Zapad 2021: Russia carries out test landing of ‘little green men’ 10 km away from Poland

The tactic of using “little green men” may have become a standard within the strategy of the Russian Armed Forces

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Maksymilian Dura

The Russian ministry of defense has revealed photos and recordings from a test landing carried out during the night between Sept. 12-13 on the Brest training ground, located 10 kilometers away from Poland. During the exercise, 160 paratroopers from three countries took part, including 90 “scouts” from the Russian armed forces, 60 soldiers from the Belarusian airborne forces and 20 from the Kazakhstan landing and assault forces.

The Russian commandos were loaded onto Il-76MD transport plane near Moscow during the Sept. 12 evening hours. The landing was carried out near Brest from an altitude of 1,500 to 1,900 meters. The Russian side emphasized that this was the first such large-scale landing conducted by the reconnaissance subdivisions of the Russian Aerospace Forces. This was also the first such operation in the case of the soldiers from Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The Russian commandos were loaded onto Il-76MD transport plane near Moscow during the September 12 evening hours. (Source: Russian Ministry of Defense,

The Russians were well-equipped for both the landing and the ground mission itself. They possessed navigation systems and night-vision devices, as well as standard equipment with the inclusion of sights but without thermal or night-vision overlays.

The Belarusian soldiers meanwhile were loaded onto an aircraft at the airport in the Minsk oblast. Their landing was conducted from an altitude of 600 meters onto an area already secured by the Russians. Therefore, it was the foreign and not “local” soldiers who carried out the initial reconnaissance and preparation for ground operations.

According to the official statement of the Russian ministry, all paratroopers carried out sabotage activity on the enemy backlines after landing through special missions such as: gathering groups in particular locations, camouflaging landing equipment, conducting raids and reconnaissance and sabotage itself. The groups of soldiers then departed the area of operations and were evacuated.

The Russian soldiers were made to resemble the “little green men” who had helped take Crimea away from Ukraine in early 2014. (Source: Russian Ministry of Defense,

Although the missions realized by the paratroopers were not much different from the standard operations of Russian special subdivisions, it is important to note how the Russian soldiers were marked and designated. They were made to resemble the “little green men” who aided in the takeover of Crimea in early 2014. The soldiers deployed near the Polish border did not possess any clear indication of their military ranks, surnames, unit symbols and state designations. This may mean that the “green little men” tactic used in foreign territories has become a standard in the strategy of the Russian armed forces.

Only two soldiers had small Russian flags attached to their helmets during the exercises. This was most likely due to inattention. The flags were in natural colors, which would’ve betrayed the position of the soldiers during actual military operations.

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