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    Russia Plans to Deliver New Aircraft to Belarus Air Base: Defense Minister

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    Russian Defense Minister said Tuesday that the country is going to increase the number of airplanes and helicopters at its planned airbase in Belarus scheduled to be opened in 2016.

    MOSCOW, December 23 (Sputnik) – Russia will increase the number of airplanes and helicopters at its base to be opened in Belarus, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Andrei Ravkov.

    “I’m ready to continue our discussion of cooperation on a practical basis today. This is in regard to the S-300 [anti-aircraft missile system], as well as the creation and basing of [our] aviation in Belarus by increasing the number of airplanes and helicopters. This should provide for the security of our common airspace,” Shoigu said.

    The Russian airbase is to be opened near the city of Bobruisk in 2016. Neither defense minister specified the amount of hardware to be based there.

    In October, a highly-ranked Air Force official said Su-27 (Flanker) fighter aircraft would be based at the new complex.

    "A Russian Air Force Base in Belarus will be opened in 2016 and Su-27 fighters will be based there," Col.-Gen. Viktor Bondarev said.

    In October Shoigu stated that the two countries will expand their military drills program in 2015 due to the changing situation on the borders and in the world as a whole. The Minister spoke of "new threats" to the Union State [a supranational entity of Russia and Belarus] as a reason for such expansion.

    Following Crimea's reunification with Russia in March, NATO increased its military presence in Poland and the Baltic States. Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the increased military presence of the alliance in bordering countries.


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    Russian Aerospace Forces, airbase, S-300, Su-27, Russian Defense Ministry, Andrei Ravkov, Sergei Shoigu, Bobruisk, Belarus, Russia
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