General Shpak: Airborne Forces will distinguish themselves more than once in a special operation
Airborne troops are needed for deep raids
The operational report on the course of the special military operation has been full of events in recent days – the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal, the fighting in the area of Snake Island, the liberation of Popasnaya. However, as some experts noted, against the backdrop of recent events, practically nothing is heard about the elite Airborne Forces, which brilliantly carried out the operation to capture the Gostomel airfield at the beginning of the special operation. MK experts told for what purposes trained airborne fighters are kept and how paratroopers are now involved.
Photo: AGN Moscow »
According to the former commander of the Airborne Forces, Colonel-General Georgy Shpak, the paratroopers managed to prove themselves during a special operation in Ukraine – and one of the first operations involving this type of troops will already go down in the annals of military history.
“The capture of the Gostomel airfield” in the first days of hostilities in Ukraine is a unique operation, the general said. – I guarantee you that it will go down in the annals of military history. 200 paratroopers captured a huge object. It's another matter that I had to leave him, but this is the decision of the Supreme Commander.
– Airborne are used as needed. At the same time, they are not designed to break into defense, offensive or other military operations, like, say, motorized rifle or tank units. Airborne troops are still needed to carry out fast-moving, momentary operations, such as the capture of the Gostomel airfield. In addition, paratroopers are used for sabotage, reconnaissance operations.
– Naturally, in exceptional cases they are used for the offensive, but in selected directions or in defensive operations. But this is in exceptional cases.
– Because the Airborne Forces have neither heavy artillery nor tanks. Another thing is that sometimes the Airborne Forces are given both tanks and artillery, and then they act as motorized rifle units, but that's another story. I have been closely monitoring the use of troops over the past two months. I think that we have learned the lessons from the first difficult days. Now everything has settled down there, they have taken appropriate measures, the number of losses has sharply decreased. And the tasks continue to be carried out.
– Capturing objects in the rear, sabotage operations, deep raids – these are all tasks for the Airborne Forces. Of course, if the operation develops further, they will be very widely used. Without any doubt.
Another MK expert, the former head of artillery of the Airborne Forces, Vasily Shnipov, said that the paratroopers were among the first to be involved in the special operation and remain in Ukraine to this day:
– The Airborne Forces were among the first to come there, and, as far as I know, they participate there. I do not have operational data, because this is classified information. But it seems to me that both combined arms units and formations, as well as airborne units, are participating and operating.