Russian motor riflemen and airborne troops are holding a large-scale exercise on Wednesday, involving bomber aircraft and helicopters, as part of snap combat-readiness checks in the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet.
The maneuvers at the Shary range north of the Arctic Circle were supervised by the chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson told reporters on Wednesday.
"According to the draft of this episode of the drills, the 200th NF Separate Motor Rifle Brigade was put on alert and left Pechenga and, having performed a multi-kilometer march, occupied the designated positions. A task was set to destroy a mock insurgency group," the ministry said.
The brigade units occupied fairly long positions and had the "seams" between them reinforced by paratroopers dropped from helicopters. To engage with the mock adversary were troops from the 98th Airborne Division, who arrived in the Murmansk region from Ivanovo yesterday.
"Exploration of mock enemy positions and target-setting were conducted by drones. At the decision of the NF command, strikes against its (hostile) areas of concentration were carried out by four Sukhoi Su-24 bombers and Mil Mi-24 fire support helicopters," the ministry said.
Two Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor fighters were also employed to support aviation, it said.
The aerial maneuvers involved all 27 Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters which flew from their base near St. Petersburg to an air base in Olenya yesterday.
"At the final stage of the drills, Mi-24 helicopters carried out a missile and bomb attack against a detected group of insurgents. Grad rockets were also fired," the ministry said.
The troops were not informed about their missions in advance and had to act in real time. One of the main tasks of this episode was to test all troops and how they accomplish their missions under Arctic conditions, the ministry said.
Russian Supreme Commander in Chief Vladimir Putin has decided to check the readiness of Northern Fleet units and to assess the possibility of their reinforcement from central districts of Russia for operations under complex climatic conditions, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the National Defense Center.
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