MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry is reinforcing the 20th combined army in the Western Military District. As a source at the General Staff told TASS, the army being reformatted will be complemented with more units and troops from other military districts.
"The General Staff and the Western Military District’s command have been working tightly on determining and specifying the personnel and hardware of the 20th combined army," the source said. "In particular, questions are being decided of complementing the army with units from other military districts and forming more mechanized infantry, armour, artillery, missile, reconnaissance and other brigades," he said.
"The amount of work to be accomplished is vast, indeed," he said, adding that the 20th army should be recreated anew by December 1. "The army’s command center is based on the premises of the former 1st command of the Air Force and Air Defense (the current 6th Air Force and Air Defense Army) before it was moved to St. Petersburg.
Earlier, a source at the General Staff told TASS that the current 20th army would in fact be formed anew, because most of its units were being transferred to a newly-created 1st tank army. As at the end of July the 20th army incorporated the 9th tank brigade from Nizhny Novgorod.
In the Western Military District (created in 2010 on the basis of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts and the Northern and Baltic Fleets with headquarters in St. Petersburg) there has been created the 6th Leningrad Air Force and Air Defense Army. Its area of responsibility includes 2 million square kilometers of airspace and 3,000 kilometers of the state border. It is armed with Sukhoi Su-34, Su-35S and Su-30MS jets, Kamov Ka-52, Mil Mi-28N, Mi-35, and Mi-MTV5 helicopters, and S-300, S-400 and Pantsir-S air defense systems.
Also, the Western Military District has formed the 14th Air Force and Air Defense Army, with its area of responsibility consisting of 29 territories of Russia and more than 3,000 kilometers of the state border. It is armed with MiG-31BM interceptor fighters, Sukhoi Su-24M frontline bombers, Mil Mi-8AMTSH, Mi-24 and Mi-26 helicopters and S-300 PS air defense systems. As assistant to the district’s commander, Yaroslav Roshchupkin, told TASS earlier, "the army includes units of the 2nd Air Force and Air Defence Command stationed in the Volga River area, the Urals and Siberia.
In the Western Military District the Defense Ministry plans to create a new tank army by December 1. The 1st Tank Army will incorporate the Tamanskaya Mechanized Infantry Division and the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, as well as the 27th Sevastopolskaya Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the 6th Tank Brigade.
Another tank army will be formed near Moscow by December.
Earlier, Airborne Troops Commander Vladimir Shamanov said that on the basis of Russia’s paratroops a rapid reaction force was to be created. The force would have a dual capability of operating on its own or in combination with ground troops. A source at the General Staff told TASS the strength of airborne troops would grow from 45,000 officers and men to 60,000.