General Staff, Main Intelligence Dept ask Shoigu to set up Special Operations Command

A group of high-ranking officers of the General Staff and the Main Intelligence Department has requested Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to evaluate the need to form a special operations command in Russia, Izvestia reported on Tuesday.

The project authors have asked for a meeting with the minister, a high-ranking representative of the Defense Ministry told Interfax.

"Representatives of the General Staff and the Main Intelligence Department offered their project to the then-minister in October 2012, but Anatoly Serdyukov rejected it as inexpedient without further explanations," the source said.

The special operations command is supposed to become an umbrella for the Defense Ministry's Senezh special purpose center (directly subordinated to the minister), a Spetsnaz brigade from a military district, a helicopter squadron from the Torzhok army aviation training center and a squadron of Ilyushin Il-76 transport jets based at the Migalovo airfield near Tver, Izvestia said.

"The task of creating this command was set in 2008," it noted.

The command may accomplish a broad range of important missions, such as the liberation of hostages on enemy territory, evacuation of citizens from local conflict zones and elimination of militants. In full-scale warfare, it may eliminate enemy political and military leaders as well as strategic sites, communication posts, nuclear missile launchers and other important infrastructure, the newspaper said.

The ministry source told the newspaper that the command had actually been created. Torzhok helicopter crews started joint training with Senezh four years ago. The transport jets based in Tver have been engaged in Spetsnaz operations for approximately the same period.

"The only decision left is about Army Spetsnaz. It could be a brigade from Tambov or one of the two brigades in the Southern Military District," the officer said.

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