizations at the special section of the Russian Defence Ministry official website and through the hotline of the National Centre for State Defence Control for providing humanitarian aid to the population of Aleppo.

The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Serbia voiced support for the initiative of Russia to organize humanitarian operation in Aleppo.

Near Handrat, an assembling point for the humanitarian aid columns has been arranged.

This has been done to provide an opportunity for all interested organizations to send humanitarian aid to the population of Aleppo.

Starting from tomorrow, at 10.00 – 13.00 (local time), humanitarian “gaps” will be provided for guaranteeing complete safety for humanitarian columns moving to Aleppo. All combat actions, aviation and artillery strikes will be stopped.

Taking into account all conditions, the Russian party in cooperation with the Syrian government will provide safe delivery of humanitarian aid to citizens of Aleppo by the interested organizations.

The Russian defence department is ready for a constructive dialogue with all parties interested in settling the Syrian conflict.

The Russian party supports suggestions of the UN for establishing joint control over delivery of the humanitarian aid along the Kastello road.

The Russian military experts continue developing the issue with the UN and American colleagues.