Vladimir Putin oversees huge military exercises within striking distance of Europe


Russian President Vladimir Putin was today overseeing huge military exercises within striking distance of Europe, including a beach invasion by the world’s largest hovercraft.

Some 2,000 servicemen and more than 200 pieces of military equipment featured in the drill, as troops stormed ashore in a war game in Kaliningrad, on the Russian border with the European Union

Elsewhere, Putin attended military exercises, which are being jointly held with Belarus, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia, at the Mulino range in the Nizhny Novgorod region in his role as commander-in-chief of Russia’s armed forces. 

Nine ranges in Russia, including in the Baltic Sea, and five in Belarus are hosting the joint military exercises which are worrying Ukraine. 

In Kaliningrad, footage showed the huge landing exercise involving the Baltic fleets and others on the Zubr-class LCAC, the world’s largest hovercraft.

Intended to sealift assault units from vessels to shores, the Soviet-designed hovercraft can also transport and plant naval mines.

Russia, Belarus and others are staging huge military exercises, which included a beach invasion by the world's largest hovercraft (pictured)

Russia, Belarus and others are staging huge military exercises, which included a beach invasion by the world’s largest hovercraft (pictured)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) was today overseeing huge military exercises at the Mulino range in the Nizhny Novgorod region

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) was today overseeing huge military exercises at the Mulino range in the Nizhny Novgorod region

Nine ranges in Russia, including in the Baltic Sea, and five in Belarus are hosting the joint military exercises which are worrying Ukraine

 Nine ranges in Russia, including in the Baltic Sea, and five in Belarus are hosting the joint military exercises which are worrying Ukraine

In another video, Russian helicopter gunships were seen in action in the Zapad-2021 large-scale drills evolving 200,000 troops intended to highlight Russia's military readiness to the West - and neighbouring Ukraine

In another video, Russian helicopter gunships were seen in action in the Zapad-2021 large-scale drills evolving 200,000 troops intended to highlight Russia’s military readiness to the West – and neighbouring Ukraine

There are just 10 such hovercrafts active at present, two with the Russian navy, four with the Greek navy and four with the Chinese navy.

Before the troops landed, a squad of attack ships launched an artillery barrage along the coast to neutralise defences.

The landings by paratroopers and marines were supported by Su-30SM multirole fighters and Su-24 frontline bombers of the Baltic Fleet.

In another video, Russian helicopter gunships were seen in action in the Zapad-2021 large-scale drills evolving 200,000 troops intended to highlight Russia’s military readiness to the West – and neighbouring Ukraine.

The ‘helicopter carousel’ attacks by Mi-35s and Mi-24s were aimed at inflicting continuous fire damage on communications, command posts and communication routes of the areas occupied by the ‘enemy’. 

Tanks fire during the Zapad-2021 joint military drills at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region, some 350 kilometres east of Moscow

Tanks fire during the Zapad-2021 joint military drills at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region, some 350 kilometres east of Moscow

Tanks and helicopters are seen during drills at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region on Monday

Tanks and helicopters are seen during drills at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region on Monday

Helicppters fly in formation during military exercises on Monday

Helicppters fly in formation during military exercises on Monday

Russia is staging the Zapad-2021 military drills in conjunction with Belarus, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia

Russia is staging the Zapad-2021 military drills in conjunction with Belarus, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia

L-R: Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to Volga Federal District Igor Komarov

L-R: Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to Volga Federal District Igor Komarov

A Russian BM-21 truck-mounted 122mm multiple rocket launcher fires during the drills

A Russian BM-21 truck-mounted 122mm multiple rocket launcher fires during the drills

The drills are due to end on 16 September but Russia has announced that its forces will not all return to their military bases until mid-October, the defence ministry said, without providing an explanation for the delayed return.   

The massive drills plus an announcement of closer ties between Russia and dictatorship Belarus have spooked Ukraine. 

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned: ‘The scenarios practiced there represent serious risks [to Ukraine].

‘We understand that if Russia absorbs Belarus in one way or another, we will have 1,000 kilometres of additional danger to our sovereignty and territorial integrity.’

His predecessor Pavlo Klimkin warned that Russia was seeking to almost encircle Ukraine with forces, and called for a plea for help from NATO.

The exercises are on-going across a swathe of Russia from the Baltic to the borders of Ukraine, while separate drills are underway in the Arctic.    

In exercises in the Arctic, Russian nuclear-powered submarine Oryol was shown firing a Granit anti-ship cruise missile in the Barents Sea, where waters were closed to non-naval vessels during the high-latitude war games. 

The massive drills plus an announcement of closer ties between Russia and dictatorship Belarus have spooked Ukraine

The massive drills plus an announcement of closer ties between Russia and dictatorship Belarus have spooked Ukraine

The exercises are on-going across a swathe of Russia from the Baltic to the borders of Ukraine, while separate drills are underway in the Arctic

The exercises are on-going across a swathe of Russia from the Baltic to the borders of Ukraine, while separate drills are underway in the Arctic 

Thousands of troops and pieces of heavy machinery were featured in the exercises, which are due to end on September 16

Thousands of troops and pieces of heavy machinery were featured in the exercises, which are due to end on September 16



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