MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has scrambled thousands of troops and hundreds of warplanes across southwestern Russia for large-scale military drills intended to test the troops’ readiness amid continuing tensions with the West.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that military units were put on combat alert early Monday, marking the launch of the exercise that involves troops of the Southern Military District. Continue reading
Batirashvili’s battlefield successes, including orchestrating the capture of Syria’s Menagh Air Base after two years of failed attempts, “helped to legitimize ISIS in militant circles, including in the North Caucasus,” Cecire said.
“Batirashvili’s ability to demonstrate ISIS’ tactical prowess attracted fighters in droves from other factions and tipped the scales in foreign fighter flow and recruitment,” Cecire said. “In the North Caucasus, young people no longer wanted to fight in Syria with the increasingly marginalized Caucasus Emirate (groups), but wanted to fight with the winners – ISIS.” Continue reading
Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the deployment of up to 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s border to support the actions of pro-Russian separatist forces have been widely identified as a turning point in the “post-Cold War” European security system. But Russia’s militarized policy toward Ukraine should not be seen as a spontaneous response to the crisis. It has only been possible thanks to a long-term program by Moscow to build up its military capabilities.
A 21ST CENTURY RUSSIAN MILITARY
To be a “great power” – which is the status that Moscow’s political elite claim for Russia – is to have both an international reach and regional spheres of influence. To achieve this, Moscow understands that it must be able to project military force, so the modernization of Russia’s armed forces has become a key element of its “great power” ambitions. For this reason, seven years ago, a politically painful and expensive military modernization program was launched to provide Russia with new capabilities. One of the key aims of this modernization has been to move the Russian military away from a mass mobilization army designed to fight a large-scale war (presumably against NATO) to the creation of smaller and more mobile combat-ready forces designed for local and regional conflicts. Continue reading
In recent weeks, important information regarding the military balance of power in the South Caucasus has come to light. On June 3rd it was revealed that Russia has stationed an undisclosed number of Iskander-M ballistic missiles in Armenia. While on June 18th media outlets reported that Russia has begun the delivery of nearly $1 billion worth of weaponry, which include tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery cannons, to Azerbaijan. Continue reading