President Serzh Sarkisian met with members of his National Security Council on Thursday at the start of “strategic command-and-staff military exercises” that will simulate Armenia’s response to foreign aggression.
The four-day exercises codenamed “Shant-2015” (Lightning-2015) are involving not only the Armenian military but also other state bodies, including those responsible for mass mobilization and evacuation of civilian residents from border settlements in times of war.
It was not immediately clear how many soldiers and pieces of military hardware will join the exercises later this week. The Armenian Defense Ministry said it will divulge more details on Friday.
The ministry first announced preparations for the drills on August 6, saying that they will test the military’s coordination with other bodies in case of an “escalation of the military-political situation” around Armenia.
Senior Armenian military officials briefed Yerevan-based foreign military attaches on the upcoming war games at a meeting on Wednesday. A Defense Ministry statement quoted them as saying that the participating Armenian agencies will practice coordination of their actions “during a repulsion of aggression.” It said they also stressed that “the imaginary enemy and situation envisaged by the war game scenario are maximally adapted to the existing reality.”
It was an apparent reference to Azerbaijan’s regular threats of a military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The presidential press office said that during the mock emergency session of the National Security Council Sarkisian issued “instructions stemming from the war game scenario to relevant state bodies.”