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Southern Military District (YUVO)

The Southern District [YuVO] is the main outpost of Russia. It is charged with the task of ensuring security in the Black Sea region and preventing the infiltration of terrorist groups in the North Caucasus, as well as supporting the Russian air forces campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Russian army is implementing a large-scale rearmament program. The Black Sea Fleet and the military group in the Caucasus region are provided with the latest models of weapons and military equipment as a matter of priority. Meanwhile, a new naval base is preparing to open on the Black Sea coast in Novorossiysk (930 miles south of Moscow), to host six 636.6 Varshavyanka-project diesel-electric submarines with Kalibr cruise missiles to defend against potential NATO action in the region.

The Southern Military District comprises several dozen formations of ground forces, airborne troops, naval infantry and coastal defense. Dvornikov will be also in charge of the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla, the Fourth Air Force and Air Defense Army as well as Russia's three "foreign" military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as in Armenia.

In the Southern Military District, an Army Corps and two motorized infantry divisions have already started combat training, the commander of the district Colonel-General Aleksandr Dvornikov said 10 February 2017. "At present, formed and began combat training 150th Motorized Rifle Division in the Rostov region, the 42nd motorized rifle division in the Chechen Republic, 22th Army Corps of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, a squadron of attack helicopters Ka-52 in the Krasnodar region and a number of other military formations", he said. [The formation of the 150th had been widely publicized, the 42nd not so much, wile the "22th Army Corps" cannot be identified].

Dvornikov said that the intensity of combat training of the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla in 2016 increased 1.5 times compared to 2015. In the course of combat training of the ship's structure has successfully completed more than 800 combat exercises, including the use of high-precision cruise missiles, sea-based "Calibre". Total naval crews of the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla exceeded targets by almost a third.

Motorized Control 150th Idritsa-Berlin Order of Kutuzov II Degree Division formed in the Rostov region in December 2016. The unit received not only the number but also the name of honor, as well as combat award for its famous predecessor, whose fighters - Sergeant Mikhail Yegorov and Meliton Kantaria sergeant - first hoisted the Red Flag on the Reichstag in May 1945.

The 42nd Evpatoriskaya Red Banner Guards Motorized Rifle Division YUVO was restored in late 2016 on the basis of three mechanized infantry brigades stationed in the Chechen Republic. The division is armed with self-propelled artillery "MSTA-C" T-72B3 tanks, BTR-82A, and the latest electronic warfare.

Background

Russias Defense Ministry began preparations for the Caucasus 2012 strategic command-and-staff exercise (SCSE) in late 2011. According to the ministrys official announcement, this years exercise will be held on a larger scale and more in line with the current military and political situation than the one held in 2011. The maneuvers took place not only in southern Russia, but also in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Armenia. The Caucasus 2012 SCSE, scheduled for September 2012, was the most important military event of the year. The preparations for the SCSE included real combat training missions in light of threats by the United States and several other countries against Iran, as well as other potential conflicts in the Caspian and South Caucasus regions.

These exercises had been conducted for several years already, but the 2012 event was significantly different from the previous ones. First, the exercise was strategic instead of merely operational-tactical. This means that missions in the Southern Military Districts responsibility zone were practiced by all branches and services of the armed forces, including the Air Force, Navy, Strategic Rocket Forces, Military Space Defense Forces, and Airborne Troops, as well as security forces from the Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service, Federal Protective Service and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The countrys entire military structure was involved in completing the SCSE missions. Second, one of the main objectives of the maneuvers was to drill new, network-centric combat operations involving new automated control systems. The first official announcement of these plans was made by Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov during a meeting with foreign military attachs in December 2011.

On March 16, 2014 the Republic of Crimea held a referendum on the future of the peninsula. An overwhelming majority of its people voted for reunification with Russia. On March 18, 2014, at a special ceremony held in the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the agreement on the accession of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation. The Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol are now part of Russias eighth (Crimean) federal district, which was established on March 21, 2014 by a presidential decree. The new members of the Russian Federation now had to be integrated into the countrys defense system. The newly established federal district was made part of the Southern Military District (Southern Joint Strategic Command).

Russia voluntarily notified members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of the snap combat readiness drills in the south of the country, head of Russia's National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, Sergei Ryzhkov, said 08 February 2016. Units of the Southern Military District, with participation of separate units of the Airborne Troops and military-transport aviation, started the snap exercises. "The Russian Federation has sent a notification to OSCE member-countries with details of the snap combat readiness drills in the Southern Military District as a gesture of goodwill," Ryzhkov said in a statement.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who ordered the combat readiness check, it will assess the preparedness of the Southern Military District to respond to terrorist threats, natural and man-made disasters, as well as testing their maneuvering potential on marches. Snap combat readiness inspections were commonplace in the USSR before its dissolution in 1991. The practice was renewed in 2012 after Shoigu assumed the post of defense minister.

In July 2016 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu transferred the chief of the Syrian operation, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov, to the post of the commander of Russia's main outpost, the Southern Military District. Experts believe, taking into account the appreciation for Dvornikov's work (Russian President Vladimir Putin personally handed the main award of the country the Gold Star of the Hero of Russia to the colonel-general), this step means that the main mission of the Russian armed forces in Syria has been completed.

Russia for the past three years had formed in the Southern Military District a total of 13 divisions and brigades and 22 regiments, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 27 July 2016 at a board meeting of the military "Starting in 2013 in the Southern Military District, more than 200 members of staff for activities aimed at improving the combat capabilities of troops ... [Russia] formed four divisions, nine brigades and 22 regiments including the establishment of two missile brigades equipped complexes." Iskander-M ", which allowed to increase the capacity to defeat a potential enemy firing", the Minister said.

Shoigu said that the number of contractors with increased almost twice. The SOther District [YuVO] received more than 4 million new and modernized weapons and military equipment, including coastal missile complexes "Bastion" and "Bal", as well as submarines and ships equipped with missile complex "Caliber." A self-contained group appeared on the Crimean Peninsula, the minister said.

According to Shoigu, this increase is caused by the aggravation of the military-political situation in the south-western strategic direction. "This is due to the build-up of NATO military presence in Eastern Europe, the situation in Ukraine and the activities of international terrorist groups, including the North Caucasus", - the minister said, adding that in such conditions, Russia is forced to "take appropriate measures".

Earlier, the head of the Defense Ministry said that the agency is forced to respond to the capacity of NATO's military capabilities in Europe, including through the formation of three new divisions in the Western and Southern military districts. According to Shoigu, in 2016 alone in the Western Military District received more than 2 million items of new and upgraded technology.

Joint exercise on war footage started 22 July 2016 in the Southern military district. As the Russian Defence Ministry reported, it involves units located in the North Caucus and the Crimean federal districts, as well as military units in Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 'The Air Forces, air defence, Black Sea Navy and the Caspian Flotilla, as well as all the military units of the Southern military district have been put on the highest level of alert,' the press service stated. Special attention was paid to cooperation of military staffs and command centers.

About 10,000 military men and over a 1,000 of military equipment have been also put on the highest level of alert in Chechnya. In the North Caucasus and South Ossetia about 16,000 military men and more than 4,000 of military equipment were engaged. Marine battalions of the Caspian Flotilla including more than 10 battle ships have been alarmed in Dagestan. In Armenia more than 4,000 people and about 600 units of military equipment are involved.




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