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CIS air defense system ready to protect Commonwealth borders — Russian Defense Ministry

Joint drills of the CIS countries will involve more than 2,000 servicemen and over 200 pieces of combat and special hardware

ASHULUK TRAINING RANGE (Astrakhan region), September 7. /TASS/. The international military exercise Combat Commonwealth-2017 of the joint air defense system of the post-Soviet CIS alliance has proved that it is ready to protect the air boundaries of the Commonwealth "against uninvited guests," the first deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces said at an award-presenting ceremony on Thursday.

"Teamwork (of the crews) on ground and in the air in a complex situation has confirmed their readiness to interactively and aptly defend the common sky against intruders," said Lieutenant-General Pavel Kurachenko.

He reiterated that the Joint CIS Air Defense system has existed for already more than 20 years. The Combat Commonwealth exercises take place for already the 12th time, being held every two years. The large-scale exercise is underway from September 4 to 15 on the territories of Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

"Overall, the joint drills of the armed forces from the countries participating in the CIS joint air defense system will involve more than 2,000 servicemen and over 200 pieces of combat and special hardware, including S-400 Triumf and S-300 Favorit antiaircraft missile systems, Pantsyr-S complexes and also Tu-22M3 strategic bombers," the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier.

The maneuvers over Ashuluk also involve Mikoyan MiG-29, Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets, Su-24 bombers, Su-25 ground-attack aircraft, Su-34 multirole planes, MiG-31 interceptors and Mil Mi-8AMTSh helicopters.

A session of the Coordinating committee on air defense at the Council of CIS Defense Ministers was held in Astrakhan on Wednesday. Delegations from defense ministries of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kirgizia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan participated.

On Thursday, S-300 and S-400 air defense systems have been used in a live firing practice in the course of the international exercise.