This might be a little too close for comfort.
According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, units from Russia’s Arctic Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Northern Fleet took part in drills last week on the country’s Chukotka Peninsula as part of the massive Vostok 2018 wargames.
A village mentioned as part of the maneuvers, Egvekinot, is only 280 miles from Alaska’s St. Lawrence Island.
The Arctic Motorized Rifle Brigade is one of Russia’s Arctic warfare brigades, important military components in a country where Arctic tundra makes up so much of the land mass. The brigade’s training and equipment makes it a prime candidate for operations in cold regions such as Northern Europe and even parts of the United States.
Russian military brass may be discouraged from invading the latter after watching “Red Dawn,” however. (Spoiler: It ends poorly for them.)
According to the ministry’s news release, the Russians may actually be preparing for a similar scenario. Troops “trained (in) raid tactics to search for and destroy simulated commando groups.” With no video or photographs of the current exercises, we’re forced to rely on documentation of previous maneuvers.
The little bit of video that exists of the Arctic Motorized Rifle Brigade’s previous training appears to show a unit competent and capable in full-scale war. Self-propelled artillery, armor, and infantry units seem able to move and fight effectively in an Arctic environment.
While the tactics from the video may work for assaulting an objective or pushing a front line, it is most likely a different type of warfare than the commando-hunting they are now practicing.
Amphibious exercises were also carried out nearby.
The amphibious training included a shore bombardment, as well as an air assault landing behind the simulated enemy lines. After the live-fire exercise, Russian marines in BTR-80 armored personnel carriers stormed the beach.
The training location itself leaves many uneasy. Although Russia is largely tundra, the only other countries with that terrain type are all NATO members.
With this in mind, it’s not hard to imagine that many in regions like Alaska, Canada, and Norway may be left feeling vulnerable. (Northern Europe has a long and uneasy history with Russia.)
Knowing that Russians are practicing invasions only 300 miles away can’t be cheeful news for Alaskans.
Of course, residents even on the Last Frontier can rest easy knowing of America’s naval superiority. We field the most powerful navy in the world, with fleets able to defend the entirety of our nation’s shores if need be.
If the Russians do invade, we can be pretty sure there will be at least one group of high school kids that isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Of course, America’s millions and millions of gun owners may pose a bit of a challenge to any invaders, too.
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