Union Shield 2019: Russian and Belarusian army units worked as a team

The Belarusian-Russian tactical army exercise Union Shield 2019 demonstrated the ability of Belarusian and Russian army units to smoothly work as a team. Belarusian Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov made the statement in response to questions asked by members of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus on 2 October, BelTA has learned.

Training goals of the regional military group have been achieved in full, Andrei Ravkov noted. “This exercise demonstrated that we can work, accomplish tasks, and understand each other in full at this level. We know our tasks,” he stressed. The weapons and hardware the two armies use are fully compatible for carrying out joint missions, he added. Nearly all the troops have returned from the Russian Federation to Belarus.

“The last two trains are being unloaded in Minsk and Borisov now. The troops will be in their permanent stations by the end of the day,” the defense minister said. Speaking about the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2021, Andrei Ravkov said plans are being made in line with instructions given by the two heads of state. “It is too early to talk about how it will be done because scrupulous organizational work has to be done ahead of any major army exercise. We have yet to do it,” the defense minister noted. In the Council of the Republic the defense minister presented a protocol on amending the Belarus-Russia military cooperation agreement of 19 December 1997. The senators ratified it.

The Belarusian-Russian army exercise Union Shield 2019 took place on 13-19 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 were 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 multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery, and mortar units as well as some 15 aircraft and helicopters.