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Algeria to Host Desert Shield 2022 Joint Military Exercises with Russia

Algeria to Host Desert Shield 2022 Joint Military Exercises with Russia

Wednesday, 10 August, 2022 - 09:15
An Algerian military delegation in the Caucasus in 2021 (Mena Defense website)

A Russian military facility announced Tuesday that joint military exercises with the Algerian armed forces will take place in November in Algeria.

The press service of the Southern Military District told reporters on Tuesday that the joint Russian-Algerian anti-terrorist drills dubbed Desert Shield 2022 will take place in Algeria’s desert for the first time.

The exercise will be held at the Hammaguir testing ground in Bechar Province near the border with Morocco, TASS reported.

The press service specified that the drills would involve about 80 soldiers from motor rifle units stationed in the North Caucasus and about 80 Algerian soldiers.

During the exercise, the forces will practice search, detection and elimination of terrorist groups in the desert setting.

The first joint Russian-Algerian drills took place in North Ossetia in October 2021 with a total of about 200 soldiers participating and about 40 units of combat and special equipment involved.

Observers said Algeria’s choice of the location has a political and strategic significance.

According to some observers, the exercises are a response to the “African Lion” military drills, which took place in Morocco in June and caused uproar in Algeria due to Israel’s participation for the first time.

Algeria’s specialized website Mena Defense said the type of exercises conducted by the Algerian and Russian paratroopers are “tactical.”

The website, run by Algerian security affairs expert Akram Kharief, reported that a military delegation visited the Caucasus in July 2021 to discuss the exercises in North Ossetia.

The first planning conference was held in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz in April to prepare for the upcoming military exercises.

Both sides coordinated the scenarios of the drill and the logistics.

Maneuvers will consist of tactical moves to search for, detect and destroy illegal armed groups.

Algeria has not issued any official statement about the drills.

However, sources interested in the Algerian-Russian military partnership said the objectives and outlines of the drills were discussed during a March 25 visit to Algeria by Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Army Gen. Dmitry Shugaev.

Shugaev held talks with Chief of Staff of the Algerian army Lieutenant General Said Chanegriha and discussed bilateral military cooperation, the Algerian defense ministry said in a statement, adding that they exchanged views on issues of common interest.

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