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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Kazakhstan ratifies agreements with Russia on test sites

RIA Novosti

21/06/2007 10:35 ASTANA, June 21 (RIA Novosti) - The upper house of Kazakhstan's parliament ratified Thursday protocols on changes to Russian-Kazakh agreements on the lease of four military test sites in the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic.

Moscow and Astana signed additional protocols on November 25, 2005 to 1996 bilateral treaties on the lease of the 4th and 929th testing ranges of the Russian Defense Ministry, and testing ranges at Sary-Shagan and Emba.

According to the protocols, Russia is required to pay an annual sum of about $24.8 million for the lease of four testing grounds and related research facilities totaling 11 million hectares on the territory of Kazakhstan as of January 1, 2005.

Twenty-three percent of Russia's 4th state firing range at Kapustin Yar is located in Kazakhstan. In recent years, Kapustin Yar has been the site of official trials of the Iskander-M missile system, as well as tests of the S-400 (SA-20 Triumf) surface-to-air missile system.

The 929th State Test Flight Center, also known as Taysoygan or Vladimirovka, is comprised of three sections in Atyrau, Mangystau, and Western Kazakh regions. The territory is used to test combat aircraft and various types of weapons for all branches of the military.

The Sary-Shagan test site was established in 1956 as the 10th State Scientific Research Testing Range of the Soviet Union where anti-ballistic missile defense systems, air defenses, and laser weapons were tested. It was the only Soviet ABM test site permitted under the 1972 ABM Treaty.

The Emba testing grounds, subordinated to Kapustin Yar in 1998, is where the F300, Buk, Tor and Tunguzka air defense systems have been tested.

Russia ratified the protocols on June 14, when President Vladimir Putin signed the proposed legislation into law.

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