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MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. The Aerospace Forces have become operational in Russia as its new armed service from August 1 in accordance with the Russian president’s decree, Defense Minister, General of the Army Sergey Shoigu said at a conference call on Monday.
"The formation of the Aerospace Forces by combining the Air Force and the Aerospace Defense Force is the optimal option for improving the system of the country’s aerospace defense," Shoigu said.
The establishment of the Aerospace Forces "is prompted by a shift in the center of gravity of the armed struggle towards the aerospace sphere," the defense minister said.
"Now the single command unites aviation, air defense and anti-missile defense troops, space forces and means of the armed forces," Shoigu said.
"This makes it possible, in the first place, to concentrate in a single command the entire responsibility for formulating military and technical policy for the development of troops dealing with tasks in the aerospace sphere and, secondly, to raise the efficiency of their use through closer integration and, thirdly, to ensure the consistent development of the country’s aerospace defense," Shoigu said.
Col.-Gen. Viktor Bondarev has been appointed as the commander-in-chief of the new armed service, the Aerospace Forces, the defense minister said.
"On August 1, the Russian president signed decree No. 394 on appointing the Colonel-General [Viktor Bondarev] as the commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant-General [Pavel] Kurachenko as chief of the Main Staff and first deputy commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant-General [Alexander] Golovko as deputy commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces and commander of the Space Forces," Shoigu said.
The existing system of aviation and air defense control in military districts remains unchanged, the defense minister said.
"General command of aerospace defense will continue to be exercised by the General Staff and directly by the main command of the Aerospace Forces," Shoigu said.