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Russia revives the air-defence shield for itself and its partners2009-02-12 09:46
Russia is continuing to strengthen its positions in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. After the expulsion of the American military base from the Kyrgyz airport of Manas and the creation of the Collective Rapid Response Forces under the CSTO, Russia's Air Force has declared its intention to revive the United Air-Defence System for CIS countries, which at the moment exists only on paper.
Russia's own Air Force will also be modernized and refined, the commander-in-chief of Russia's Air Force, Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin, told journalists yesterday on 10 February. He made a direct link between these steps and the probability of further peace enforcement operations.
The air force will play the major role in any armed border conflicts which might erupt in the foreseeable future, stated Zelin. It is highly probable that Russia, so it follows from the commander-in-chief's statement, will take part directly in these and is prepared to dictate its terms to the enemy. "The possibility cannot be ruled out that in the medium term, Russia will be drawn into armed border conflicts. In such cases, the coordinated deployment of various groups of troops will be required, with the major role being played by the air force in order to gain supremacy in the air, give air support to the troops, isolate the site of the fighting, and to force the enemy into bringing about peace on terms which are acceptable to Russia," RIA-Novosti quotes the Colonel-General.
Zelin also pointed out the aims associated with reviving the CIS United Air-Defence System. It was established in 1995, but not all the states actually do take part in this joint air defence. Hence, as RIA Novosti notes with reference to the Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Turkmenistan has distanced itself from these activities, and before it left the Commonwealth "Georgia never took part in the united air-defence system". At the same time, the commander-in-chief noted that an automatic and mutual exchange of information has still been going on with Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
A week ago, a separate agreement on establishing a united regional air-defence system was signed with Belarus. Now similar treaties should be signed with other members of the Commonwealth.