Russian War Games


May 4, 2009
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The expansion of NATO to the borders of Russia, has created a feeling of insecurity for the Russians. Combined with the tensions with many of the former states of USSR and the recent spat with Georgia, it makes a volatile cocktail. The recent war games of troops from Russia and Belarus have triggred off alarms in the capitals of former Soviet republics who are now aligned with NATO.

Jitters in eastern Europe over Russia's military manoeuvres

SCAREMONGERING is where defence planning and politics overlap. Big military exercises in western Russia and Belarus, which finished earlier this month, were based on the following improbable scenario: ethnic Poles in western Belarus rise up and "terrorists" from Lithuania attack the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. More than 10,000 troops from Russia and Belarus countered them, reinforcing Kaliningrad from the sea and sending special forces behind the enemy lines. Three NATO-like brigades, one visiting, one Estonian and one Latvian, then invaded western Russia, where they were successfully rebuffed by the elite Pskov-based 76th air assault division, reinforced by a motorised rifle brigade.
Military exercises need a notional enemy and, from Russia's point of view, NATO is the obvious choice. Because the alliance has expanded to Russia's borders, taking in a dozen ex-communist members over strenuous protests from the Kremlin, it is all the more desirable to send a strong signal. What is more, Western countries have been urging (and helping) Russia's military forces to become more professional. That requires practice drills.

The main aim of the Russian exercises may indeed have been to measure progress on military reform, particularly the creation of more Westernstyle autonomous brigades.

And, plainly, Russia is neither willing nor able to fight a real war with NATO. Yet the wargames look alarming to neighbours. They recall that the war in Georgia in August 2008 followed many years of exercises, and they point out that NATO has no formal contingency plans to defend its vulnerable Baltic members. Nor has the alliance held land drills on the territory of any of its new members. Indeed, until two years ago NATO's threat assessments explicitly discounted the idea of conflict with Russia.
Russia faces many security problems within its borders, and its armed forces are still rusty. It is hard to see why preparing for an implausible armed attack from the West should be a priority; these days America and its allies have little time to rehearse big-war manoeuvres because their soldiers are too busy fighting, or training to fight, insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, the idea of Lithuanian based "terrorists" invading Russia is risible.

Western military analysts have noted Russia's use of destroyers and landing craft from the Black Sea and Northern Fleets to back up its feeble Baltic-based naval forces. They also noted the deployment of Russia's most advanced S-400 air defence system in Belarus and a parallel drill conducted by the Strategic Rocket Forces, the guardians of the Kremlin's nuclear arsenal. "The scope of the exercises, the weaponry used, the troops involved and the scenarios rehearsed all indicate unequivocally that Russia is actually rehearsing a fullscale conventional strategic military operation against a conventional opponent," says a report by Kaarel Kaas, an analyst at an Estonian security think-tank, the International Centre for Defence Studies.

Dividing the exercise into a northern war-game (called Ladoga) and a southern one (Zapad-09) brought each below the 13,000-troop threshold at which Russia is obliged to invite outside observers. Some neighbouring countries were not able to monitor the manoeuvres (Lithuania, with a handful of observers in Belarus, was an exception). That does not build confidence.

From what outsiders can gather, the performance of Russian forces was patchy. A joint Belarusian-Russian headquarters worked poorly.
Drones--a big feature of Western armies--seem to have been used mainly for show. Moving large numbers of troops and equipment around, a weakness during Russia's war in Georgia, took too long.

Polish, Baltic and other officials will meet in Warsaw shortly to discuss the significance of the exercises. NATO will assess them next month.
America certainly took careful notes: the USS Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, visited Estonia. NATO warplanes mounted a modest air exercise. A planned exercise in the Baltic states next year is likely to be beefed up, perhaps with the involvement of part of NATO's new mobile Response Force.

