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YEKATERINBURG, March 15. /TASS/. Russia’s two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers have fulfilled combat training tasks during a joint military exercise of the Russian and Tajikistani military. The main phase of the drills started on Monday, spokesman for Russia’s Central Military District Yaroslav Roshchupkin said on Tuesday.
"At 11:00, Moscow time, two Tu-95 bombers flew over the Ayni range (Tajikistan) at an altitude of 1,700 meters. The pilots drilled data communication with the Central Military District’s command posts deployed Tajikistan’s in Gissar district," Roshchupkin said.
According to him, the bombers that took off from the Engels airbase in the Saratov region have flown for about 11 hours and covered more than 8,000 kilometers over Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
According to previous reports, the main stage of the joint command and staff exercises involving units of the Russian and Tajikistani armed forces started at four ranges in Tajikistan.
"Drills with the use of modern automation equipment for information exchange between the headquarters’ command and control posts, including with Russia’s National Defense Control Centre have been conducted," Roshchupkin said on Monday. The change of the deployment areas of the command and alternate command posts has been made. The total length of the redeployment route has exceeded 20,000 kilometers.
On Sunday, the Central Military District completed redeployment of Russian aircraft involved in the maneuvers to tactical airfields in Tajikistan.
The Russian-Tajikistani joint aviation group comprises the Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range missile carrying bombers, Sukhoi Su-25SM strike-fighters, Su-24M frontline bombers, Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-8 transport-combat helicopters, as well as forces and facilities of Tajikistan’s Air Force. The task of the established group is to ensure the deployment and actions of troops at the Lyaur, Kharb-Maidon, Momirak and Khalkayor ranges. "The bodies of military administration of the Defense Ministry of Tajikistan and Russia’s Central Military District, motorized infantry, armored and artillery units, special forces, airborne and air assault groups are involved in the maneuvers", Roshchupkin said.
According to the Tajikistani Defense Ministry’s press center, the joint anti-terrorism exercises involved up to 50,000 troops and reservists of the country’s Armed Forces.
As spokesman for the Tajikistani Defense Ministry Faridun Makhmadalizoda previously said, "for the first time in the history of military cooperation between Tajikistan and Russia, the drills involve not only the servicemen of Russia’s 201st military base but also additional manpower and military hardware of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Central Military District, which have already arrived in the area of anti-terror drills." He said: "the purpose of the joint exercise is to improve interaction of the Russian and Tajik armed forces, to check their readiness to respond to terrorist attacks from outside at a southern border of the CIS."