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Russia, Armenia to set up joint air defense network

RIA Novosti

13/02/2009 15:04 MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Armenia will set up an integrated air defense network similar to recently announced Russian-Belarusian air defenses, the head of a post-Soviet security bloc said on Friday.

"The so-called Russian-Belarusian integrated air defense network is just a part of the cooperation within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)," Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said.

"We are expecting Russia and Armenia to set up a similar joint [air defense] network," he said at a news conference in Moscow.

According to Bordyuzha, the CSTO, which comprises Russia, Belarus, the Caucasus republic of Armenia and four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, will set up three regional air defense networks - in Eastern Europe (Belarus), in the Caucasus and in Central Asia.

"After that we will advance to a higher level of cooperation, coordinating the activity of all regional networks and introducing common rules of engagement and information exchange," the official said.

Russia announced last year it was planning to expand military-technical cooperation with CSTO members and build a CSTO integrated air defense network.

Russia and Belarus signed on February 3 an agreement on the joint protection of the Russia-Belarus Union State's airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air defense network.

The network will comprise five Air Force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units and one electronic warfare unit, and will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian Air Force or Air Defense Force senior commander.

Kazakhstan announced on Wednesday that Russia would deliver the latest version of the S-300 air defense missile system, called S-300PMU2 Favorit (SA-20 Gargoyle), to the Central Asian state in the near future.

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