The Zapad-2013 military exercise is taking place by the Libyan and Syrian scenarios.
According to the plans of the exercise’s organizers, the Russian army is assisting Lukashenka in the case a civil war breaks out, the Moskovskij Komsomolets reports.
Regardless of how many sudden inspections the Russian president and Defense Minister arrange, the main event of the year in terms of the combat training of the neighboring country’s armed forces will still be the autumn military practice. This year it is called Zapad-2013 and is organized jointly with Belarus’ armed forces. It is notable that this time it is not repelling external aggression of the regular armies of the neighboring countries that is being practiced, but the unusual for armed forces function – fight against Belarusian “illegal paramilitary groups” in the conditions of a destabilized foreign and domestic situation. At the first glance such an exercise plot, probably, makes the citizens of Belarus ask themselves unpleasant questions: will their army fight against its own people? But considering the latest world experience, it becomes apparent that it makes sense to prepare for this kind of conflicts first of all.
Russia’s Defense Ministry reports that the outcomes and experience of local armed conflicts of the recent decades have been taken as the basis for developing the exercise’s plot. The exercise’s high command – Belarus’ Defense Minister Jury Zhadobin and the General Staff Commander of Russia’s armed forces Valeriy Gerasimov – put the main emphasis on modern approaches to using a regional army groups.
According to the scenario, approved by Lukashenka, “extremist groups and bands” have penetrated into the territory of the Republic of Belarus aiming at “carrying out terroristic acts and destabilizing the situation in the country”. At the same time the extremists have external support in the form of material and technical assistance, arms and equipment – like in Libya and Syria. At the early preparation stages there were even talks that protest actions of the political opposition to Lukashenka would be staged. Now they apparently decided to refuse from that.
For stabilizing the alarming situation in the Republic of Belarus subdivisions of Russian armed forces have been promptly redeployed, which are fighting the imaginary enemy in cooperation with subdivisions of the Belarusian army.
Altogether the exercise will take place in six polygons: Brest, Gozh, Asipovichy, Obuz-Lesnouski in Belarus, Pravdinski and Khmelevka – in Kaliningrad region. A little fewer than 13000 of manpower are taking part, out of which 2500 are Russian military men and around 300 officers from other Collective Security Treaty organization countries. Simultaneously about 10 more thousand Russian troops are having an training not linked with the military exercise’s central plotline. Particularly, for instance, missile men are using operational and tactic complexes Iskanders and Tochkas as well as multiple rocket launchers Smerch and Uragan in Lug, whereas the sailors of the Northern Fleet are carrying out a large-scale operation in Barents and Kara Seas – they are looking for the enemy’s submarines, protecting the coastline from the enemy’s sea-borne landing. Thirty ships, including an aviation carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, are involved in the operation under the command of the Commander in Chief of Russian Navy.
Already on Sunday 500 troops of the Taman division made a forced march for protecting Belarus’ Western border from the penetration of terrorists. Their colleagues looked for the distribution of illegal paramilitary groups in woods, arranged roadblocks and protection of important objects, screened the air jammed the enemy’s communication systems, mined roads and destroyed bridges, arranged ambushes.
For Russian troops such exercise is the experience of organized and planned anti-partisan war in the territory of another state – like the ones the Western countries led in Afghanistan and Iraq.