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Russia and Kazakhstan to hold joint war games in 2009-2011

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Russia and Kazakhstan will hold joint military exercises in 2009-2011, the two countries' defense ministers announced in Moscow on Monday.
MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Kazakhstan will hold joint military exercises in 2009-2011, the two countries' defense ministers announced in Moscow on Monday.

Anatoly Serdyukov and Danial Akhmetov ordered their respective offices to draft the details of the joint drills, including the timeframe, locations and forces to be involved. The military exercises will be held on the territories of both states.

The two ministers said that joint tactical drills to be held this autumn as part of Center-2008 staff exercises in the Chelyabinsk Region in the Urals, "will contribute to the further development of a united outlook and approach to the planning of joint actions to maintain the national security of the two countries."

Serdyukov and Akhmetov, who is currently on a two-day trip to Moscow, also praised the military skills displayed by around 2,000 Russian and Kazakh paratroopers who took part in a joint counterinsurgency tactical exercise last Friday.

A Kazakh Defense Ministry spokesman said earlier that the 2008 Kazakh-Russian military cooperation program included a series of joint operational and combat training activities.

Russia, which is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), has been strengthening military ties with its allies amid growing tensions over NATO expansion and U.S. missile shield plans for Central Europe. An agreement was recently signed by Washington and Prague on deploying a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic, a move that did little to assuage Russian concerns for its national security.

The CSTO is a post-Soviet security alliance, which also comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

About 4,000 troops from Armenia, Russia, and Tajikistan will take part in the four-stage Rubezh-2008 military exercises in Armenia and Russia this summer / fall.

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