As we have been expecting and on schedule, this year, from June 18th to 28th – ending today, for the fourth year in a row, the joint military exercises of Russia, Serbia and Belarus called “Slavic Brotherhood” is being held in Novorosíisk, Russia.
In standard form, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation explained to us that parachutists from three countries conduct concrete activities for the preparation and implementation of a multinational working group for peacekeeping and counter terrorism tasks during the exercise.
The information department reported that the commander of the exercise, deputy commander of the Parachute Peace Forces, Lieutenant General Alexandr Vyaznikov and the Commander of the Special Operations of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus Major General Vadim Denisenko, will attend the opening ceremony. In addition, in the field of joint exercises, as an observer, at the invitation of the Russian side, a military delegation of the Serbian Army was led by the deputy commander of the Land Army General Major General Želimir Glišović.
To be expected, the High Commander of the Special Forces of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Major-General Vadim Denisenko, gave a high assessment of the organization of the Russian-Belarus-Serbian exercise “Slavic Brotherhood 2018”.
“Exercises are perfectly organized. In the course of them, we will show what the Slavic people are capable of and how together they can solve the tasks set by our countries”, Denisenko stated.
As previously reported, Russia participates in the international exercises with more than 700 people. More than 250 members of Special Operations units are participating on the Belarus side, and the special forces of the Serbian team make up about 50 soldiers. In addition, the aviation units of the Southern Military District of the VKS of Russia joined the exercises.
For the first time in the drills, new models of military equipment and weapons were included: BMD-4M, BTR MDM “Rakushka”, armored vehicle “Ris”, T-72B, armored vehicle REV “Infauna” and radar systems “Aistenok”.
In recent years, we have seen an increase from the Russian expert community, speaking of the desirability of incorporating Serbia into the Union State of Belarus and Russia
But still “Slavic brotherhood” is much more than just a military exercises. Relations between these three countries are much more mysterious and deeper that one can see at first glance. We will just give you a couple of examples.
Serbia and Belarus have a visa-free regime, also Belarus voted against Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO, and remained consistent with the non-recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.
Serbia and Russia are also having the visa-free regime and a free trade agreement. Serbia has joined the project of building a southern stream, a gas pipeline that would supply energy to this part of Europe. Russia also suggested that all the jeopardized Serbs from Kosovo and Republic of Srpska will be able to get Russian citizenship.
Russia and Belarus have close military relations and are engaged in various joint military-scientific activities, Russia accounts for some 48% of Belarus’ external trade. Belarus accounts for around 6% of Russia’s trade and not only that these two countries are under visa-free regime but also there is no border between two countries in a sense that there is no passport needed for citizens of these countries.
In recent years, we have seen an increase from the Russian expert community, speaking of the desirability of incorporating Serbia into the Union State of Belarus and Russia. It is often unspoken of in the West, that in fact Belarus and Russia already form a Union State, with its rules, coat of arms, and administrative divisions.
Given that the focus of this drill involves specifically these three countries, and because such a proposal is growing within the Russian expert community with support from their Serbian colleagues in related fields and positions, it is not irrational to conclude that these drills are meant to lead towards a greater integration of these three states in other spheres as well.