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Ex-Soviet states plan joint air defense drills Aug. 7- Sept. 18

RIA Novosti

04/03/2009 13:05 ASTANA, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will conduct joint air defense exercises from August 7 until September 18, the first deputy commander of Russia's Air Force said on Wednesday.

"The biennial Combat Commonwealth exercises will be held from August 7 until September 18," Vadim Volkovidsky told a news conference following a meeting of the coordinating committee for air defense under the CIS council of defense ministers.

He specified that the exercises would be held in several stages and on the territory of each member state.

The CIS, a loose alliance of former Soviet states, comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine is a founding and participating country, but technically not a member state. Turkmenistan holds associate status.

An integrated air defense network was set up by 10 CIS member countries on February 10, 1995.

The main purpose of the network is to ensure the protection of the member-countries' airspace, early warning of missile attacks and coordination of joint efforts to neutralize potential air threats.


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