Russia's armed forces may be ramshackle, but many European members of NATO are in poor shape too. The alliance's ability to defend the Baltic states depends almost wholly on American involvement. NATO hawks complain that members such as Germany and Italy are blocking attempts to draw up formal contingency plans for all its members--something that President Barack Obama has demanded. The doves retort that NATO's Article 5, which says that an attack on one member is an attack on the whole alliance, is deterrent enough; new members who question its worth are hurting their own cause.

Yet easterners are raising their voices in talks about NATO's new "strategic concept", a document to define its purpose that will be adopted next year. With NATO focused mostly on the fighting in Afghanistan, they want a clear statement that old-fashioned collective defence of NATO territory is still a priority. Only that, they say, will convince their voters that, with Russia flexing its muscles nearby, sending troops to Afghanistan is worth it. © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2009

Europe - War games


Jul 1, 2009
Results of "Ladoga-2009"

14.10.2009 17:58 The armed forces, Russia, ucheniyaversiya Print

Completed exercises "Ladoga-2009" became perhaps the biggest exercises in recent years. Died away shots of tank guns, silenced steel trills and automatic machine-gun bursts. The troops in winter quarters lead to the proper type of equipment and weapons. But work on the analysis of the results of exercise continues at the headquarters. What are they? Preliminary results are encouraging.

These exercises were difficult and were largely experimental. Suffice it to say that within the operational and strategic exercises in-Ground Forces and other security agencies "Ladoga-2009" held at the same time, two operational and strategic doctrine. Actually "Ladoga-2009" in the north-west Russia. And "West-2009, which covered the central part of Russia, the territory of Moscow and part of the Volga-Ural military districts, as well as Belarus. Regional scale was unprecedented.

As part of the exercises "Ladoga-2009" personal decision-Chief of Ground Forces, Army General Vladimir Boldyrev was suddenly raised the alarm, refer to the highest degree of alert and sent to the area of maneuvers in the North-West Russia 28 th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Volga-Urals Military District. The brigade arrived in the area of maneuvers and was preparing to conduct tactical exercises with live firing in the daytime. This has nothing to diminish the complexity of its tasks, the more so for in the next day as they had to act at night.

But that's not all. The troops were fighting on the territory of nine (!) Polygons, including two marine. As the Chief of General Staff of the Army, Deputy Chief of maneuvers, Lieutenant General Sergei Skokov, unit performs combat training missions with live firing in the teams, including at night. A shelf Airborne implemented dropping personnel and equipment from aircraft, military transport aircraft Il-76. On the coast a landing was.

An interesting and such a moment. In part raznovidovoy and raznorodovoy of troops on the teachings of the various operating aircraft (airplanes and helicopters), have been firing rockets and artillery detachment Northern Fleet warships. 326-I missile brigade of the Leningrad military district complied with the group launch tactical missiles "Point-To-Do" at a distance of 52 km on the conditional enemy command post. The aim was struck by the first hit. That is, by the saturation of artillery and bombardment of the enemy's teachings were simply unique. A decision on missile launching was made commander of Combined Forces in the strategic direction.

Recall that a tactical missile system "Tochka-U" does launch missiles at a distance of 120 km. Crew launcher - 3 persons. Time of deployment of the complex - 10 minutes. In place of this menacing missile is already a new operational-tactical missile system - the notorious "Iskander".

Along with the rocket troops army paratroopers 76-second landing-assault division at the district site "Struga Reds worked the scene to complete the tactical destruction of the command and control of conditional enemy. To draw the fighting, some thousands of troops landing assault regiment parachuted with standard weapons and equipment (about 30 units) at the landing site, and made the 90-kilometre march to the area of teaching.

Important place - the interaction of the army and navy with other forces. Within maneuvers "Ladoga-2009" at the firing range RF MVD Internal Troops near Peterhof, for example, have passed special tactical exercises 33rd separate special purpose brigade of the North-West Regional Command of Internal Troops MVD RF. In the course of it worked out the practical actions of the troops on search and destroy sabotage and reconnaissance groups, blocking populated GOVERNMENTAL items seized by terrorists and free the hostages. As well as arrangements for the protection and defense of state and military facilities (nuclear power plants, ports, federal transportation links). To action were involved in more than one and a half thousand troops Interior Ministry troops, army aviation and armour.

