President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, a snap inspection of combat readiness in the Central Military District ended a few days ago. How do you assess the results?
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, seeing as this was already the eighth such snap inspection, the results are getting better every time. We carry out these inspections in order to constantly improve the troops’ level of training.
This time, acting on your instructions, we inspected troops in the Central Military District. Two armies took part separately in the exercises. Command was carried out separately by the chief command centres of the Air Force, paratroopers and ground forces.
A total of more than 65,000 troops, 177 planes, 56 helicopters, and 5,500 vehicles and armoured vehicles took part in the exercises.
As far as the paratroopers are concerned, for the first time in many years, an entire division along with its equipment and also a paratroopers’ attack brigade were transferred by air over a big distance of almost 3,500 kilometres. They were all deployed in exercises taking place at three test grounds.
The problems that we noted in the paratroopers’ command system last year have been fixed since then.
We tested the division’s command system, deployed a headquarters and command centre with all the necessary equipment and ensured its coordination with the work of the aircraft, drones and ground forces. We also tested the system for transferring large numbers of troops and equipment over big distances.
We based the scenario on potential reaction to events on the border with Afghanistan following the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan, and response to the threats that we are seeing emerge now on the borders of our CSTO partners and colleagues. We tested all aspects involved. The troops have returned to their permanent bases and the mission you set has been completed.
I wanted to mention too that the armies and divisions used in these exercises were deployed not in fragmentary but in full formation. In other words, we also ensured the entire rear support system, fuel supplies, ammunition, fuel and lubricants. In short, we carried out the whole programme.
This inspection showed once more that our troops are ready for deployment in full number within 72 hours over a distance of more than 3,000 kilometres.
Vladimir Putin: We will certainly continue these kinds of inspections. I ask you to thank all of the military personnel for their work during these exercises that just took place.
Sergei Shoigu: Thank you, Mr President. I will certainly pass on your words.