Russia may resort to new provocations in Black Sea in upcoming drills – Ukraine intel
Representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadym Skibitsky says Russia may resort to provocative actions during the upcoming Caucasus 2020 strategic command and staff drills, which will be held in September.
Speaking at an online briefing on Friday, he said the analysis of the security situation around Ukraine indicates Russia's targeted measures to build up combat capabilities near Ukraine borders, while setting up new formations and units and militarization of occupied Crimea reinforce the military threat to Ukraine's national security.
At the same time, Skibitsky said combat readiness of Russian troops was annually checked during the strategic command and staff drills of the Russian armed forces.
This year, Russia plans to work out the whole range of measures for the preparation and use of general-purpose forces.
"The official legend of the drills is the use of a group of forces of a coalition of states in the interests of ensuring military security in the south-western strategic direction," the official said.
Russia will involve local authorities, groupings, formations and units of the southern, western and central military districts, aerospace forces, navy, airborne troops, Russian guard and other military units of the Russian Federation. Contingents of 17 foreign armed forces are also invited.
"It is estimated at least 100,000-120,000 personnel, 3,000 armored combat vehicles will be involved, including at least 500 tanks, 300 aircraft, 250 helicopters, 50 ships, and up to five submarines," Skibitsky said.
At the same time, some episodes of the drills will be worked out in regions bordering Ukraine, namely at the Kadamovsky and Kuzminsky training grounds, as well as in the occupied Crimea. Inter-naval exercises are also possible in the Black Sea.
According to Skibitsky, provocative actions cannot be ruled out during the demonstration phase of the Caucasus 2020 drills.
He says Russia will check readiness to apply an integrated grouping of troops, which consists of regular troops, local armed formations, private military companies, civil and non-governmental organizations under a single command, operating under a single plan to carry out tasks on enemy territory.
Skibitsky added the Russian Federation was constantly improving methods of using such an integrated group in combat conditions in eastern Ukraine, in Syria and Libya, and the Caucasus 2020 drills will be the next stage in the increased training of the Russian aggressor forces.
"These drills will be used by the Russian leadership to demonstrate military prowess to Ukraine and the European states. They should be seen as an element of pressure on our country," he said, adding Russia's information campaign will be intensified, including using the Ukrainian information space.
"The main goal will be to intimidate and impose at all levels the thought of the irreversibility of Russian demands being fulfilled in the occupied territories and the Kremlin's ability to defend its interests using military force," he said.
According to Skibitsky, the Ukrainian military has established a clear interaction on the exchange of intelligence data.
"Based on the results of intelligence studies, appropriate analysis and proposals will be prepared to neutralize threats coming from the Russian Federation," he added.