Russian troops practice operating modernized armoured equipment in Chechnya

Text of report by Gazprom-owned Russian NTV on 7 July

[Presenter] A large-scale training combat is taking place in the neighbouring Chechen Republic [item follows a report from Dagestan]. Troops of the Southern Military District learn how to operate new heavy military equipment. Earlier, crews were trained on simulators. Real combat shells are used for firing. The firing practice is noisy and quite realistic. However, the plot of the drill had to be modified. Why? Vakha Atsayev has the details.

[Correspondent] A notional enemy was first hit by nature. The downpour that pounded previous day flooded all mobile targets. The troops were given a new task to destroy targets that became covered with water and those left above the water level. The warning has been issued in the surrounding villages that the fire would be quite loud. Just in case, patrols were placed around the shooting range.

[Anton Grunis, captioned as commander of the 1st Motorized Infantry Battalion] Civilians and animals are not allowed to enter the shooting range. If we notice people or animals, the fire is immediately halted.

[Correspondent] Combat ammunition is used in the fire practice. The personnel has just started to learn how to operate new equipment. Modernized tanks and armoured personnel carriers only recently arrived in infantry units of the Southern Military District. And before that, the crews trained on special simulators. The soldiers felt the modernization affected not only the military hardware but also food rations.

[Unnamed soldier describing a food pack] Pate "Tender", soft cheese, even a chewing gum.

[Correspondent] Apart from the heavy artillery, infantrymen, 500 grenadiers and 200 snipers are taking part in the drill. Now, they are working on a combat tactics of acting in pairs.

[Unnamed sniper] The shooting skill is not a primary skill for a sniper. For a good shot, it takes to approach the enemy, pass its surveillance systems, defence systems. It takes the skill to observe.

[Correspondent] The snipers company has already passed special training in Moscow Region. The key test was the so-called survival school of three days in open fields with a minimal amount of water and no food.

[Artem Belyayev, captioned as commander of a sniper company] For three days, we stayed in an open field. We used all available material to built sheds. Everyone managed well and demonstrated positive character. Everyone succeeded, well done.

[Correspondent] In the survival school, the personnel was trained in solitary survival. Now they have to learn to work in a team, or in the military language, to practice a "crew shake-up". The field training is another part of preparations for the brigade-level tactical drill which is planned for October. Up to 3,000 people will take part in it.

[Video from about 06:05 gmt shows tanks in a field; soldiers running across the field and hitting targets, looking at the field ration.]

Source: NTV, Moscow, in Russian 0600 gmt 7 Jul 12

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