Russian special forces unit shown in action for the first time
12th December 2018

The Russian public were given an unprecedented glimpse into the country’s most elite special forces unit, when a Spetsnaz training video was aired on national television.

In the rare footage, armour-clad commandos, wearing gas masks, can be seen storming a make-shift training building.

First-person cameras follow the point of the elite soldiers’ weapons as they swiftly clear a propped-up room, and proceed to a shooting range, breaching the doors to the sound of gunfire and sirens.

Spetsnaz, sometimes described as the Russian equivalent of Britain’s SAS or US Delta Force, has regularly featured in films and computer games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but actual footage of the force in action has never officially been released.

The unit is a part of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the SVR.

Spetsnaz troops have allegedly been deployed recently in places like Syria and Ukraine, although any official presence in the latter is denied by Russian authorities and President Putin.

In a TV interview broadcast alongside the footage, The SVR’s director Sergey Naryshkin said: "Unfortunately the world has become very uneasy."

"We were forced to evacuate our diplomatic crews from Libya, Iraq and recently in Yemen, and these tasks were performed by this unit."

The SVR has historically been extremely careful in how it manages the flow of information available to the public, allowing rumours of its deadly reputation to thrive.

The agency works along side and often together with the GRU, the Russian intelligence agency suspected of orchestrating the Skripal poisoning.

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