Russian Air Force Chief in Armenia

YEREVAN (BBC–Itar-Tass)–Russia has started delivering components of a system of S-300 air defense batteries to its military base in Armenia . "In accordance with a decision taken by the Russian defense minister–a planned modernization of the Russian military base in Armenia is under way–and S-300 components are being sent there by air," the commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force–Col-Gen (Aviation) Anatoliy Kornukov–told an Itar-Tass correspondent Wednesday.

Kornukov has arrived here at the head of a Russian military delegation. The c-in-c said "the base currently has an obsolete air-defense missile system–which does not meet the requiremen’s of contemporary conditions."

Kornukov also disclosed that air defense personnel at the Russian military base would start experimental duties on Thursday.

Kornukov said that "Russian-Armenian cooperation in military technology is developing as planned" . He said that work continues on drafting a Russian-Armenian agreement on joint duties within the CIS unified air defense system.

"We have come here to bring forward the date for concluding this document," C-in-C Kornukov said.

On the standard of armamen’s in the Caucasus states–Kornukov said that "he would not like to make a comparison but the situation is in favor of the states bordering Armenia rather than Armenia itself."

"The doors to the unified CIS air defense system are open to all–and if the Republic of Azerbaijan wants to join we would be pleased and this could only promote a peaceful settlement of all disputed issues," the general added.

Kornukov said that the military delegation would be checking on the state of the air group of the air defense air arm at Russian military base No 102. "We will see how they have settled in and how the re-arming of the missile defense troops at the base is going," the general said.

During his visit to Armenia the Russian air force chief is due to have a meeting with Armenian Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan. It is expected that a working meeting as part of the preparation of an agreement on joint duties within the CIS unified air defense system would result in a protocol being signed.

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