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24.12.2020 (15:35)

Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov holds briefing for foreign military attaches

General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff - First Deputy Defence Minister of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, met with representatives of the military diplomatic corps accredited in Russia. Arriving at the National Centre for State Defence Control of the Russian Federation by a foreign military attaché, the Chief of the General Staff spoke about the results of the activities of the Russian Armed Forces in the outgoing year and plans for next year.

Speech by Chief of the General staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!

Despite the restrictions associated with the spread of the new coronavirus infection, we considered it important to hold today's meeting, which has already become traditional. It is the final one in the official international events of the Russian Ministry of Defence in the outgoing year.

On December 21, Russian Defence Ministry Board Session took place, in which the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin took part. In his speech, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces set tasks to ensure the military security of the state.

Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu delivered a detailed report. He summed up the main results of the activities of the Armed Forces in the current year.

The Board Session materials are available in the public domain on the website of the Ministry of Defence and were widely covered in the media. I believe you all had the opportunity to familiarize yourself with them.

In the course of today's briefing, I will focus on certain aspects of the activities of the military department, which are important for understanding the direction of the training of the Army and Navy.

At present, the international situation is characterized by a further exacerbation of global and regional security problems.

The growing tensions in the world are facilitated by the expansion of terrorism and radical extremism, the ongoing global economic downturn amid the spread of coronavirus infection, as well as the destructive foreign policy of a number of states.

Conflict potential remains in the Transcaucasus, terrorist activity in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Libya. The degree of tension in Iranian-American relations is not abating.

There is a significant increase in the military budgets of NATO countries, a further build-up of their military potential.

Alliance troop training activities are carried out with a clearly anti-Russian orientation, in which non-aligned countries are increasingly being involved. There has been an increase in provocative activities along the Russian borders.

The uncontrolled build-up of missile defence capabilities continues, which has a significant impact on the balance of forces, giving one of the parties an advantage in the use of strategic weapons.

The role of non-nuclear weapons with a long range, high accuracy and the power of combat equipment is growing. Their use makes it possible to solve tasks that could previously only be accomplished with the use of nuclear weapons.

Military confrontation extends to cyberspace and outer space, and as a result, the risk of incidents increases due to interference in the functioning of control systems and ensuring the use of nuclear weapons.

Under these conditions, nuclear deterrence remains a key element in ensuring the military security of the Russian Federation. Official views on the essence of nuclear deterrence are set out in the Fundamentals of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence, introduced by a presidential decree in June 2020.

In accordance with the Fundamentals, the state policy of Russia in the field of nuclear deterrence is purely defensive and is aimed at maintaining the potential of nuclear forces at a level sufficient for deterrence.

Nuclear weapons are considered as a means of forcing a potential adversary to refuse to unleash aggression against our country.

Statements about the concept of escalation to de-escalation allegedly adopted by the Armed Forces are speculation. There is nothing of the kind in Russian documents.

In defining approaches to nuclear deterrence, special attention was paid to the fulfillment of international obligations in the field of arms control. Today, control elements are contained only in the START Treaty, which expires on February 5, 2021. After that date, neither Russia nor the United States will have any restrictions.

We regard this situation as difficult, but surmountable. On October 16, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin announced his readiness to extend the agreement without any additional conditions in order to create opportunities for further work on a new agreement in this area.

In addition, within the framework of nuclear deterrence, taking into account the positive experience of Russian-Chinese cooperation, the agreement on notifications of missile launches has been extended for 10 years. This event is significant not only for the Asia-Pacific region, but also globally, as it demonstrates the leading role of Russia and China in reducing tensions in a region where tensions are growing.

The multiply increased number of calls by NATO ships into the Black, Baltic and Barents Seas causes concern. The number of flights of strategic aviation of the United States of America has also increased.

Earlier, our partners in NATO and the United States were asked to think about measures that could prevent a negative development of the situation:

- Firstly, it is the resumption of dialogue on the military line to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern for Russia and NATO. One could start with consultations at the level of military experts;

- secondly, to take measures to reduce the activity of military activities along the Russia-NATO line of contact. In doing so, act on the basis of reciprocity and maximum transparency;

- thirdly, to improve the mechanism for preventing dangerous military activities in the airspace and at sea. First of all - in the Baltic and the Black Sea region.

These proposals were repeatedly brought up, including at the Russia-NATO Council, but no reaction to our initiatives has been received.

Also, in recent years, the United States and other NATO countries have become more active in implementing a set of measures to strengthen the "northern flank" of the alliance, including an increase in military training activities conducted near our northern borders under the pretext of containing Russia in the Arctic.

At the same time, our presence in the Arctic is not a demonstration of military force, but with ensuring the security of the economic development of the region, including shipping in the water area of the Northern Sea Route and the implementation of projects in the field of extraction of natural resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation.

Russia has the legal right to establish rules for navigation in waters under its jurisdiction and monitor their implementation by other states.

During the year, the Armed Forces were solving planned tasks to increase combat potential, improve the training of personnel, methods of command and control of troops and weapons, as well as the supply of modern weapons and military equipment.

The strategic nuclear forces continued to re-equip with modern and advanced missile systems, modernize long-range aviation aircraft.

The share of modern weapons in the nuclear triad has been brought to 86%.

The high level of combat readiness, reliability and effectiveness of the strategic nuclear forces was confirmed during a training exercise conducted in the first decade of December under the leadership of the President of the Russian Federation. All combat training launches were successfully completed in this training session.

In the outgoing year, the necessary measures were taken to increase the combat capabilities of the general-purpose forces.

