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MOSCOW, August 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Up to 3,000 personnel of special task forces representing member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Russian-led security alliance of former Soviet republics, are involved in the military drills that kicked off on Monday in Kazakhstan, a spokesman for the organization said.
“The aim of the drills, which consist of three stages, is to practice the use of military contingents and formations of the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force in the Central Asian region,” CSTO spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov said. “The drills will last until August 22.”
The CSTO, which is comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, regularly holds military drills on the territories of its member states, and the current exercise, codenamed Interaction 2014, is held at the Spassk military range in the Karaganda Region, in central Kazakhstan.
Along with 3,000 personnel, the drills also involve 200 military vehicles and some 30 combat jets and helicopters.
Last week Russian Airborne Force reported that military transport planes airlifted more than 500 paratroopers with military equipment and armaments to Kazakhstan within two days.
Russian paratroopers were joined by personnel from a Kazakhstan's air mobile brigade, a Belarusian special operations mobile brigade, a Kyrgyz special unit and an air assault unit from Tajikistan.
Zainetdinov earlier said the drills would for the first time practice measures to organize and conduct information and psychological war and ensure cyber-security.
This is the second military exercise of the CSTO member-states over the past month. Over two weeks ago the CSTO completed military drills codenamed Enduring Brotherhood-2014, which was held at Kyrgyzstan’s Ala-Too firing range near the capital of Bishkek.
Last year, the post-Soviet security organization held a total of six large-scale military exercises. The largest of them, codenamed Zapad-2013 (West-2013) was held last September in Belarus.
Zapad military drills have been held biannually since 2009 and last year’s six-day exercise involved up to 13,000 military servicemen from Russia and Belarus, some 350 armored combat vehicles, including 40 tanks, over 50 aircraft as well as warships from the Russian Baltic Fleet.