A two-day command-and-staff drill being held by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military bloc, is concluding today.   

TASS cited Vladislav Shchegrikovich, a spokesman for the CSTO Joint Headquarters, as saying that this “strategic command exercise” is aimed at drilling the skills of stabilizing the situation in the Central Asian region amid the growing threats.

"A training military-political and strategic situation has been mocked, with the names of countries and organizations being changed, to model a scenario of the escalation of potential threats in the zone of responsibility of the organization and a crisis situation in a conventional Central Asian region of collective security," he was quoted as saying. 

According to CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov, the drill is being held “in a difficult international situation.”  “Old conflicts are aggravating in various regions of the world and new hotbeds of tension are emerging, including in the CSTO zone of responsibility.  Present-day crises are characterized by a hybrid nature and require comprehensive approaches to their solution,” he said, adding that the drill is geared to improve the algorithm of collective anti-crisis actions and assess their efficiency.

The drill is reportedly being held under the command of Chief of the Joint Headquarters Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov.

Under the drill’s scenario, a president of a CSTO member state applies for help to the chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council.  An extraordinary session of the Council makes a decision to hold a peacekeeping operation.  To implement this decision, a crisis response center and crisis management groups of the member states are set up.  Special attention is focused on the formation of peacekeeping forces and their deployment to the conflict zone, as well as issues of military-technical assistance.

Recall, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on February 27 delivered a statement on the occasion of the Special Operations Forces Day at a meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in Moscow.

The statement, posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s official website, in particular, notes that the situation in the Central Asian region remains complex.

According to the minister, the greatest threat comes from the territory of Afghanistan.  “Over the past year, the number of the ISIS militants increased by 15%” said Shoigu.  “Their main goal is to spread radical ideology and conduct subversive activities on the southern borders of the CSTO.”

At the same time, a nearly 20% increase in drug production and, consequently, drug trafficking through the Central Asian nations is expected.

The Russian defense minister said the combat training will culminate in the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force Interaction 2024 exercise, in which military contingents from five States will take part.  According to him, the Central Military District's formations and units are being equipped with the latest weaponry, including Iskander-M missile systems and Tornado-G MLRS.

He further noted that eighteen military units will be reorganized.  The troops will receive more than 360 units of new and modernized hardware.  As a result, the ratio of modern hardware will be 52.8%.

“The implementation of the planned measures by the end of the year will make it possible to increase the combat potential of troops and ensure military security in the Central Asian strategic direction,” the minister added.