Russian Conventional Ground Force Update NATO Theatre of Operations for 2019

Today Russian Defense Minister, General Sergei Shoigu, updated the Board of the Russian Defense Ministry on conventional ground force modernization and reorganization in the NATO theatre of operations.

  • Sergei Shoigu stressed that “at present, it is characterized by increased competition between world centers of power, increased uncertainty factors, bursts of instability and violence in different regions of the planet, and an increase in conflict potential in areas of Russia's traditional interests. At the same time, the United States is seeking to retain the positions of the superpower, manipulate international law, persistently strive to change the existing conventional arms control regime in Europe in its favor, and to make it difficult for Russia to use its rights under the Open Skies Treaty.”

  • Shoigu cautioned about the development of the forward-based system of the North Atlantic bloc in the Baltic countries, Eastern and Southern Europe and that scale and intensity of the exercise has more than doubled, in which Ukraine and Georgia, which are not members of NATO. He went on to warn that these factors destroy the existing international security architecture.

  • The Defense Minister stated, “In this situation, we are forced to respond adequately, combining strategic deterrence measures with a systematic increase in the combat capabilities of the formations and military units.”

  • There are four regular/main Military Districts of the Russian Republic facing off against NATO and Central Europe.

Western Military District with headquarters in Saint Petersburg

Southern Military District with headquarters in Rostov-on-Don

Central Military District with headquarters in Ekaterinburg

Eastern Military District with headquarters in Khabarovsk

  • Shoigu stated that the share of modern weapons in the Western Military District was up to 54 percent, in the South 60 percent, and in the East up to 51 percent.

  • In accordance with the approved Action Plan, in 2019, the Western Military District, will be focused on the implementation of 142 organizational measures including: the formation of a mobile reserve anti-aircraft missile regiment; a tank regiment in the Baltic Fleet; two regiments in the 20th Army; a district technical missile base; a coastal missile division in the Baltic Fleet; the completion of elstva cantonments to the newly formed 3rd and the 144th motorized rifle divisions of the 20th Army and; maintaining combat readiness of 23 battalion tactical groups. The training of the Armed Forces of Russia and Belarus "Union Shield - 2019" and a special exercise with the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces of the CSTO "Interaction - 2019" have moved into the active phase. Without doubt, the Western Military District is in for a renaissance in renewed defense priorities after it was neglected in recent years in favor of the Southern Military District.

  • In the Southern Military District, there will be more than 30 main organizational measures, including: the formation of a missile brigade of two regiments; a missile division of the coastal missile complex "Ball" and; a Center for mobilization deployment. The formations and military units will receive more than 1,200 units of new and modernized equipment. The Southern Military District has been the darling of Russian force deployments of late because of its focus on confrontations in Georgia and Ukraine.

  • In the Eastern Military District, efforts are focused on the implementation of 56 organizational measures including: headquarters formation for a mixed aviation division; an anti-aircraft missile brigade. By the end of the year, 26 battalion tactical groups will be deployed in the district.

  • Strangely there was no mention of the Central Military District.


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