Kazakhstani troops train to secure Caspian Sea border region

By Ksenia Bondal

Troops listen to their instructor during lessons on conducting a preparatory bombardment December 17 in Aktobe. [Military regional command press office]

Troops listen to their instructor during lessons on conducting a preparatory bombardment December 17 in Aktobe. [Military regional command press office]

ALMATY -- Kazakhstani troops are bolstering their skills to better protect the nation's borders.

Two thousand service members, led by 300 experienced sergeant instructors, participated in a month-long training exercise December 11-January 11, to boost and advance their individual specialties, according to the Kazakhstani military's Regional Command West press office.

Regional Command West is responsible for protecting the nation's borders, territorial integrity, sovereignty and economic interests in the Caspian Sea sector.

The drills took place in Atyrau, Aktau, Aktobe and Beyneu, according to Regional Command West spokesman Senior Lt. Rustem Igisinov.

"Exercises were primarily attended by enlisted men, including both conscripts and contract troops," he told Caravanserai. "In addition to experienced instructors, we brought in military equipment and ammunition for the training."

'From the simple to the complex'

The motto of the training was "from the simple to the complex", according to instructors.

This means that training starts with military personnel deepening knowledge of their specialties and builds up to mastering their ability to use the newest military equipment.

Every service member has studied his job duties and obligations, Igisinov said. Knowing your weapon and other equipment inside and out allows your unit to carry out all its tasks, he said.

"If we're talking about marksmanship [with small arms], one should faultlessly master the information about his weapon, including its individual properties, conditions for storing it and use in various situations," he said. "If we are talking about a driver, he has to perfectly grasp his equipment and its capabilities, as well as the peculiarities of driving in various weather conditions and times of day."

For Private First Class Yevgenii Adamchik, a radio station driver and electrician, participating in the exercises was an excellent opportunity to expand two aspects of his professional skills.

"Training in my specialty during instruction was a good opportunity for me to study the components of my KAMAZ truck," he told Caravanserai.

He also lacks time during day-to-day service to learn the theoretical part of his job, he added.

"I am absolutely convinced that the knowledge we acquired this month will come in handy in the future," he said.

Key communications

A communications battalion is considered an elite unit in the military, said Senior Sgt. Roman Barsukov, commander of Regional Command West's radio station.

It is precisely communications that allows higher-ranking officers -- the colonels and the generals -- to lead troops, he told Caravanserai. "The security of the country depends directly on that."

Communications personnel have been receiving a lot of new equipment, and thanks to their participation in this kind of training exercise, they can regularly increase their professional skills, he said.

During his earlier days in the army, "we were taught to work with equipment that today can be called obsolete," Barsukov said. "Now, different radio stations are in operation."

Radio station operators not only have to master the details of operating those stations, they have to "perfect their skills", he added.

Instructors use a comprehensive approach during drills, Barsukov said.

"We were not just studying from our instructors ... but from our fellow personnel from other military units as well," he said. "We've been exchanging experiences."

It is essential too to study changing military regulations and rules, he added.

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