Armenia’s Air Defense System Begins Operation

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–A ceremony Wednesday marked the commencement of Armenia’s air defence troops’ operational duty as part of the joint air defence system of the Commonwealth of Independent States).

Colonel-General Anatoly Kornukov–Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Air Force–who arrived here on Tuesday at the head of a Russian military delegation–is to attend the ceremony–which will finalise the process of integrating Armenia into the CIS joint AD system which had been restored under the Collective Security Treaty.

Kornukov arrived in Armenia Tuesday to take part in joint aerial exercises with the Russian Air Force and Armenia’s Anti-Aircraft units.

Kornukov announced the purpose of his visit at the Zvartnots airport–specifying that the mission was stipulated by a joint agreement signed in Moscow between CIS defense ministers.

The commander stressed that the time had come for these two units to be prepared for joint missions.

Another purpose of his visit–Kornukov announced–was to assess the condition of the joint air defense systems and provide assistance in that area.

The joint exercises are scheduled for April 22–under Kornukov’s command.

Kornukov stressed that the military exercises were routine and were not connected to the three-week old NATO airstrikes in the Balkans–"although logically it stems from that."

Kornukov pointed out that while the Russian military base in Armenia recently has been modernized and "has a huge defense potential," eight new anti-aircraft fighter planes would be transported to Armenia–as soon as the necessary conditions are completed.

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