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    Defense Official Explains Russian Drills, Mocks US 'Boy Scout March'

    Wikipedia /Lance Corporal Holly A. Williams
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    Atlantic Resolve: NATO at Russia's Gates (43)
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    Deputy Defense Minister Antonov explained the nature of Russian combat readiness drills on Thursday, and offered his critique of US exercises taking place at Russia's borders.

    Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov explained the nature of the Russian snap combat readiness drills which began on Monday, contrasting them with the upcoming US exercises, which he compared to a "Boy Scout March."

    "More than anything, they organize some sort of Boy Scout marches, or as we call them, pioneers, who go around with suspenders on and carry colorful flags."

    On Saturday, following "Hedgehog 2015" (Siil 2014) exercises in Estonia, which are part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve, the US military plans to begin its "Dragoon Ride," a 1,700 kilometer road march across six countries, from Estonia to Germany. The road march will involve 150 soldiers and officers from the 3rd Motorized Infantry squadron of the 2nd US Cavalry regiment. Over 40 vehicles, including 20 Stryker IAVs will be part of the kilometer-long armored column, and the Strykers alone will consume around 15,000 liters (4,000 US gallons) of fuel.

    Antonov contrasted the exercises and resultant march to Germany with Russia's combat readiness drills which began in the country's Western and Central Military Districts on Monday:

    "This is not a clanging of tank treads, or a rattling of sabres, or a flexing of muscles. We don't act like some countries, which cockily demonstrate their strength at Russia's borders, transferring their personnel, armaments and equipment to foreign territory."

    Antonov added that Russia is welcoming all foreign military attaches to come to the National Military Control Center on Saturday, where the combat readiness drills will be explained. Saying that the readiness drills "confirmed the importance, necessity and efficacy of raising combat readiness."

    "It is important that drills of this sort become a routine part of the Army and Navy's existence. These sorts of drills will be continued in the future."

    On Monday, the Russian military began snap combat readiness drills involving the Northern Fleet, the Western Military District and the Russian Airborne Forces. The drills, which involve around 80,000 troops, as well asthousands of units of ground military equipment, dozens of ships, submarines, planes and helicopters, are scheduled to end on Saturday.

    Topic:
    Atlantic Resolve: NATO at Russia's Gates (43)

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    Tags:
    NATO, military drills, criticism, IAV Stryker, Western Military District, US Army Europe, Russian Navy, Airborne Assault Forces (VDV), Russian Defense Ministry, Anatoly Antonov, Estonia, Russia
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