Russian and U.S. troops will hold joint peacekeeping exercises at American ranges in Germany on Dec.1-15 for the second stage of the command and staff drill, Torgau 2007, Russian news agencies reported Friday.
"The Russian servicemen will arrive in Germany on De. 1 aboard a Russian Air Force Il-76 military plane without weapons and military equipment. The Russian soldiers will be provided with American arms for the exercises with live fire," Colonel Igor Konashenkov, aide to the Russian ground troops commander, was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.
The drill will take place in two American ranges: Grafenwehr and Gogenfelz. Two hundred people will be involved.
The Russian servicemen will be armed with M-16 and M-4 rifles and with M-249 and M-240 machine-guns. They will have several days of theoretical and practical lessons to handle the American small arms, Konashenkov said.
Russian servicemen were familiarized with Hummer, Bradley and Abrams tanks and fighting vehicles at the Grafenwehr Range in Germany during similar joint field exercises in Torgau in 2005.
"This practice will be continued at the upcoming exercise Torgau 2007, during which the experience of conducting joint peacekeeping operations in the Balkans will be used," Konashenkov said.
He said the American army servicemen earlier practiced with Russian small arms, T-72 tanks and 100-millimeter antitank guns at the Solnechnogorsk Range in Russia in the first stage.
Commander of the Moscow Military District Lieutenant-General Vladimir Chirkin will supervise the exercises on the Russian side, while U.S. commander of the 5th Infantry Corps in Europe Lieutenant-General Kenneth Hunzeker will take care of the American side.
The first stage of the Torgau 2007 maneuvers was held at a Russian training center in Mulino in the Nizhny Novgorod region in the second half of October.
It involved around 100 Russian and U.S. ground troops and officers. The Russian-American exercises are named after the German town of Torgau on the Elba River, where Russian and American soldiers joined up in the last days of World War Two.