ASTRAKHAN, September 8 /TASS/. The Armed Forces of Russia and Belarus will begin their combat duty as part of the joint Russian-Belarusian air defense system late in 2016, General Pavel Kurachenko, the chief of the General Staff and first deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, told journalists on Monday.
"The Russian and Belarusian Defense Ministries are currently working out an agreement on rules of organization of combat duty in the joint regional air defense system. The agreement is to be implemented by late 2016," Kurachenko said.
Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on joint protection of the airspace of the Union State of Russia and Belarus and the creation of a joint regional air defense system in 2009. Russia ratified the agreement the same year - in 2009 while Belarus did it three years later in 2012.
"The Defense Ministries of Russia and Belarus have approved a list of military command and control organizations, command points, large units and military units that will form part of the joint regional air defense system as well as a Provision on the commander and the command post of the joint regional air defense system," General Kurachenko said.
General Oleg Dvigalyov, commander of the Air Force and Anti-Aircraft troops of the Belarusian Armed Forces, has been appointed commander of the joint Russian-Belarusian regional air defense system.
Russia also wants to form a joint air defense system with Kazakhstan, Kurachenko said.
The two countries signed an agreement on creation of a joint air defense system in 2013.
"At this stage, we are rehearsing coordination among groups of troops and are laying down the legislative framework for this joint system," Kurachenko said.
General Nurlan Ormanbetov, the commander-in-chief of the Air Defense Forces of Kazakhstan, has been appointed commander of the joint regional air defense system.
Russia has plans to create joint regional air defense systems with Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Kurachenko said. A draft agreement between Armenia and Russia on creation of a joint regional air defense system in the Caucasus is ready for being signed after being approved by both states.
"I hope we are going to finalize all the details this year," Kurachenko concluded.
According to him, agreements on creation of joint regional anti-aircraft defense systems with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are being discussed at inter-departmental levels.