Covid-19: Russian military prepares for virus

by Thomas Bullock

The Russian armed forces have begun implementing steps to prepare for, and tackle, the spread of Covid-19. On 25 March, following an order from President Vladimir Putin, the military began a three-day readiness exercise at seven military training grounds and five airfields throughout the Central and Western Military Districts. The exercise involved about 2,500 troops and 500 pieces of equipment, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Russian CBRN protection troops decontaminate military vehicles during a readiness exercise on 25–28 March. (Russian MoD)

Russian CBRN protection troops decontaminate military vehicles during a readiness exercise on 25–28 March. (Russian MoD)

The ministry reported that soldiers practised the procedures for implementing lockdowns, decontaminating bases and civilian and military vehicles, deploying hospitals and equipment, and treating patients. It published photographs showing military police and motorised battalions operating checkpoints with UAZ pick-up trucks equipped with 12.7 mm Kord machine guns while chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection troops use ARS-14KM systems to decontaminate queues of civilian vehicles.

The Central Military District deployed five mobile medical intelligence posts at exercise areas throughout central Russia and a field hospital with X-ray facilities, operating theatres, and an intensive care ward at the Yekaterinburg training ground.

At airfields, CBRN units decontaminated the interiors of transport aircraft. The MoD reported that CBRN and military aviation troops in the Saratov Oblast practised loading ARS-14KM and TMS-65M decontamination vehicles and MKA pathogenic analysis systems into 10 Il-76 transport aircraft to ensure the equipment can be rapidly deployed by air if needed.

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The Russian armed forces have begun implementing steps to prepare for, and tackle, the spread of Cov...

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