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MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. The Russian Air Force will drill cruise missile launches, missile and bomb attacks in a snap combat readiness check of aviation and air defense troops in the Central Military District, Deputy Chief of Russia’s General Staff Andrey Kartapolov said on Tuesday.
"The third stage will be fully devoted to the practising drills of aviation and air defense forces at the Ashuluk and Kapustin Yar firing ranges. During this stage, measures will be practised to repel air strikes and make practical launches of air-to-surface missiles, and also measures to practise missile and bomb strikes against facilities and bases of simulated terrorists," he said.
Also, long-range aircraft will practise launches of cruise missiles against targets at the Pemboi firing range in the Russian Far North, the General Staff deputy chief said.
"The tasks of intercepting cruise missiles with fighter aircraft will be practised there," he added.
Kartapolov said the surprise inspection of aviation and air defense forces of Russia's Central Military District is designed to assess its readiness to carry out air strikes against extremists taking into account the experience of the United States and its allies in Iraq and Syria.
According to him, the inspection is being held with due account of the fact that "the potential of challenges and threats to the military security of Russia and its allies in the Central Asian strategic region had grown substantially."
"That is why we, together with our strategic partners, are responding adequately to the rapidly changing military and political situation in this region," Kartapolov told a briefing for foreign military attaches dedicated to the inspection.
According to him, during the inspection it is planned to "assess the district’s ability to confront enemy airborne threat and, most importantly, to carry out air strikes against the extremists’ bases taking into consideration the experience of the United States and its allies in the coalition in Iraq and Syria."
"Taking part in the exercise are aviation and air defense units and operational and strategic control bodies," Kartapolov said, answering a question from an attache on whether other branches of troops are involved in the inspection. "Other ground troops and naval forces units are not involved in it."
He recalled that, in addition to the troops of the Central Military District, the inspection involves forces of the Western and Southern military districts, long-range and military transport aviation.
According to media reports, about 12,000 troops, up to 250 aircraft and helicopters, about 700 weapons units and military equipment are involved in the surprise inspection held between May 25 and 28.
The Russian Defense Ministry notified China as well as member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) about surprise combat readiness check of aviation and air defense troops in the Central Military District, a senior military official said on Tuesday.
Sergey Koshelev, chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s international cooperation department, said Russia had no international obligations of informing foreign partners about the current snap check, including under the 2011 Vienna Document.
"However, as an act of goodwill we have sent notifications via the OSCE channels to all of its members as well as the analogues information with the characteristics of the drills to our Chinese partners," Koshelev said.