MOSCOW – Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu has introduced a new member of the Defense Ministry Collegium, his deputy, Yunus Bek Yevkurov. He was appointed in July. He was previously the governor of Ingushetia. Yunus Bek Yevkurov is responsible for the combat training of the Armed Forces. Yunus Bek Yevkurov is probably best known for his June 1999 march on Prishtina Airport of Slatina.
Yevkurov was stationed in the town of Ugljevik, Republika Srpska, with the Russian peacekeepers under the auspices of SFOR. On 12 June 1999, during NATO aggression on Yugoslavia, he led a task force on a swift 500-km-long march, which aimed to secure the Pristina International Airport ahead of the NATO occupying troops, thus ensuring a Russian presence in Kosovo and Metohia, after the illegal NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. This led to a standoff with NATO troops, which resulted in NATO occupying troops standing down and reluctantly agreeing to have Russian troops stationed in the occupied Serbian province.
Strengthening the Western Military District
Minister Shoigu also reiterated Russia’s commitment to secure its western borders. Shoigu stressed the importance of stepping up cooperation with Belarus, attaining a higher level of interoperability and generally integrating CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) assets on the western border. Russian Minister of Defense also mentioned the newly-arrived military tech which has modernized most of Russia’s Western Military District assets.