Russia Plans Joint CIS Defense Exercises

ST. PETERSBURG (Combined Sources)–Russia’s Defense Minister announced on Wednesday that members of the Commonwealth of Independent States have agreed to conduct joint air defense exercises next summer.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov’s announcement came during the 55th meeting of CIS defense ministers in St. Petersburg, reported Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Serdyukov said the exercises, including live firing, will begin in June and run through September 2009.

The Defense Ministries from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmen’stan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine took part in the council.

The loose alliance of former Soviet states is comprised of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Turkmen’stan has associate status and Ukraine participates but is technically not a member state.

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