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    DZHIDA SETTLEMENT (BURYATIA), January 13, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexei Berezin) -- Combat readiness will first improve in the permanent readiness units, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said after visiting the 2nd bomber aircraft regiment of the 14th Air Force and Air Defence unit.

    "We will continue, calmly, purposefully and in a planned manner, to raise the level of combat readiness in all the units and formations, arms and services of the Armed Forces, but in permanent readiness units in the first place," Ivanov said.

    On Tuesday, the Minister began his inspection trip to the Siberian Military District.

    According to him, the military inspectorate of the Defence Ministry, headed by its chief - Lieutenant-General Alexander Lukin, arrived in the Siberian Military District on January 12, and the aircraft regiment was brought to full combat readiness.

    "Today, early in the morning we could observe how the regiment fulfilled the combat tasks at the testing ground. The tasks (missile strikes and the bombing of two targets - air defence and missile complex and the runway of the aerodrome of the conditional enemy) were fulfilled successfully by Su-24M planes. The examination of the flights and the objective control will be completed by the military inspectorate on Wednesday. But it can be said already now that most crews fulfilled the task with a 'good' mark," Sergei Ivanov pointed out.

    Earlier, the military inspectorate of the Defence Ministry checked a separate command-measuring complex of the space troops deployed in Ulan-Ude.

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