Agency WPS
September 3, 2004, Friday


SOURCE: Krasnaya Zvezda, August 31, 2004, p. 3

by Oleg Gorupai

The United Army Group of the Russian and Armenian Armed Forces ran a
tactical exercise at the testing site of the Training Center of the
Armenian Defense Ministry named after marshal of the Soviet Union
Bagramjan. The exercise included shooting practice elements. Armenia
was represented by servicemen of the 549th Separate Motorized
Infantry Regiment (Commander - Colonel Vaan Arsenjan), 523rd Separate
Armored Battalion, multiple rocker launcher battery of BM-21s, two
reconnaissance groups, company of sappers, special platoon, two SU-25
ground-attack aircraft, four MI-24 helicopters, and two MI-8
transport helicopters. Russia was represented by servicemen of the
123rd Motorized Infantry Regiment (Commander - Colonel Sergei
Khmelevsky), artillery brigade of 2S1 complexes (Gvozdika), artillery
battery of D-30s, multiple rocker launcher battery of BM-21s, and two
MIG-29s of the 102nd Military Base of the Russian Army Group in the
Caucasus quartered in Armenia. Combat organization and cooperation
was drilled. The exercise was commanded by Lieutenant General Mikhail
Grigorjan, Defense Minister of Armenia and United Army Group
Commander. Almost 3,000 servicemen were involved.

According to the legend, the enemy attacked in the Gyumri and
Kirovakan directions. Servicemen involved in the exercise were
expected to practice defensive action, counterattack, extermination
of the advanced units of the enemy, and attack back to the state

Russian Ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Dryukov said shortly before the
exercise that it was not aimed against any third country but was
needed to practice defense action only. The statement was made
because of the speculations in newspapers that Russia was flexing its
muscles in the Caucasus, that all of the following were links in one
chain - deterioration of the military-political situation in Georgia,
command exercise of the Nagorno-Karabakh army, and tactical exercise
in Armenia. Defense Minister of Armenia Serzh Sarkisjan also
denounced the assumption. He said that it was a planned exercise, run
for the ninth time in approximately one and the same time of the
year, and pursuing no political motives. Sarkisjan said that the
tenth exercise of the series would take place next year and that
serious means and forces would be deployed in it to celebrate the

The strength of the Russian-Armenian cooperation is in the truth, not
in money. There is no need to corroborate the statement. At every
exercise run by the United Army Group, officers of foreign armies,
political scientists, and journalists have access to all information
that may interest them. It is possible nowadays to find in the media
all relevant information on the Armed Forces of Armenia, composition
of the Russian-Armenian United Army Group, volume and size of the
military aid Russia sends to its strategic partner. It is common
knowledge that the Armenian national army is up to 40,000 men strong,
and that about 300,000 men comprise the mobilizational resources.

Summing up the exercise, Sarkisjan said that all tasks were
performed. Alexander Studenikin, Commander of the Russian Army Group
in the Caucasus, is of the same opinion. He is convinced that units
and formations of the United Army Group can properly operate in the

Translated by A. Ignatkin