MOSCOW, April 3 (Itar-Tass) - The Rapid Reaction Force of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) code-named “Vzaimodeistviye-2013” (Cooperation-2013) will be held in Belarus in September, Colonel Alexander Kucherenko of the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday, April 3.
The manoeuvres were discussed recently at a planning conference in Minsk, which was attended by a delegation of the Russian Airborne Troops Command.
The CSTO Rapid Reaction Force includes two Russian paratrooper units: the 98th Airborne Division stationed in Ivanovo and the 31st Air Assault Brigade based in Ulyanovsk.
Units from the 98th Airborne Division took part in the previous exercise in Armenia in September 2012.
The exercise involved about 2,000 troops from six CSTO countries: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The participating troops practiced interoperability and use of collective security system means in the Caucasus, with the support of aviation and artillery units, including multiple rocket launchers.
A general training day was intended to check on the operability of commanding staffs and coherency of the participating troops.
The main stage of the manoeuvres involved a show for foreign diplomats and foreign mass media as well as a special operation to respond to a terrorist threat and deal with the consequences of an emergency situation. Interior Ministry, Emergencies Ministry and rescue service units participated.
“The philosophy of the exercise is to respond to a situation quickly and effectively using the smallest possible number of troops,” Armenian Defence Ministry spokesperson Artsrun Oganesyan said back then.
The Russian contingent was provided with arms and military equipment by the 102nd Russian Military Base which is deployed in Armenia in accordance with an interstate treaty.
The CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force is to be used to repulse military aggression, to launch special operations against international terrorism and against forcible manifestations of extremism, as well as against trans-national organised crime, against drug trafficking, and to cope with the aftermaths of emergency situations of natural and industrial origin.
According to the agreement, the decision on operational deployment and use of the rapid reaction force is made by the Collective Security Council at the request of one or a group of member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, based on the suggestions made by the Council of the Defence Ministers.
The CSTO is a military-political alliance of seven countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Such joint exercises were held in Russia in 2010, in Tajikistan in 2011 and Armenia in 2012.