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Paratroopers land in northwest Russia in rapid reaction force drills

August 18, 2016, 13:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Over 300 Russian paratroopers are taking part in the Interaction-2016 military drills organized by the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. Over 300 Russian paratroopers have landed in the Pskov Region in northwest Russia in the Interaction-2016 military drills of the rapid reaction forces organized by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Thursday.

"As part of the main stage of the Interaction-2016 joint drills, paratroopers from the 31st separate air assault peace-keeping brigade (Ulyanovsk) landed near Pskov on an unknown site, covering a distance of more than 1,500 km by air before landing. Overall, more than 300 servicemen and six pieces of the armor were landed," the Defense Ministry’s press office said.

Eight Ilyushin Il-76 planes took off from Vostochny airfield in Ulyanovsk early in the morning of August 18 to airlift the paratroopers. Special Arbalet-2 and D-10 parachute systems were used for airborne landing.

"According to the exercises’ scenario, the paratroopers have performed airborne landing to seize a notional enemy’s airfield and retain it until the arrival of the main forces. Also, an advance reconnaissance detachment from the 98th division of the Airborne Force held reconnaissance and search operations, blocked and destroyed the command posts of illegal armed formations after seizing bridge-crossing sites in the area of responsibility of the rapid reaction collective forces," the Defense Ministry said.

The CSTO is holding rapid reaction force drills on August 16-19. It was earlier reported that the maneuvers would involve about 6,000 troops or thrice as many as last year. More than 50 aircraft and helicopters have also been involved in the drills.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

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