We in social networks


Events Calendar


"Shield" against All NATO

25.08.2011 10:56

In late July, 2011 the largest during this year NATO "Amber hope" military exercise came to its end. Some 2,200 servicemen from 9 countries took part in it. The exercise was carried out in Lithuanian territory and its territorial waters.

All in all there were 7 NATO countries involved: Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the USA, Estonia and several NATO allies - Georgia and Finland. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Moldavia and Ukraine sent their observers to the event.

According to "Partnership for Peace" program, the scenario of the exercise included execution of joint anti-crisis operations.

Such a "partnership" is quite remarkable by its scale. Lithuanian defence minister Rasa Jukneviciene noted that "the level and the numerical strength of "Amber hope" has increased significantly" since 1995 when the exercise took place for the first time. And that indicates the importance of the exercises for both Lithuania and North Atlantic community.

Lately NATO has spurred its military exercises activities. And the fact that it has expanded the frames of military exercises also points to that. Thus, Lithuania and Kirghizia took place in "Steppe Eagle-2011" exercise for the first time. This manioeuvres began on August 8 this year in the training center "Iliskiy" in Almaty oblast of Kazakhstan.

It should be noted that the list of countries involved in NATO peacekeeping exercise with Kazakhstan expanded for the first time since 2003. Beside Lithuania and Kirghizia, Kazakhstani peacekeeping forces as well as those of the USA, Great Britain and Tadjikistan participate in the manioeuvres. The aggregate strength is now about 1500 servicemen. And the borders of the exercises have also expanded. Beside "Iliskiy", "Bereg" training center is engaged as well as "Novo-Iliskiy" air base and "Shoshkala" facility.

The main aim of "Steppe Eagle-2011" is collective combat and operational compatibility training in peacekeeping operations. The exercise is expected to last for about three weeks.

The scale of NATO military-tactical cooperation with other participants of the exercises was noticed by Russian military-political leadership.

As far back as in April, 2011 Russian minister of defence announced the intentions to keep "Union Shield 2011" joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise in September.

Anatoly Serdyukov said then that the maneuvers will involve about 12,000 troops, more than 50 warplanes and helicopters, and 200 pieces of military hardware. It was reported that it will simultaneously take place at two Russian training grounds - at "Gorokhovetsky", in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod region, and at Air Force training center "Ushuluk", in the same country's Astrakhan region. The goal of the exercise would be communication and control system exercise.

However, there was talk not only of conducting joint military exercise, but strnghening military cooperation of the allies in common. One of the main topic of negotiations was accelerating the delivery of more S-300 anti-missile batteries to Belarus.

"In 2011 we finished the first stage of overhaul and update of Belarusian S-300 anti-missile systems. We came to an agreement on accelerating efforts for future deliveries of S-300 anti-missile systems to Belarus," Russian defence minister said.

According to Anatoly Serdyukov, north-western air direction is the zone of responsibility for the united regional Russian-Belarusian air defence system, and at present it is being consolidated.

It's remarkable that Ukranian defence minister Mikhail Yezhel was also present at that meeting. After the session he announced the intentions of his country to join the "Shield".

"We will certainly study the plan of the exercise in detail and join in. I've arrived in Minsk to discuss military cooperation of our countries with my colleagues. We are also very interested in the experience of army reform in Belarus. We should take all the best the Union State of Russia and Belarus has to offer and use it at home," Yezhel said.

Beside joint exercise at "Ushuluk", Russia together with its allies has planned a number of military exercises in 2011-2012, in which coalition forces will take part. Thus, in September 2011 "Centr-2011" exercise is conducted. The first stage of these manioeuvres will take place at Russian "Chebarkul", "Totskoye", "Ushuluk" and "Kapustin Yar" training grounds and the second one in Tadjikistan and Kazarhstan at "Sary Shagan" facility. Besides, the first peacekeeping forces exercise in CSTO history is planned to take place in Kazakhstan in 2012.