16:21 GMT28 February 2020
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    Russia has drawn up a roadmap to defend the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a bloc of former Soviet countries, against air and space threats, the first deputy commander of Russia’s Aerospace Forces said Wednesday.

    ASTRAKHAN (Sputnik) — Aerospace Forces Lt. Gen. Pavel Kurachenko told reporters that Russia had to review its airspace defense policy in light of new threats to Russia and its CIS allies.

    "This concept will identify measures that need to be taken by the state and the military to ensure the security of our countries," the deputy commander said.

    He added that a collective air defense system could be considered "in the long run." "We need first to adopt an Aerospace concept before moving on to more specific issues like [collective] anti-missile defense. Initially, there needs to be a legal framework," Kurachenko stressed.

    The defense plan has already been reviewed and amended by the allied countries, and a draft concept has been adopted by the Russian military's coordination committee, the general said. It is expected to be debated by the council of CIS defense ministers and adopted within a year.

    Russia has long been leading efforts to build a joint air defense shield for the CIS bloc. An integrated air defense network was set up by ten member states in 1995 and currently comprises air defense units from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.


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