We’ll make a bang

Agency WPS
April 9, 2004, Friday


SOURCE: Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 7, 2004, p. 2

by Olga Bozhieva

Russian and Belarusian Antiaircraft Forces were put an alert this
morning. A command exercise of the CIS United Antiaircraft System is
under way, run right near the western borders of the Commonwealth.

No general of the Russian or Belarusian Antiaircraft Forces could be
found at their desks on day two of the exercise. All of them
descended into underground command posts to practice “joint command
of antiaircraft forces and means in a deteriorating
military-political situation.”

Needless to say, “deterioration” means unpredictable or hostile
actions on the part of the Alliance. The official legend of the
exercise is approximately like that: actions of the CIS United
Antiaircraft System when terrorists hijack foreign planes or cross
the borders of the Commonwealth.

Planes imitating the potential enemy will make runs between Russian
and Belarusian airfields allegedly trespassing and land in nearby
countries. S-300 crews and fighters of the Antiaircraft Forces will
“destroy” them on LCDs.

Actual targets will be handled next week on Ashuluk near Astrakhan.
The Belarusians set out for Ashuluk on April 12 to “open the season”.

Lieutenant General Oleg Paferov, Belarusian Air Force and
Antiaircraft Forces Commander: Up to a dozen Belarusian batteries are
involved in shooting practice every year. Russia provides the
equipment, the testing site, and targets. Belarus spends much less on
Russian military objects on its territory than what Russia spends to
allow us to make use of its testing sites and shooting grounds free
of charge.

It means that “gas” and financial problems worry Russian and
Belarusian politicians only. The military is concerned with common
military threats.

The command exercise involves:

– over 100 units and formations of the Air Force and Antiaircraft

– over 80 aircraft from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Russia.

Russia is represented by the Special Task Command (Moscow, and
Leningrad, Rostov, and Yekaterinburg armies of the Air Force and
Antiaircraft Forces.