Airborne in Ulyanovsk

Russian Airborne Train with Belarus Special Forces

Russian Armed Forces, Airborne Troops and Belarus Special Forces (March 2019) [1180]

Russian Armed Forces, Airborne Troops and Belarus Special Forces (March 2019)

A soldier aims at the camera during a joint exercise involving Russian Airborne Troops and special operations forces of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in Ulyanovsk, Central Military District. The exercise was held in accordance with the cooperation plan between the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and the military department of the Republic of Belarus. In the course of joint actions, the paratroopers mastered the specifics of organization and functioning of checkpoints, observation posts, and also trained to perform practical actions to repel an attack of armed groups on the guarded object. The exercise was supervised by Lieutenant General Alexander Vyaznikov, Deputy Commander of the Airborne Troops for peacekeeping operations and the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces. In total, more than 500 personnel take part in joint exercises, as well as up to 100 pieces of military and special hardware, and approx. 20 helicopters.

Military Units Featured

Russian Airborne Troops

Russian Airborne Troops Emblem

Russian Airborne Troops Emblem

The Russian Airborne Troops or VDV (from “Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii”, Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска России, ВДВ; Air-landing Forces) is a military branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, currently commanded by Col. Gen. Andrey Serdyukov. First formed before World War II, the force undertook two significant airborne operations and a number of smaller jumps during the war and for many years after 1945 was the largest airborne force in the world. The force was split after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, losing divisions to Belarus and Ukraine, and has been reduced in size. Russian airborne forces have traditionally worn a blue beret and blue-striped telnyashka and are called “desant” (Russian: Десант) from the French “Descente”. Current size is estimated at 60,000, expanding to 72,000 in 2019.

Belarus Special Forces

Belarus Special Forces

Belarus Special Forces

Belarus inherited its special forces (Spetsnaz) units from the remnants of the Soviet armed forces, GRU and KGB units.Belarus’s units conduct joint exercises with the Armed Forces of Russia in which the nation’s special forces participate extensively. Known special operations forces units include: 38th Guards Air Assault Brigade (Brest); 103rd Guards Airborne Brigade (Vitebsk); 5th Spetsnaz Brigade (Marina Gorka); 33rd Guards Spetsnaz Detachment; 527th Spetsnaz Company;  and 22nd Spetsnaz Company (Western Operational Command). The Belarus KGB controls its own specialist counter-terrorism unit, Spetsgruppa “A” (Alpha Group).


Unknown. Copyright the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Used under licence.

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