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Defence Minister’s report on the Vostok 2014 military exercises

September 23, 2014, Novorossiysk

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Vladimir Putin on the Vostok 2014 strategic command-and-staff exercises.

The report was made via video linkup from Kamchatka, where the headquarters of the Joint Command of forces in the North-East is located.

The Commander-in-Chief heard the report on board the large anti-submarine ship Vice Admiral Kulakov in Novorossiysk.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Shoigu. Do you see and hear me?

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Yes, Mr President, we can see and hear you well.

Vladimir Putin: For several days, from September 19 to 26 we have been holding the Vostok 2014 strategic command-and-staff exercises in the Eastern Military District. These are the largest exercises of this kind that we have ever held with 155,000 servicemen involved, along with 8,000 units of equipment, including over 600 aircraft, 80 combat and support vessels. The exercises are held in two stages.

Mr Shoigu, you have the floor, please.

Sergei Shoigu: Comrade Commander-in-Chief,

Today the strategic exercises in the Eastern Military District are in their active stage.

In line with your orders, a snap inspection of combat readiness of the troops and certain ministries and agencies was held a week before they began. Alerted were troops of the Eastern Military District, a number of control authorities, large units of troops from the Central Military District, Airborne Forces, long range and military transport aviation commands. As they assumed combat readiness and regrouped, the troops were deployed at testing ranges to implement training missions.

We implemented the mobilisation deployment of two military formations and six units. 6,500 reservists were summoned to training camps. Some 450 units of arms and military equipment were removed from storage and prepared for use.

Simultaneously, two battalion tactical groups were mobilised in the Western Military District. After relocation to Khabarovsk Territory and Sakhalin, they were supplied with additional equipment and transferred to the Eastern Military District. The troops were transported by rail and sea to distances less than 1,500 kilometres. Air transportation was used when distances between districts reached 10,000 kilometres, while distances within 1,000 kilometres were covered under own power. Military transportation aircraft carried two district and two army command posts to Sakhalin and Kamchatka.

I would like to note that the qualification and training level of the units’ operational staff have gone up, along with skills of the troops on the march. Cooperation in mobilisation between headquarters and military registration and enlistment offices and the authorities in the Russian regions has improved.

The inspection has shown that we need to improve the support system of troop movement in remote areas. Special emphasis has to be made on the advance storage of supplies and further development of military infrastructure in the East of the country.

The inspection of ministries and agencies included a mobilisation base deployment in the Trans-Baikal, Primorye, Khabarovsk and Kamchatka territories and Amur and Sakhalin regions. Special attention was given to maintaining cooperation of the ministries under inspection with Russian regions and the National Defence Centre of the Russian Federation.

Overall, the organisations involved in the inspection accomplished their tasks. The Transportation Ministry and the Communications Ministry practiced in training special units. The Federal Road Agency and the Federal Agency for Rail Transport provided technical support to defence rail and motor roads. The Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport transferred civilian vessels and port facilities to the Navy.

I would like to single out the coordinated action of the authorities in the Trans-Baikal and Khabarovsk territories, the leadership of the Russian Transportation Ministry and its subordinate organisations.

At the same time, the inspection has shown that some authorities have failed to take stock of the results of the Zapad 2013 exercises, when for the first time ministries and agencies exercised in the interests of the Armed Forces.

Certain drawbacks were obvious again during this inspection. Thus, due to the unpreparedness of the Sakhalin Regional Administration and the heads of certain organisations to function in wartime conditions, the call-up of reservists to training camps was not implemented in full. The task was implemented at the expense of other Russian regions.

Currently, together with the Chief Directorate for Special Programmes and all ministries and agencies concerned, we are analysing the results of the inspection and drafting proposals on how to resolve the problems that arose. We will report the results to you shortly.

Comrade Commander-in-Chief,

The snap inspection helped the troops to begin the Vostok 2014 strategic command-and-staff exercises on September 19 in an orderly manner. The manoeuvres are designed to train in protecting the interests and maintaining the military security of the Russian Federation in the East.

