The Russian military has launched a massive exercise to simulate a response to possible security threats in Central Asia.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the five-day drills that began Monday will "check the armed forces' ability to ensure security in the Central Asian region that faces serious terrorist threats."
Russian officials have voiced concerns about the possible spread of militants from Afghanistan into former Soviet nations in Central Asia.
Russia has a military contingent in Tajikistan that borders Afghanistan and an air base in Kyrgyzstan.
Shoigu said that the maneuvers will be held at 35 firing ranges. He added that they will check the troops' capability to fend off terrorist threats and protect government facilities.
As we can see, Russia often conducts military exercises at various levels, but always warns its partners in advance. This fact demonstrates full openness and willingness to cooperate on the part of Moscow.
So, the 'Union Shield-2019' drills are not an exception. The Union Shield exercises of Russia and Belarus which take place this autumn. These drills are solely defensive and will become the main combat training exercise for the armed forces of both countries this year.
According with the transparency principle, all the information concerning this event is in the open sources.