HL Deb 29 October 1999 vol 606 c51WA
The Earl of Carlisle

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they have taken towards the Russian Federation after portraying "enemy forces" wearing the uniforms and bearing the arms of the former Soviet empire, at the Royal College of Defence Studies demonstration. [HL4145]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

It is MoD policy that personnel acting as the "enemy" in exercises of this nature are not to be dressed and equipped as to suggest that they are modelled on the Armed Forces of any specific nation, and clear guidance is promulgated communicating this policy. Various foreign equipment and uniforms are often used, however, to distinguish "enemy" forces from our own for exercise purposes.

In the case of the exercise at Tidworth Military Camp at the end of September, the soldiers playing the role of opposing forces were dressed almost entirely in standard issue British Army clothing, and were equipped with a mixture of British, American and Czech weapons. The commander of the "enemy forces", to distinguish himself from his troops, wore a peaked cap of Russian origin, and a combat vehicle was painted with a red star. This unfortunately gave the misleading impression that a small element of "enemy forces" was being portrayed as Russian Federation forces.

The Russian Ambassador in London has made representations to the Ministry of Defence about this incident. There was no intention that "enemy forces" in the demonstration should be perceived as Russian. The MoD has written to the Russian Ambassador in London to apologise and has instructed our Defence Attaché in Moscow to make a similar apology to the Russian Ministry of Defence.