Special operations units have unique skills, the kind needed for specialized combat and missions. Belarus’ special operations units have their own take on what that entails.

Aug. 2 is Airborne Forces Day in Belarus, as well as Russia and Kazakhstan. It’s a celebration of airborne units but also special operations as a whole. The Belarusian military’s biggest event was conducted by the 38th Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade, a special operations unit at its base in Brest, Belarus.

And if there is one thing that Belarus’ military loves, it appears to be extreme “feats” of physical “prowess” set to dance music. And this year’s Airborne Forces Day had everything, from the ordinary to the preposterous: soldiers smashing blocks with their faces, cinder blocks being smashed with sledgehammers while resting on people’s bodies, various attacks with fire, and things of that nature.

The demonstrations included hand-to-hand combat showcases, a fake attack by the airborne unit, and in one instance, a soldier carrying a table solely by holding it by the chin. That last one is of course a classic airborne tactic.

“The most spectacular part was demonstration performances of paratroopers, hand-to-hand fights, and emulation of a combat episode,” according to the state television news outlet Belarus24

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In one of the literally more colorful parts of the event, one paratrooper did flips while hanging onto a gymnastics bar on a truck, a gas canister streaming red gas behind him, while it drove past soldiers doing slow punches. 

This isn’t the first time the unique talents of Belarusian soldiers have gained international attention. Earlier this year, footage of Belarusian troops breakdancing and doing backflips emerged. Belarus’ military has regularly shared videos of its troops training, from synchronized winter drills to armed combat in a mall, or even calisthenics utilizing a flaming jump rope. 

Viewers might ask themselves what this has to do with airborne operations, in what combat situation these sorts of exercises would even be possible, and how this can help in a military situation. Those are clown questions, clearly. Surely the Belarussian military has mapped out scenarios where doing gymnastic circles or martial arts in a mall is not only feasible but necessary for success. 

It’s been a busy several months for Belarus. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been holding regular military drills. This spring Russia announced it was deploying tactical nuclear weapons into Belarus. Most recently Lukashenko helped negotiate an end to the June coup by the Kremlin-linked private military company the Wagner Group, which left the war in Ukraine, seized the headquarters for a military district, and threatened to march on Moscow. Now the Wagner Group, as part of the deal, is in Belarus, near the Polish border

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