Overall, more than 155,000 servicemen are taking part in the exercises, along with 8,000 units of weapons and military equipment, including over 4,000 armoured vehicles, 632 aircraft and helicopters and 84 naval vessels. The troops are acting on 14 testing ranges in Sakhalin, Kamchatka and Chukotka and the south of Primorye. On the screen you can see some of the brightest weapon employment episodes.

Iskander-M missile units hit two targets at a distance of 200 kilometres. The combat crews demonstrated outstanding practical skills, including precision in hitting targets.

Two Tu-95MC aircraft launched cruise missiles at the simulated enemy at the Kura range. Simultaneously two MiG-31 craft of the Pacific Fleet naval aviation intercepted and destroyed them in flight.

Today was the most important stage of practical action in the Kamchatka line of operations. For the first time a multiservice grouping conducted an operation against marine landing troops near Skalisty Cape on a territory covering 126,000 square kilometres, including 120,000 of the Pacific Ocean waters.

Today S-300 missile systems destroyed two missile targets launched from surface craft. Two Granit anti-ship cruise missiles were successfully launched from nuclear powered submarine cruisers Tver and Omsk from submerged positions. Simultaneously a cruise missile launched from the Varyag cruiser hit an enemy surface target. Target destruction was confirmed by Forpost drones.

The Rubezh shore defence missile system operating together with fleet destroyer Bystry conducted a group missile attack at surface targets located at a distance of 120 kilometres, the targets being destroyed. In the vicinity of Skalisty Cape, army and navy aviation craft made some 70 combat training flights. They trained in the take-off and landing of two craft on a specially prepared section of the Vladivostok-Khabarovsk motorway, which makes it possible to significantly expand the manoeuvrability of combat aviation of the Armed Forces in the East of the country.

In the final stage of practical action in Kamchatka, units of the 36th army and 40th brigade of coastal troops conducted training in anti-assault landing defence of the coast.

The 68th army corps and the Pacific Fleet jointly landed marines on the islands of Sakhalin and Wrangel, the operation was conducted at night.

Overall, the exercises are being conducted as planned. We can already draw some preliminary conclusions.

The supply of up-to-date weapons and equipment helped improve the fire, strike and manoeuvre capabilities of military units and troops. New communication equipment and mechanisation helped maintain the stability and operational control of multiservice groups. Intensive combat training and snap inspections were instrumental in raising the level of training of military authorities and the cohesion of units.

I would like to single out the actions of troops in the Arctic area. We continue the development of the Arctic military infrastructure to protect the interests of the Russian Federation in that region. During the exercises, a group of combat ships of the Northern Fleet jointly with ships of the Murmansk shipping line and icebreakers of the Russian Nuclear Powered Fleet delivered staff and equipment to the island of Kotelny (the Novosibirsk islands archipelago).

The Pantsir-C short-range air defence system shot at a target launched from the Rubezh mobile coastal missile system. The target was hit.

Cruise missiles were also launched by Kinzhal units from the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Levchenko, also in the Novosibirsk islands archipelago. Work is almost complete on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt to prepare radar units and air direction centres for combat duty. For the first time a tactical air landing operation was performed on Wrangel Island by staff of the 83rd separate assault landing brigade of Airborne Forces troops and the 155th separate naval landing brigade of the Pacific Fleet.

The exercises will continue until September 25. Upon the return of the troops to their permanent deployment sites, we will conduct a complete analysis of their actions and present the results to you as soon as possible.

My report is over.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

I would like to thank you, all the senior executives of the Ministry, officers and servicemen, all who took part and are still taking part in the exercises.

I would like to see not only a report, but also an analysis of everything that was done, with an indication of the problems that were singled out in the course of the exercises. In the final stage, the Presidential Control Directorate will join you to assess the quality of the actions of the ministries, agencies and territorial and regional authorities of the Russian Federation that took part in these exercises.

Thank you.

September 23, 2014, Novorossiysk