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    Russia begins deployment of mountain brigades in North Caucasus

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    Russia has begun deploying two mountain brigades in the North Caucasus, near the border with Georgia, an Air Force spokesman said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has begun deploying two mountain brigades in the North Caucasus, near the border with Georgia, an Air Force spokesman said Tuesday.

    Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in March that the brigades would be completely formed by December 2007 and would be based in the republics of Daghestan and Karachayevo-Circassia.

    "Over two months, Il-76 planes will conduct about 20 flights to transport personnel of the mountain brigades to the North Caucasus military district," Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

    The Defense Ministry plans to deploy a reconnaissance and a motorized infantry battalion in the area in July-August, and complete deliveries of military equipment and ammunition to the brigades by October.

    The two brigades will be manned with contract soldiers and will total about 4,500 personnel.

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