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KOTELNY ISLAND, March 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's airborne troops for the first time in the world have conducted an operation of mass landing of paratroopers, equipment, weapons and cargoes with parachutes from planes in the Arctic, the Airborne Troops' Commander Vladimir Shamanov said here on Friday. He is in command of the exercises.
For Russia and the world on the whole, those were the first such-scale exercises held in the Arctic, he noted.
The decision for the troops to land in the region was taken at the last moment due to severe weather conditions, he said. The acceptable wind speed is no more than ten m/sec, but it was 12-14 m/sec near the ground and more than 15 m/sec at higher altitudes, he explained. "You may be proud of our paratroopers who cope with set tasks under any conditions. Under such conditions, nobody in the world, but only we make parachute jumps. Fortunately, here we retain leading positions in the world," Shamanov stressed.
On Thursday, more than 1,500 paratroopers and six armored vehicles landed in the Rostov Region in the Southern Military District. The troops were preparing to board the planes again and land near Yaroslavl, the commander said. "Thus, along with combat readiness, we test hardiness of paratroops," he noted.
Shamanov also said the Russian airborne troops were also conducting exercises near Belgorod, Kursk and Tambov.As it was reported earlier, a battalion of paratroopers numbering 350 people of the 98th airborne division successfully landed on the Temp ground on Kotelny Island (the New Siberian islands) at 03:30 Moscow time on Friday (23:30 GMT, Thursday), the first mass landing of paratroopers in the Arctic region in Russia's history. Ilyushin-76 planes were used in the operation.
Cargoes needed for the troops, equipment and military vehicles on special platforms landed onto the ground 15 minutes before the landing of paratroopers, an Itar-Tass correspondent reported from the site.
The personnel landed with the use of Arbalet special-purpose controlled parachute systems.
A spokesman for the airborne troops, Yevgeny Meshkov, told reporters here that paratroopers put in order the landed cargoes and equipment. According to the scenario of the exercises, during the landing and gathering of personnel, "enemy" groups in snowmobiles and paragliders opened fire. After the landing, the paratroopers in 40 minutes coped with the task to seize the airfield and establish control there. An advance group "destroyed" the mobile groups of the "enemy". Then, in less than an hour, the paratroopers were ready to receive transport planes with the main forces and heavy weapons on the airfield.