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"The air crews of the Russian jets will be on combat duty with their Belarusian colleagues for purposes of air reconnaissance and ensuring defense of the air space of the Union State," the Defense ministry's spokesman said.
He has confirmed the transfer of the six Russian jets Su-27 and three transport planes with the military-technical personnel of the Russian Western Military District on board to a military aerodrome Bobruisk of the Belarus Air Force, based in the Mogilyov region, which was carried out in accordance with an Agreement signed by Russia and Belarus on joint defense of the external border of the Union State.
Earlier, the press service of the Defense Ministry of Belarus told Itar-Tass that the Russian planes had been transferred to Belarus for purposes of the inspection of the troops' readiness to fulfill the tasks set forth to the Joint regional air defense forces with the involvement of the Russian component, as envisaged in the agreements signed in the framework of the Union State.
At a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus held on March 12 President Alexander Lukashenko suggested that Russia should deploy up to 15 planes in Belarus in connection with the growing NATO activity near the Belarusian border.
The growing NATO activity near the Belarusian border did not go unnoticed. Chief of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Nikolai Bordyuzha declared at the State Duma on Thursday that "CSTO has not remained indifferent to a group of NATO aviation being stationed near the Belarusian border. We have spotted reconnaissance activity near that region. Nonetheless, we think that planning any measures today is premature," Bordyuzha said.