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    NATO PLANES IN LITHUANIA DO NOT AFFECT RUSSIAN AIR DEFENCES

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    ZHELEZNODOROZHNY (Moscow region), 7 April.-Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Vladimir Mikhailkov, told journalists on Wednesday that no changes had been made to the alert status of either air force or air defence units since four NATO planes were based in the Baltics.

    "We are not going to join a race with NATO," he said. "We have enough ways to guarantee security in the north-western area with standard air defence systems." According to the C-in-C, the Russian air force has its own air base network in the north-west of the country, as well as in the central zone and the south-east. If the need were to arise, warplanes could fly to any area in Russia, even the Far East, Vladimir Mikhailov said.

    Mikhailov was commanding a command-staff exercise of the CIS Joint Air Defence Force, which featured troops and hardware from seven Commonwealth member nations. "All the aims of the exercise were achieved and all the tasks completed and at present the war games have come to an end," Mikhailov said.

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