Russia and Belarus hold military exercises near Baltic borders (2)
The Belarusian-Russian tactical army exercises Union Shield 2015 will be held in the vicinity of the Baltic states from September 10-16.
Two countries will conduct military drills in Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which is bordering Lithuania and Poland, as well in Pskov Oblast, near Estonia.
Russian military said that the drills are aimed at “improving the operational compatibility of the staffs at different levels; developing cohesion between the systems of managing troops and weapons; and developing skills of commanders and staffs in controlling troops during high-maneuver military actions across a broad front.”
The drills are purely defensive, the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
Simultaneously, massive number of Russian forces have been put on full combat alert.
The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that combat readiness inspection started this Monday upon the order Russian President Vladimir Putin. It involves about 95,000 servicemen, more than 7,000 pieces of military hardware and up to 170 aircraft.
It includes three airborne formations in the Ivanovo, Ulyanovsk, and Volgograd Regions, and Russia's Baltic fleet, based in its enclave of Kaliningrad, which is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland.
European Leadership Network (ELN), a London-based pan-European think-tank focusing on European foreign, defense and security issues, recently said that Russia is conducting 4,000 military drills this year. NATO has responded with military exercises, but those number just 270 this year.