The troops of the military districts, the Northern Fleet and the Airborne Troops received about 1,700 units of armored, missile and artillery and other weapons.

To ensure the security of the Russian Federation from ocean and sea directions, the construction of ships in the far and near sea zones is underway, the system of basing of the Navy is being improved.

Air Defence system was developing. First of all, the airspace reconnaissance system in our border areas was built up. This allows you to more quickly respond to violations in the airspace. The fire capabilities of air defence systems have been increased, including those against cruise missiles.

In general, the planned supply of weapons and equipment to the troops made it possible to maintain their serviceability at 95%, and the share of modern weapons in the Russian Armed Forces was brought to 70.1%.

Combat training remains a priority in the Armed Forces.

The main event of the combat training was Kavkaz 2020 maneuvers.

It was attended by military contingents of five foreign countries.

The concept of the exercise did not provide for actions against any countries, its scenario was defensive in nature.

One of the features of the exercise was the creation of coalition groups, planning their use and managing them in a single system. Also, new forms of application and methods of actions of troops and forces have been tested.

A large-scale exercise Ocean Shield 2020 was carried out, during which the established inter-naval groupings of forces and troops in cooperation with the aviation of the Aerospace Forces performed a wide range of tasks in the Western, Arctic and Eastern strategic directions.

In addition, joint international exercises were held, this is a command зщые exercise with the CSTO peacekeeping forces Unbreakable Brotherhood, a special exercise on CSS Echelon, the Russian-Mongolian exercise Selenga, the Russian-Pakistani exercise Friendship 2020 and the Russian-Belarusian exercise Slavic Brotherhood 2020.

Next year, the main training event for the Armed Forces will be the Zapad 2021 joint strategic exercise of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. The military contingents of foreign states will traditionally be invited to it.

During the year, the Armed Forces carried out missions outside the Russian Federation.

In Syria, assistance continued to government forces in the fight against international terrorist organizations.

At the beginning of the year, in response to regular terrorist attacks on peaceful settlements, as well as attacks on positions of government troops and Russian military facilities, the Syrian army, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, was forced to carry out an operation to free the southeastern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone from radicals.

As a result, a significant part of the territory was returned under the control of the government of the country, conditions were created to exclude shelling of the Hmeymim airfield and Aleppo city. One of the main transport arteries, the M5 highway, has been freed, which is now freely used by thousands of Syrians.

In general, the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic tends to stabilize.

In September of this year, the contradictions in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict escalated sharply, which provoked the outbreak of hostilities in the region.

To prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and protect the local population, in accordance with trilateral agreements, a Russian peacekeeping contingent from the 15th separate motorized rifle brigade of the Central Military District was promptly deployed in the conflict zone. The 15th brigade is constantly trained under the Peacekeeping Units Training Program.

Today, the Lachin corridor and the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh are fully controlled by the units of Russian peacekeepers. They ensure the implementation of ceasefire and hostilities agreements at 23 observation posts.

To control the peacekeeping operation, a command and control system has been deployed that makes it possible to quickly respond to changes in the situation. The General Staff organized interaction and established direct communication channels with the military departments of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Russian troops are the guarantor of the observance of the ceasefire and the restoration of peaceful life in Nagorno-Karabakh, to which more than 43 thousand refugees have returned to date.

To ensure the safe life of the population, work is underway to clean the territories and roads from explosive objects. At present, over 280 hectares of territory and more than 100 km of roads have been cleared, about nine thousand explosive objects have been discovered and neutralized.

In order to strengthen confidence-building measures, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation continues to build up the scale of interaction with foreign partners. This year, three international treaties have been concluded, including a new Treaty on Military Cooperation with the Republic of Kazakhstan.

One of the main priorities of international military cooperation was the fight against the new coronavirus infection.

In the shortest possible time, by decision of the President of the Russian Federation, consolidated detachments of the Armed Forces were formed and sent to provide assistance in pandemic hotbeds in Europe, Transcaucasia, as well as Central Asian countries.

Anti-epidemic disinfection measures and the provision of necessary assistance carried out during humanitarian missions contributed to a decrease in the incidence of new coronavirus infection among the local population.

Particular attention is still paid to expansion of mutual relations with the CIS member States, strengthening the collective forces of the CSTO, as well as the development of the military component of the SCO.

Under the chairmanship of the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation on December 1 of this year, a meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers of the CSTO member states was held via video-conference call, at which proposals on joint counteraction to challenges and threats to collective security were considered.

Representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defence took part in international conferences of the ASEAN Regional Forum on Security and meetings of the Meeting of ASEAN Ministers of Defence and Dialogue Partners ADMM-Plus.

An important stage in this work was the holding of the final meeting of ADMM-Plus at the level of the heads of defence departments on December 10. The key element was an open exchange of views on the creation in the region of mechanisms for joint response to military security challenges.

Next year, work will continue to create conditions for stabilizing the situation at the global and regional levels, as well as the progressive and balanced development of the Army and Navy to ensure the peaceful social and economic development of our country without being drawn into a costly arms race.

The modern Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are capable of neutralizing any threats to the security of the state and protecting the national interests of Russia and its allies.

Military cooperation with the armies of foreign states remains one of the priorities. We count on the active participation of military attachés in maintaining constructive cooperation.

At the end of our meeting, I would like to congratulate you on the upcoming holidays - Christmas and New Year 2021 and wish you and your loved ones health and well-being.

Thank you for your attention.

Directorate of Media service and Information
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Chief of the General Staff , International activity
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