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CIS set to hold air defense exercises in April

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will hold air defense command and staff exercises on April 22 involving over 100 military aircraft, a spokesman for the Russian Air Force said on Monday.

He said the exercises to be supervised by the Russian Air Force commander will be conducted by the joint CIS air defense control bodies under the military block’s joint action plan.

“Over 20 issues relating to strengthening air borders of the CIS countries will be covered during the command and staff exercises. Eight commonwealth countries will take part in the exercises, namely Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan,” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

In late November, CIS defense ministers reaffirmed their plans to develop a joint air defense network and to conduct joint military exercises.

The network was set up by 10 CIS-member countries on February 10, 1995, but so far exists only on paper. Nevertheless, CIS partners, a loose collection of former Soviet republics, regularly hold joint exercises, involving respective Air Force and air defense units.