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Armenian Military Starts ‘Strategic’ Drills


Armenia - An Armenian battle tank takes part in CSTO military exercises at the Marshal Bagramian shooting ground, 19Sep2012.

Armenia - An Armenian battle tank takes part in CSTO military exercises at the Marshal Bagramian shooting ground, 19Sep2012.

The Armenian military began on Monday what it described as month-long “strategic” exercises that will involve thousands of troops and army reservists.

The Defense Ministry in Yerevan said the war games will mainly take place in a “command-and-staff” format bringing together high-ranking officers of the Armenian General Staff, commanders of various army units as well as officials in charge of general mobilization.

A ministry source told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that they will end in a major field exercise involving combat troops, military hardware and live gunfire. The source said the entire process will also see the participation of a record-high number of army reservists.

Some of them have already been called up and sent to military camps. The reservists include men aged 50 or over. The military appears to have widened periodical training of its reserve personnel in recent years

In a written statement, the Defense Ministry said one of the objectives of the drills is to “examine and ascertain mobilization bodies and resources.” The army command and other state structures already did so when they simulated a coordinated response to the outbreak of a full-scale war during a three-day exercise in June.

The statement said the Armenian military will also conduct a “practical test” of its plans for the “deployment and combat use” of its forces and weaponry. The drills will help to improve their interoperability and “the level of the personnel’s field training,” it said.

The Defense Ministry announced plans to hold the war games in late August. A ministry spokesman called them “unprecedented.” He also said that they are not directly related to the tense situation along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan and “the line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh.
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