Kremlin defence chiefs said the tactical drills would take place from June 14 to June 27 in the Serbian city of Pancevo. Paratroopers from the Pskov airborne assault division will represent Russia in the extensive war-games. A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman said: “Overall, the drills will involve about 600 troops, including more than 200 from Russia’s Airborne Force, about 300 from the Serbian armed forces and up to 60 servicemen from Belarus, as well as more than 50 combat vehicles and Il-76MD military transport aircraft.”
He said the paratroopers from the three countries will be practicing counter-terror operations.
Slavic Brotherhood 2019 coincides with larger Nato drills taking place across various locations in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
The Sabre Guardian 2019 exercises are being co-led by Romanian land forces and US Army Europe and run until June 24.
A Nato spokesman said a variety of different training events included vehicle road marches, a medical exercise, multiple river crossings and an air assault.
He said: “SG19 is designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces.”
British troops are taking part in the exercises alongside service personnel from the US, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece, North Macedonia, Canada and Italy.
Russia said it had sent its Black Sea Fleet’s patrol ship Smetlivy to the coast of Bulgaria in order to monitor Nato drills.
A Kremlin defence source said: “The patrol ship has left Sevastopol. Smetlivy has embarked on this trip in order to monitor the NATO air defence drills on the territory of Bulgaria and near the Bulgarian coast.”
The military exercises come at a time of heightened global tensions.
Earlier this week more than 1,000 servicemen from Russia’s motorised rifle units took part in snap checks in the country’s Far East region.
A spokesman for the Eastern Military District said: “Motorised rifle units from the Eastern Military District stationed in the Khabarovsk region, Amur region and Jewish autonomous region, are taking part in snap combat readiness checks.
“Over 1,000 servicemen participated, as well as military and special equipment, including T-23B3 tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, Akatsiya self-propelled artillery systems.
“The snap checks are organised in the common tactical conditions with the use of experience from modern military conflicts.”