ULAN UDE, August 16. /TASS/. The Russian-Mongolian joint military exercise Selenga-2019 has kicked off at the Munkh Khet firing range in Mongolia, the press office of Russia’s Eastern Military District reported on Friday.
"A special ceremony was held at the Munkh Khet practice range to open the joint Russian-Mongolian military drills Selenga-2019, which involve up to 1,000 personnel of the Eastern Military District’s motor rifle large unit stationed in the town of Kyakhta (Buryatia) and the same number of troops from Mongolia," the press office said in a statement.
The opening ceremony was attended by Military Exercise Head from the Russian side Lieutenant-General Mikhail Nosulev and Military Exercise Head from the Mongolian side Brigadier General B. Amgalanbaatar, the statement says.
The state flags of the countries participating in the military exercise were raised and the national anthems were performed during a special ceremony. Servicemen of the Eastern Military District and the armed forces of Mongolia marched in a ceremonial parade in a single formation through the field ground. After the ceremonial part was over, the crews started preparing their combat hardware for the active phase of the drills and the Russian servicemen shared the experience of operating gun armament, transmission gear and engines in the conditions of heavy dust concentrations.
"The servicemen of Mongolia are displaying a special interest in the training as the Mongolian army operates Soviet-made special and combat hardware," the statement says.
During the active phase of the drills, the participating troops will practice assignments to jointly eliminate notional illegal armed formations and defend a community in a border area.
Russia’s Eastern Military District earlier reported that the Russian troops would involve about 300 weapon systems in the drills: 152mm Akatsiya howitzers, Grad multiple launch rocket systems, Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, T-72B3 tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, Mi-24 and Mi-8AMTSh helicopters from the District’s army aviation airfield located in the Trans-Baikal Region.
The Russian-Mongolian exercise Selenga runs on August 15-24 this year. The drills have been held annually since 2008. Before 2011, the military tactical drills with the live-fire exercise were dubbed Darkhan, which stands for ‘Builder’ in Mongolian. In 2011, the maneuvers were dubbed Selenga, which is the name of the river that originates on the territory of Mongolia, flows through the Republic of Buryatia in East Siberia and gets into Lake Baikal. Since then, the drills have focused on anti-terror activities.
In 2018, the maneuvers took place at the Burduny practice range in Buryatia and involved over 1,000 troops and up to 200 weapon systems from both sides.