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Russian paratroopers to be airlifted to Kazakhstan for security drills

August 13, 2014, 12:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian military transport planes will airlift more than 500 paratroopers with military equipment

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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, August 13. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Airborne Force has started to airlift paratroopers to Kazakhstan to take part in the drills of the Russia-led security alliance of former Soviet republics, Airborne Force spokeswoman Irina Kruglova said on Wednesday.

The Russian paratroopers will take part in the rapid reaction force drills dubbed Interaction-2014, which the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold in Kazakhstan on August 18-22, the spokeswoman said.

“The first operational group of the Russian military contingent has been airlifted from the Ulyanovsk-Vostochny aerodrome to the Karaganda airfield,” the spokeswoman said.

Russian military transport planes will airlift more than 500 paratroopers with military equipment and armaments to Kazakhstan within two days or twice as many as last year,” the spokeswoman said.

It was earlier reported that the drills would involve about 3,000 personnel, about 200 pieces of combat and special hardware and about 30 aircraft and helicopters.

Russian paratroopers will be joined by personnel from a Kazakhstani air mobile brigade, a Belarusian special operations mobile brigade, a Kyrgyz special unit and an air assault company from Tajikistan.

CSTO spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov earlier said the drills would for the first time practice measures to organize and conduct information and psychological war and ensure cyber-security.

The CSTO, which is comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, regularly holds military drills on the territories of its member states.

Last year, the post-Soviet security organization held a total of six large-scale military exercises. The largest of them, codenamed Zapad -2013 (West-2013) was held last September in Belarus.

Zapad military drills have been held biannually since 2009 and last year’s six-day exercise involved up to 13,000 military servicemen from Russia and Belarus, some 350 armored combat vehicles, including 40 tanks, over 50 aircraft as well as warships from the Russian Baltic Fleet.

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