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Russians Homeland Defence Day in Ugljevik

by Maj. Fernando Buesa

First published in SFOR Informer #31, March 11, 1998.

Photo 1T.JPG (7874 bytes)Ugljevik - On February 23 the Russian Contingent celebrated their "Homeland Defence Day" at their Headquarters in Ugljevik, Multinational Division North. This day commemorates February 23,Photo 2T.JPG (8094 bytes) 1918 when the young Workers and Peasants Red Army defeated invaders of their homeland.

During the ceremony Col. Alexandr Iskrenko Russian Brigade Commander gave a speech explaining the meaning of this day for the Photo 3T.JPG (9615 bytes)Russians. This national celebration "which the whole Russian Country and its people celebrate today, rests upon a very firm historic foundation……there is hardly another country in the world that suffered so many forays and large scale military invasions in its history…….today we commemorate those whose served and fought….".He concluded by talking about the present role of the Russian Army "Today Russian soldiers are international peace keepers. Operations of the Russian Brigade inPhoto 4T.JPG (8012 bytes) Bosnia prove that. Our motto is : Peace in the Balkans, glory to Russia Today we are creating standards for co-operation with different armies and this process is irreversible."

Following a parade of Russian Forces before civilian and military authorities there was a special display of Spetsnaz troops demonstrating bayonet combat, martial arts and sudden attack. The display closed with an exhibition of equipment.

Photo 5T.JPG (10207 bytes)The SFOR Russian Brigade (RUSBDE)was founded in 1996. It is composed of Russian airborne troops. The RUSBDE is part of SFOR in this operation and is a member of the Partnership for Peace programme. About 40 percent of its 1,500 personnel are combat veterans.

The RUSBDE Area of Responsibility covers 1,750 square kilometres. The 1st Airborne Battalion is responsible for 35 kilometres of the Inter Entity Boundary Line and the 2nd is responsible for the remaining 40 kilometres.

[Russian Federation soldier]