However, special attention was paid to study the most severe trial, existing in the armed forces - a clear and uninterrupted operation of control system of the General Staff to the platoon inclusive. The statement was made commander of Ground Forces, Army General Vladimir Boldyrev. He noted that one of the main objectives of the exercises "Ladoga-2009" was to "investigate the management of the Armed Forces of the General Staff to a platoon inclusive. This is the most difficult issue in our army, on the solution of which we are working on our teachings, "- said Army General Vladimir Boldyrev.

Peculiarity of the exercises "Ladoga-2009" is also in the fact that they were part of the strategic maneuvers "Autumn 2009", covering all three strategic directions for the western theater of military operations: South-Western, Western and North-Western. Commander of Ground Forces recalled in this connection that in June this year as part of maneuvers "Autumn-2009" in the North Caucasus region were operational-strategic exercises Kavkaz-2009 ". Naturally, all this is the result and consequence of the transfer of the Armed Forces of the country to a new brigade structure. It was important to see how it behaves in an environment as close to combat.

Today in the Ground Forces Russia has in fact formed 85 brigades of constant combat readiness, including combined arms, rocket, landing-ground attack, electronic warfare and other compounds that can operate in any directions. This was confirmed by Chief of Ground Forces, Army General Vladimir Boldyrev, the end of special tactical exercises 33rd Separate Brigade for operational use of the North-West Regional Command of the Interior Troops of the Interior Ministry, which took place within the operational and strategic maneuvers Army and other security agencies in the North-West Russia . Battle of the organizational and staff structure of the Army will now be presented units and formations only constant alert, able to perform tasks in the shortest possible time, said Commander. He explained that it is highly maneuverable forces capable of acting without action on mobilization and additional slazhivaniyu in all directions. But first and foremost on those where there is most probable threats to national and military security of Russia.

And what lies ahead? In 2010, in the eastern region of Russia have already been scheduled and will be operational-strategic exercises "Vostok-2010". They will be part of troops of the Siberian and Far Eastern military districts, and will involve economic complex, which is located on the east. And the results of "Ladoga-2009" will certainly be taken into account.

Vladimir Semenchenko, MIC

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May 4, 2009
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Jitters in Poland over Russian exercise

The recent war exercises carried out by troops from Russia and Belarus, simulated Nuclear attack on Poland and landing of troops on Polish territory and capturing the beach head was also simulated.

This has made the Poles very jittery coming as the exrcises have coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland.

Russia 'simulates' nuclear attack on Poland

The armed forces are said to have carried out "war games" in which nuclear missiles were fired and troops practised an amphibious landing on the country's coast.

Documents obtained by Wprost, one of Poland's leading news magazines, said the exercise was carried out in conjunction with soldiers from Belarus.

The manoeuvres are thought to have been held in September and involved about 13,000 Russian and Belarusian troops.

Poland, which has strained relations with both countries, was cast as the "potential aggressor".

The documents state the exercises, code-named "West", were officially classified as "defensive" but many of the operations appeared to have an offensive nature.

The Russian air force practised using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which neighbours Poland, Red Army forces stormed a "Polish" beach and attacked a gas pipeline.

The operation also involved the simulated suppression of an uprising by a national minority in Belarus – the country has a significant Polish population which has a strained relationship with authoritarian government of Belarus.

Karol Karski, an MP from Poland's Law and Justice, is to table parliamentary questions on Russia's war games and has protested to the European Commission.

His colleague, Marek Opiola MP, said: "It's an attempt to put us in our place. Don't forget all this happened on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland."
Ordinary Poles were outraged by news of the exercise and demanded a firm response fro the government.
Russia 'simulates' nuclear attack on Poland - Telegraph

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