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Russia to Double Armenia Base Contract Staff

RIA Novosti

16:18 19/06/2012 MOSCOW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will double the number of contract personnel at its military base in Armenia, a senior official said on Tuesday.

"The number of contract servicemen at the Russian base at Gyumri will be doubled by the end of 2012," Col. Igor Gorbul, a spokesman for Russia's Southern Military District, told reporters in Moscow.

Permanent staff numbers, however, will remain at the current 5,000, Gorbul added.

Russia's parliament voted last year to extend the country's lease of the base through 2044.

The base, near Armenia's border with Turkey, is part of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States air defense system and is home to S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters.

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