Against the background of increased tension around the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, control checks began in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the troops went to the training grounds to conduct 4,000 various types of exercises. The movement of a huge mass of troops, especially close to the Ukrainian border, raised concerns among the Ukrainian military and NATO officials, who said that Russia was preparing an attack. The Kremlin recalled that Russian troops can move around the country at their own discretion. “AiF” figured out why there were many Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.
The Russian army has indeed carried out large-scale troop movements in the Western and Southern military districts, which border Ukraine, in the past few weeks. Major military exercises have just ended in Crimea and the Nizhny Novgorod region. For example, on the peninsula, a large landing was practiced with the participation of the 7th Airborne Division from Novorossiysk and the marines of the Black Sea Fleet. In addition, plans were announced to redeploy the 56th airborne assault brigade to Feodosia, which will be reorganized into a regiment. It is no coincidence that the greatest activity in the redeployment of Russian armored vehicles was noted along the Crimean bridge – road and rail. It was even blocked for several hours when the military columns moved. Also, numerous eyewitnesses report in social networks about the movement of columns of military equipment, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, in the regions bordering Ukraine: Rostov, Voronezh.
Such a movement of troops, indeed, is connected precisely with the combat training of a large military grouping, which in recent years has been created on the border with Ukraine. The largest formation is the 8th Guards Army. The backbone of the army was the newly formed 150th motorized rifle division with a deployment site in Novocherkassk (Rostov region). The army also includes motorized rifle, artillery, missile and reconnaissance brigades, an air defense brigade, electronic warfare and logistics units. In addition, two more new motorized rifle divisions were deployed in the southwestern direction: the 144th in Smolensk and the 3rd with locations in the Belgorod and Voronezh regions. This is a huge mass of troops, tens of thousands of people and pieces of equipment. At the same time, even if the shelf is moved from the side, it looks very impressive, even by rail, even by road.
Even when traveling to neighboring polygons, it seems that a huge mass of troops is moving. At the same time, in recent years, checks have been carried out at unfamiliar training grounds, which means that troops for conducting exercises can move to neighboring regions and even thousands of kilometers to other military districts. So some units for combat training could be transferred to the Rostov region even from other military districts a thousand kilometers away. But legally and in fact, all this is combat training.
Former Head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Ministry of Defense (1996-2001) Colonel General Leonid Ivashov believes that the withdrawal of troops during the aggravation of the situation in the region occurred naturally:
“Of course, military exercises in the Russian army are held regularly, on a planned basis, and do not depend on the external situation. This keeps the Armed Forces in good shape, which means that they can arrive in a very short time to carry out assigned tasks wherever it is needed. In this situation, due to the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine, it was simply necessary to do this in order to demonstrate decisiveness, a demonstration of force – an effective method to prevent war. It immediately became clear to everyone that the situation in Donbass, the constant and increasing shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not go unnoticed by both the political and military leadership of the country. Now there are enough troops in this sector, but if the situation develops, their number can be quickly increased. ”
After 2014, the buildup of military force in the regions bordering Ukraine was directly linked to the fact that huge sections of the Russian-Ukrainian border had not previously been covered. In the context of the crisis in relations between the two countries, this was unacceptable. In recent years, according to plans, the combat readiness of the district’s formations will only grow. In September last year, the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command-staff exercise was held on the territory of the Okrug, in which the Black Sea Fleet formations, among other things, took part. In general, over the past 5 years, more than 3000 command-staff and tactical exercises have been held in the Southern Military District.
Now the command of the Southern Military District is actively introducing advanced developments, for example, since December 2018, an airmobile group has been created in each motorized rifle battalion of the district, armed with light vehicles – buggies, anti-tank grenade launchers, automatic grenade launchers “Flame”, etc. not in any other military district. Further rearmament is planned, the most modern weapons are supplied to the troops of the district.