Russian Defense minister announces plans to build new radar station

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Friday that Russia would beef up its early warning system by building a new radar station, Russian news agencies reported. "This is an important question of national security," Ivanov was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency. "Not having modern stations, we simply will go blind."

Ivanov made his comments upon his return from Azerbaijan, where he visited the Gabala radar station, which was built by the Soviet military to track missiles in the southern hemisphere. After the Soviet collapse, Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran to the south, grudgingly allowed Russia to continue using the station, which is considered a key part of Russia's early warning system.

Russia also uses radars in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Ivanov's comments suggested Russia is searching for a replacement for the radars in Azerbaijan and Ukraine to track the south, reports Interfax. I.L.

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