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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian defense minister to visit radar site in Belarus

RIA Novosti

28/04/2008 17:06 MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov will visit a Russian radar site during his April 29-30 trip to Belarus, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The Volga-type early missile warning radar in the town of Baranovichi in the Brest Region, near Poland, became operational in October 2003. It is designed to detect ballistic missiles launched from Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.

The deployment of the system has closed a gap in radar coverage on Russia's western borders after the closure of a radar site in Skrunda (Latvia) in late 1998.

The Volga radar operates in the decimeter bandwidth, which greatly improves the accuracy of tracking.

Serdyukov said last year that Russia has stepped up military cooperation with Belarus in response to the United States' plans to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic, along with NATO's eastward expansion.

Several years ago, Russia launched a program for the development of Russia's Space Forces, which includes building and using early warning radars in the country.

Russia currently rents ground-based radar stations in Sevastopol and Mukachevo in Ukraine; in Baranovichi, Belarus; Balkhash in Kazakhstan; and Gabala in Azerbaijan. It also has radars on its own territory in Murmansk (arctic northwest), Pechora (northwest Urals), and Irkutsk (east Siberia).

Russia's Space Forces Commander Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin said in January that a new Voronezh-type radar in Lekhtusi, Leningrad Region, would be put on combat duty this year without delays.

Another Voronezh-type radar is being built in Armavir in southwest Russia. It is expected to be put on combat duty in 2009.

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