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Russian army’s combat capability unaffected by coronavirus pandemic

In summer, more than 3,600 military exercises are scheduled to be held, including Kavkaz-2020 strategic command and staff drills

MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. The combat capability of Russia’s Armed Forces has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 spread has not seriously impacted the Russian army’s operations, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin via a video link-up from the National Defense Management Center on Tuesday.

"Amid the new challenges caused by the spread of the coronavirus infection, the Armed Forces did not allow a reduction in combat effectiveness and continue carrying out planned combat training activities. In general, the situation related to the spread of coronavirus infection has not had any significant impact on the activities of the armed forces," the minister said.

In particular, strategic nuclear forces are maintained at a level that guarantees strategic deterrence. "After your orders to transfer new equipment to us, related to both the submarine fleet and the surface fleet, all measures have been taken and the tests are underway as scheduled. I hope that we will receive this equipment within the agreed timeframe," the minister said.

Russia’s long-range aviation continues patrolling missions along Russia’s borders. "Here we also have received modernized equipment - Tu-22 planes. These are basically new aircraft. <...> Today it is being modernized at Kazan’s plants on a mass scale," Shoigu said.

Currently, 57 warplanes and support vessels are at the sea, including 30 in the off-shore maritime zone. "The Russian force grouping in Syria continues fulfilling peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks," Shoigu stressed.

According to Shoigu, the plan of training forces in winter had been implemented in full. Only a small part of joint exercises with foreign colleagues have been rescheduled for June-August, he noted.

Conscription campaign is now underway in Russia. Since May 20, conscripts are being sent to the forces in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures, Shoigu said.

In summer, more than 3,600 military exercises are scheduled to be held, including Kavkaz-2020 strategic command and staff drills. In late August, the Army-2020 International Military and Technical Forum and International Army Games are expected to be conducted.

Shoigu noted that major focus will be made on preparing for Kavkaz-2020 drills, involving the troops from six countries, including from the member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.