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CSTO rapid deployment force begins drills in Belarus

September 19, 2013, 15:17 UTC+3

The international drills involve over 600 servicemen, about 60 units of combat hardware and up to 15 planes

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MOSCOW, September 19 (Itar-Tass) - The Vzaimodeistviye-2013 (Interaction-2013) military exercises of the Collective rapid deployment force of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) were officially kicked off at the Osipovichsky firing range in Belarus on Thursday, CSTO press secretary Vladimir Zainetdinov told Itar-Tass on Friday.

According to Zainetdinov, these drills are being held concurrently with other military exercises, the Russian-Belarusian strategic drills Zapad-2013. The Vzaimodeistviye-2013 exercises will drill skills of the collective rapid deployment force in case of terrorist groups’ penetration into the territory of a member state of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The drills involve over 600 servicemen, about 60 units of combat hardware and up to 15 planes and helicopters from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The Russian armed grouping makes a third of all participants in the drills. The paratroopers will be represented by two operative groups, namely the command staff and a tactical battalion of the 31st guards separate air assault (peacekeeping) brigade, which includes an air assault company, a self-propelled artillery squadron and a reconnaissance platoon. The Russian Air Force is represented by six airplanes IL-76MD from Tver and six helicopters of army aviation.

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