WHY DOES RUSSIA NEED SO MANY JOINT EXERCISES?

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The majority of military analysts did not focus attention on the latest visit by the commander of the 1st field army of the South Korean Army to Khabarovsk. In the meantime, the Korean general raised a very important topic linked with active participation of the Russian Armed Forces in military exercises in the Eastern and South-Eastern theaters of war. The South Korean officer stated that units of the Far Eastern military district and the 1st field army of South Korea will soon conduct a joint exercise.

The general stated after his meeting with Yury Yakubov, commander of the Far eastern military district, on March 1, “I think that we will probably conduct this exercise in the near future involving the Air Force and anti-aircraft units.” The media reports that the commander of the Far Eastern military district supported his Korean counterpart’s idea but noted that, “the decision to conduct joint exercises must be made by the General Staff of the two countries”. Meanwhile, a high-ranking military-diplomatic source in Moscow stated that it is hardly likely that Russian units will participate in joint exercises with South Korea in 2005. He said, “Firstly, this requires a political decision. Secondly, such exercises require funds, which are not stipulated in the 2005 budget.”

In other words, the statements made by the Russian and South Korean generals can be considered as incorrect from the political point of view. At the same time, there is no smoke without flames. It is possible that the Russian and South Korean Foreign Ministries discuss the prospects of joint exercises. Moscow has become a very important player for Seoul in its relations with Pyongyang.

To all appearances, joint exercises organized by the Russian and South Korean Armies must show North Korea that times have changed, and North Korea does not have many allies. This would be an advantage for Seoul. However, why does Russia do this? Why does Moscow need to intervene in the conflict on the Korean peninsula?

In the meantime, participation in joint exercises on foreign theaters of war has become a very important aspect of Russia’s military policy. Russia and China have reached an agreement to conduct joint exercises in the Yellow Sea. This issue was discussed in Moscow in early March.

Judging from the preliminary plan of the exercise, which is to be conducted in China in August-September, the Il-76 military-transport planes will land troops and several military vehicles on Chinese territory. The Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers will launch cruise missiles at targets at sea. Warships of the Pacific fleet, including one submarine, will enter the zone of maneuvers. The Su-27SM fighters will cover the group. Sources in the Russian Defense Ministry state that this will be a peacekeeping exercise.

A high-ranking general of the Russian Defense Ministry stated, “We will organize a hypothetical peacekeeping operation involving Russian and Chinese troops. In addition, this will be an anti-terrorist exercise.”

In the meantime, the strategic bombers, the Air Force and submarines cannot be called peacekeeping or anti-terrorist tools. The character and structure of troops prompt an offensive operation.

Academician Vladimir Popov stated in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta, “The great China seeks to re-conquer its territory – the island of Taiwan. It is hard for China to do this without allies. This is why it needs Russia.” It is hard to disagree with such a conclusion.

In addition, Russia will participate in military exercises in the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea, Germany, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other countries. Why does Russia need so many joint exercises? Does it want to feel the greatness of the former USSR? We know how it ends… Such policy leads only to higher military expenses and poverty of the population…

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