Russia suggests establishment of joint European air defense system

The Unified Air Defense System of the Commonwealth of Independent States was created ten years ago

Anti-aircraft systems struck their blows, and aviation hit surface targets to complete the Battle Community 2005 military exercise on the Ashuluk test ground in the Astrakhan region of Russia. About 2,000 military men from Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Tajikistan took part in the maneuvers.

The first stage of the exercise took part in June-July of the current year in the Chita region (in Russia's Siberia). Belarus' C-200 air defense systems fired their test missiles successfully. The next stage of the exercise took place in the beginning of August in the republic of Kazakhstan. Air defense units of Kazakhstan and anti-aircraft defense troops of another post-Soviet republic, Kyrgyzstan, participated in the maneuvers. The four countries trained the multilateral cooperation in combat during the last stage of the military exercise.

Russia's Minister for Defense, Sergei Ivanov, heads of defense departments from several CIS states and managers of defense enterprises were watching the process of the active phase of the exercise. Military delegations from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan arrived in the Astrakhan region to observe the Battle Community 2005 exercise.

The Unified Air Defense System of the Commonwealth of Independent States was created ten years ago. The system protects the borders of its members in the air space. Tactical exercises are traditionally held in Russia at the end of summer.

The final stage of the maneuvers in the Astrakhan region of Russia took place with the participation of world-known air defense systems: S-300, S-125 and S-45, as well as with 40 battle planes such as Su-24, Su-25 and MiG-29. The exercise was held to set military units and formations on high alert, regroup air defense forces and aviation with a view to strengthen the protection of the defended objects.

The recent exercise ended with the creation of the regional group of air defense troops. “Until recently, it was up for each country to bring their command posts for the exercise. This time, there is one joint headquarters to command the whole process. It is actually the prototype of the future united group of air defense troops on the territory of the former USSR. Now we can set up a command post in any region,” Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

The minister highly estimated the exercises in Ashuluk and emphasized the fact that they were the battle maneuvers: “There was absolutely no imitation. Armenia, Tajikistan, Belarus and Russia performed missile launches successfully. The task has been executed,” Sergei Ivanov said.

It is hard to overestimate the significance of such cooperation. According to the Deputy Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty, Valery Semerikov, the defense ministers took efforts to retrieve the air defense system in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Colonel-General Leonid Maltsev told reporters that the documents about the creation of the joint air defense system had been practically ready. Mr. Maltsev's Russian colleague, Sergei Ivanov, added that Russia and Belarus were planning to conduct Air Force and Air Defense military exercises in 2006. In addition, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are to join Russian Armed Forces in September of 2005 for another exercise in the Asian region.

To crown it all, Sergei Ivanov set forth a sensational initiative after the completion of the Battle Community 2005 exercise. The defense minister offered to establish the joint European ABM system. Speaking about Russia's role in the project, Mr. Ivanov said that Russia would obviously make a considerable contribution in the system.

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Author`s name Olga Savka