The exercise codenamed as Caucasus2016 follows a period of heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine after the Kremlin accused Kiev of plotting terror attacks against Russians in Crimea.
On Monday, the Russian forces began a massive military exercise to test troops’ combat readiness and cooperation between different branches of the country’s armed forces. The exercise, involving over 12,500 servicemen including Navy, Airborne and Aerospace units was conducted in the south of Russia.
The war games, codenamed Caucasus2016, will be carried out over six days ending on September 10 according to an announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defense. The exercises aim to assess and improve the skills of military commanders “in planning, preparation and conducting of combat operations.”
The massive war games are likely to grab the attention of Western analysts who continue to call for a more aggressive posture towards Russia in light of recent demonization of the country surrounding accusations tied to the 2016 US presidential election and with tensions simmering in the Ukraine providing a convenient excuse to escalate anti-Russian provocations.
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) September 5, 2016
Some have referred to this as the “Summer of Provocation” after NATO engaged in unprecedented military exercises led by Germany along Poland’s border with Russia featuring over 30,000 troops and advanced military hardware. The exercises, known as the Anaconda War Games, were the largest foreign military buildup along Poland’s border since the Nazis invaded in World War II and occurred on the 75th anniversary of that invasion.
Given the increasingly hostile foreign relations environment that Russia finds itself in vis-à-vis the West there is certainly an urgency to test troop preparedness and communication.
The drills additionally look to test new military equipment in field conditions, according to the statement by the Russian Defense Ministry including the country’s top of the line combat helicopters, fighter jets and battlefield tanks.
The exercises will involve Crimea on Ukraine’s border and will feature cooperative efforts of the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Sea Flotilla and follow a period of heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow accused Kiev of sending sbaoteurs into the Crimean Peninsula to carry out terror attacks.