The Center-2019 international command exercise was officially opened on September 14th.
The exercise will run from September 16th to 21st, under the leadership of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation – First Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Colonel General Alexander Fomin.
Approximately 128,000 soldiers, more than 20,000 units of military equipment and over 600 aircrafts will take part in the drill.
Some parts of the drills will be held outside Russia in in the member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) such as Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
In Russia, exercises will be held in training grounds in Adanak, Totsky, Donguz, Chebarkul, Aleyskiy, Yurga, Ashuluk, Safakulevo, in the territory of the Russian Federation and in the Caspian sea.
These maneuvers are the final stage of the complex of measures of operational and combat training of the Russian Armed Forces. They are carried out in accordance with the existing training system, which provides for the cyclical conduct of exercises with the troops of each military district – once every four years.
The main objectives of the exercise are to demonstrate the readiness of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the states of the Central Asia region to protect national interests, as well as to increase compatibility and level of interaction in solving joint tasks to preserve peace, protect interests and ensure security in the region.
Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin stressed that the exercise “Center-2019” is purely defensive in nature.
Its main purpose is to train troops to conduct military operations in modern conditions and improve the interoperability of the military command and control units of the armed forces of Russia and the allied States.
In attendance there will be more than a hundred representatives of the military and diplomatic corps from 71 countries, including 20 NATO member States.
China is also taking part. Lt. Gen. Liu Xiaowu, the Chinese commanding officer of the joint directing department and the Deputy Commander of Chinese PLA’s Western Theater Command, said that the drill is a concrete practice to implement the promotion of China-Russia relations by two heads of state into a “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era”.
The exercise consists of two phases:
- In the first phase, the strategic command determines operations and formulates the combat plan, commands the troops to deal with the “enemies’” air strikes, conduct reconnaissance and search, and organize defense deployment;
- In the second phase, the multinational forces cluster will be commanded to implement intensive fire strikes and launch a full-scale attack against the “enemies”.
The main phase of the strategic command-and-staff exercise will involve nearly 13,000 troops, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General Alexander Fomin told the news briefing for foreign military attaches.
“At the Totsky and Adanak proving grounds in the European part of Russia within the zone of the Vienna Document of 2011 on confidence and security building measures, and also at the Donguz proving ground up to 12,950 men will be involved (10,700 Russian servicemen and up to 2,250 foreign ones),” Fomin said.
“Up to 250 tanks, 450 armored personnel carriers and up to 200 artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers will be deployed in the main episode of the exercise.”
Naturally, any and all exercises by Russia and its allies are instantly considered as a major preparation for war. Center-2019 is no exception.
National Interest, saw behind Russia’s “elaborate rouse,” reporting that the objective of these exercises is “clearly visible: Preparation for a major ground war in Europe.”
Simultaneously with the Center-2019 exercises, Russia and Belarus are holding the Union Shield 2019 exercise, which takes place every two years, alternating each country. In 2017 it took place in Belarus.
The exercise involves over 12,000 servicemen and 950 pieces of hardware. It takes place between September 13th and 19th.
It will be held in two stages, during which the military command and control units plan the use of troops, formations and military units will search, block and destroy illegal armed groups and sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the mock enemy, conduct defensive actions, and also implement a set of measures to stabilize the situation, will practice issues of organizing interaction and comprehensive support in the interests of solving the tasks.
The Union Shield 2019 exercise is being conducted under the leadership of the commander of the Western Military District, Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlev and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, Major General Oleg Belokonev.
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