Russia to deploy 2 full-sized armies in Belarus

Following Russia’s Kavkaz-09 (June 29-July 10) military exercises, the large-scale Ladoga-09 exercises which began in north-west Russia on August 18 will be supplemented on September 8 by Zapad-09, in the course of which Russia will deploy two full-sized armies in Belarus. Milaz.info reports that Russia’s ground forces are now deployed in six military districts: Moscow, Leningrad, North Caucasus, Urals, Siberian, and Far Eastern.

Commenting in Novaya Gazeta’s military pages, Yuri Deryabin, head of Moscow’s Centre for Northern Europe, expresses the opinion that Russia’s government should make its position on North European security unequivocally plain. In addition to applying the economic muscle of the North Stream project, the Kremlin must demonstrate to Europe and the West that it has the military means to enforce its will in Northern Europe, especially in the Baltic, and the ongoing military exercises are an effective way of doing this.

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