Russia ends manoevres on Caucasus Frontier
Russian soldiers are being trained on how to tackle a large group of militants attempting to infiltrate the country's borders as the military exercises take place in the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia.
It’s the fifth and final day of the “Caucasus frontier” manoeuvres.
There are the BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launchers at work. It’s hard to see what they're hitting, since the target is behind this mountain range. But the number of rockets suggests there won't be much left of the target. Ground units receive air support from two Mi-24 HIND helicopters. A group of 500 militants is trying to infiltrate Russian territory, destroying the group is the main task of this training – all this looks and sounds real.
The first four missions of the “Caucasus frontier” manoeuvres were deemed a success.
The Tarskoe training ground is located on the border between the Southern Russian republics of North Ossetia and Ingushetia. It's in close vicinity to Chechnya, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, regions where violent clashes are common, making it a perfect place to practice anti-terrorist missions. In the early 90s this area saw real fighting. In 1992 several groups of militants from Ingushetia used the nearby woods for cover.
“Militants attempted several times to cross the Russian border in this area and army and police units carried out special operations to eliminate them,” Alexander Baranov, North Caucasus Military District Commander, said.
Although the Russian army has a draft system, there are also professional units -and these are the ones taking part in the training. The senior officers consider this approach key to success.
“The regiment completed the task with confidence and I think the operation was a success because of the contract-based service,” Anatoly Khrulyov, 58th Army Commander, noted.
6000 troops, 30 military planes and helicopters, 250 tanks and armed personnel carriers all took part. And although the field operation is over, the results will be reviewed at headquarters.
It’s been a difficult day for these officers, but they quote the old Russian proverb: “the harder you train, the easier you fight.”