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Russia-Belarus Union State Increases Defense Spending in 2014

© RIA Novosti . Andrey Alexandrov / Go to the photo bankThe Russia-Belarus Union State will allocate 3.2 billion rubles ($91.5 million) in 2014 for joint military
The Russia-Belarus Union State will allocate 3.2 billion rubles ($91.5 million) in 2014 for joint military - Sputnik International
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The Russia-Belarus Union State will allocate 3.2 billion rubles ($91.5 million) in 2014 for joint military, defense industry and security projects, the body’s top official said Wednesday.

MINSK, January 29 (RIA Novosti) – The Russia-Belarus Union State will allocate 3.2 billion rubles ($91.5 million) in 2014 for joint military, defense industry and security projects, the body’s top official said Wednesday.

The supranational entity spent only 1.3 billion rubles on defense and security from a 2.5bln-ruble budget assigned for this purpose last year, State Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union State Grigory Rapota said.

The plan for this year includes joint programs in space exploration, strengthening of the regional military contingent and construction of new military facilities, Rapota said.

The Union State was formed in 1999 as an attempt at political and economic integration between the former Soviet republics. It has made progress in regional military alignment, coordinated air defense and joint military maneuvers since then.

Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement on joint protection of the Russia-Belarus Union State's airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air defense network in February 2009

Both countries hold regular large-scale military drills, dubbed Zapad (West).

Some 12,000 Russian and 200 Belarusian servicemen, 180 combat vehicles including 10 tanks, 10 ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and 40 aircraft took part in the Zapad-2013 drills.

Russia and Belarus also signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2013 on cooperation in the use and development of the Glonass global navigation and positioning satellite network as part of bilateral cooperation in the exploration and peaceful use of outer space.

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