19:05 GMT +324 September 2018
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    Exceptional Security: Goals of Russian FSB Spetsnaz Drills in Crimea (VIDEO)

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    On Wednesday, special units of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) completed the first stage of large-scale drills in Crimea. Spetsnaz forces neutralized simulated enemy forces that captured a drilling rig and 150 hostages.

    The maneuvers involved combat swimmers and paratroopers as well as armored vehicles, amphibious boats, drones and advanced reconnaissance equipment.

    "The results of the first stage of the exercise prove that FSB special purpose units are well prepared for counterterrorist missions at maritime facilities of different types," the FSB reported in a statement for media.

    A total of 2,000 servicemen will be involved in the three-stage drills, which are scheduled to end on May 29. The second stage of the drills will take place at a resort complex in Yevpatoria. The final stage will include training activities in coastal and mountain and woody areas. 

    Spetsnaz drills in Crimea are a response to the current challenges and threats, first of all coming from Ukraine, including sabotage activities and terrorist attack attempts in Crimea, according to Ruslan Balbek, a member of the Russian State Duma from Crimea.

    According to the lawmaker, the Russian Special Forces prove they are ready to respond to all kinds of threats, protecting Crimean residents and visitors.

    Alexander Zhilin, head of the Center for Social Aspects of National Security, underscored the importance of such an exercise can hardly be overestimated.

    "Our special forces are practicing repelling attacks on different kinds of facilities in Crimea. But the number one task is to protect people from terrorist attacks. This is why it is difficult to overestimate the importance of these drills. It is important that special forces units practice preventing sabotage activities. Everyone in Crimea can feel safe because security measures trained in real life are very reliable," Zhilin told Radio Sputnik.

    The first stage of the drills took place at oil-producing facilities of the company Chernomorneftegaz. The company said that its drilling platforms are high-risk facilities.

    "FSB special units are practicing possible sabotage activities by Ukraine. There have been several incidents," one of the company’s representative told journalists.

    Russian military, security expert and journalist Boris Rozhin said that Kiev has repeatedly organized provocations in the area.

    "Since Ukraine does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia Kiev has claims for Chernomorneftegaz’s drilling rigs. There have been a number of provocations. For example, last year a Ukrainian reconnaissance plane flew in the area and reportedly came under fire. Later, the incident was used by Kiev for a massive information campaign. Possibly, there will be new provocations in order to escalate the situation," he said in an interview with Radio Sputnik.

    According to the expert, the current drills of FSB special forces units are very important.

    "Countermeasures are needed to prevent provocations. These drills are not only about training. They have a practical goal. In order to prevent new provocations, Russia should demonstrate that it is ready to respond with force to any aggressive attempts," Rozhin concluded.

     

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    Tags:
    military drills, terrorism, Spetsnaz, FSB, Crimea, Ukraine, Russia
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