Exercise Union Shield 2019 successfully finished

A muster of troops in the Russian army exercise area Mulino finished the Belarusian-Russian tactical army exercise Union Shield 2019 on 19 September, the press service of the Belarusian Defense Ministry told.

Belarusian Defense Minister, Lieutenant-General Andrei Ravkov told media: “The joint tactical exercise has drawn to its logical close. Our military personnel will get back to the home country very soon.” Summing up results of the exercise, he noted that it was not the only combat training event, including an event held together with the Russian army. However, it is a major exercise, this is why it is the main one this year.

According to the source, the Belarusian army units had to carry out virtually all missions at night. The moral and psychological state of participants of the exercise helped them do their jobs. Proper accommodations and amenities were available so that nothing could distract them from the main mission. The exercise has accomplished its tasks, Andrei Ravkov noted. The system to train armed forces in Belarus and Russia is designed to make sure the armies are constantly ready to carry out missions required to protect the Union State of Belarus and Russia and the two countries against an enemy. The army units are now getting ready to get back to Belarus.

A large-scale parade of military hardware took place on 19 September. The military personnel, who excelled during the exercise, were awarded. The muster of the troops ended with a festive concert of Russian and Belarusian army musicians. The Belarusian-Russian army exercise Union Shield 2019 began in the Mulino exercise area in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Oblast on 13 September. Some 12,000 military personnel, up to 950 units of military hardware, up to 70 aircraft and helicopters took part in the exercise. OSCE member states have been notified about it in line with the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures. The Belarusian army was represented by over 4,000 military personnel, more than 30 tanks, 80 armored fighting vehicles, about 50 MLRS, artillery, and mortar units as well as aircraft and helicopters.

US and NATO partners use exercise to better protect waters where Russia operates

U.S. divers used underwater drones to find and clear simulated mines and submerged explosives in a NATO exercise that seeks to boost security in the Baltic Sea area, where Russia has grown more active. Eighteen countries, 40 vessels and 3,000 personnel are participating in this year’s two-week Northern Coasts exercise in the Danish straits, which link the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

“The Baltic Sea is of vital importance for the Alliance and is bordered by six NATO countries,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the security environment in the region has deteriorated after Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its continuing military-build-up.”

Northern Coasts, which runs until Thursday, is not only a show of force to potential adversaries, but also provides troops with tactical training, NATO officials said in a statement.

In this year’s exercise scenario, a fictitious country made territorial claims over islands in the Baltic Sea and used naval forces to threaten freedom of navigation.

Allies and partner nations countered the simulated threat through a coordinated effort that included maritime surveillance, naval combat, air-defense, anti-submarine warfare and mine clearance.

Sailors used underwater drones to detect, identify and take images of threats, and then cleared simulated mines and improvised explosives from the shore and the water, the Navy said.

Unmanned submersibles, such as the torpedo-like Remote Environmental Measuring Unit, or REMUS-100, help cut the time divers have to spend in dangerous waters, reducing the risk of loss of life, it said.

Mine warfare continues to be waged throughout the world, and nations work together in exercises like Northern Coasts to practice neutralizing these underwater threats so commanders know where to direct landing forces, the Navy said.

Two U.S. units — Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 from Rota, Spain, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 based in Virginia Beach, Va. — worked alongside allies in the mine-clearance exercises.

As Russia grows more assertive, it has become increasingly important for the U.S. and its allies and partners to combine forces to safeguard the Baltic region, Adm. James Foggo, head of Naval Forces Europe and Africa, has said.

“We must commit and invest in a robust and capable naval presence to maintain regional stability,” Foggo wrote Friday in an Atlantic Council newsletter. “Not doing so could be far more costly.”



Belarus positively evaluates the first stage of the exercise “Union Shield-2019”

Oleg Belokonev, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus, positively assessed the results of the first stage of the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise “Union Shield-2019”, the Belarus’ Ministry of Defence reported on Monday on its website.

“The first stage of the joint operational exercise of the armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation “Union Shield-2019 ” was completed at the Mulino training ground. The governing bodies showed a high ability to manage subordinate units in the course of fulfilling their mission in difficult conditions,” the statement emphasizes.

Chief of the General Staff, Belarusian First Deputy Defense Minister Oleg Belokonev, who is in charge of overseeing the exercise, said: “Today we’ve started the second stage of the exercise, which will focus on practical actions, on the implementation of the decisions and steps we made during the first stage. The army units will have to practice defensive action in assigned positions, continue stabilizing the situation, organizing interaction, support, and logistics. Command and control units will continue giving orders to subordinate units in a complicated environment. I believe the main goal of the event will be reached. We will get some practice of working together with the Armed Forces of Russia to ensure the military security of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.”

Belokonev also said that “military units fairly confidently carried out a set of measures to search, block, destroy illegal armed groups and sabotage and reconnaissance groups, to stabilize the situation in the designated areas of responsibility.”

Joint exercise of the armed forces of the two countries takes place at the Mulino training ground in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The Union Shield-2019 drills are set to involve a total of 12,000 troops and 950 pieces of military equipment, including combat vehicles, aircraft and helicopters. OSCE member states have been notified about it in line with the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures. The Belarusian army is represented by over 4,000 military personnel, more than 30 tanks, 80 armored fighting vehicles, about 50 MLRS, artillery, and mortar units as well as aircraft and helicopters.

Russia, Belarus Launch ‘Union Shield’ Military Drills

The Russian and Belarusian militaries have launched weeklong joint exercises in the Nizhny Novgorod region, west of Moscow.

The Union Shield 2019 drills are set to involve a total of 12,000 troops and 950 pieces of military equipment, including combat vehicles, aircraft, and helicopters, Russia’s Western Military District said on September 13.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said it had sent 4,000 soldiers, more than 30 tanks, 80 armored vehicles, 50 multiple rocket launchers, and about 15 aircraft and helicopters.

During the second phase of the exercises, troops will search and eliminate hypothetical saboteurs and illegal armed groups, a statement said.

In August, the chief of the General Staff of the Belarusian armed forces, First Deputy Defense Minister Major-General Aleh Belokonev, said the exercise would be held “deep inside the territory of the Russian Federation and not at practice ranges near [EU] borders” in order to “avoid the escalation of the situation in Europe.”

Belarus and Russia are joined in a union state that exists mainly on paper, and the two countries hold joint military exercises that regularly engage the West’s attention.

The Union Shield drills are carried out every two years alternately on the territory of Russia and Belarus. Union Shield 2017 was held in Belarus and involved some 12,700 troops.