Russia begins large-scale military exercise in South Ossetia

Divisions of the Russian 58th Combined-Arms Army started command and staff exercises in the territory of South Ossetia, as announced by Vadim Astafyev, spokesperson for the Southern Military District, TASS reports.

“Military personnel are working on the actions of divisions during an air raid of an imaginary enemy, overcoming contaminated sections of terrain under conditions of weapons of mass destruction and radioelectric suppression being used by an enemy,” Astafyev explained.

The drills will last until June 17, and more than 3,000 people and more than 500 units of weaponry and military equipment will take part, including new command staff cars equipped with modern means of communication and control.

Russian forces have been constantly deployed in the territory of South Ossetia since February 2009, when at the end of the Five Day War with Georgia, Moscow recognized the independence of the self-declared republic. Before the start of the war, in August 2008 a Russian motorized rifle battalion was stationed in the suburb of Tskhinvali.

The Russian forces currently located in the territory of South Ossetia have been brought into the 4th Vapnyarsko-Berlin Military Guard Base, deployed on the basis of the 135th and 693rd subdivisions of the motorized rifle regiments of the 19th motorized rifle division. The total number of forces is as much as 4,000 people, including three motorized rifle battalions, one tank and one reconnaissance battalion, three artillery divisions (one missile and two barrel), a surface-to-air missile division as well as supply divisions.

  Russian military exercises, South Ossetia