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    Russia to boost ties within CSTO, form joint air defense network

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    Russia is planning to expand military-technical cooperation with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and build a CSTO integrated air defense network, the president said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is planning to expand military-technical cooperation with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and build a CSTO integrated air defense network, the president said on Tuesday.

    The CSTO is a security grouping comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

    "New opportunities are opening through our contacts with CSTO member states, primarily in work to form a joint air defense network and a regional command, control and communications network. For us, this is probably one of the central aspects of cooperation," Dmitry Medvedev told a meeting of the Commission for Military-Technical Cooperation.

    Ex-Soviet states already have an integrated air defense system. The CIS integrated air defense network was set up by 10 CIS member countries on February 10, 1995. Georgia withdrew from the alliance after its brief military conflict with Russia over South Ossetia in August.

    The CIS air defense network comprises seven air defense brigades, 46 units equipped with S-200 and S-300 air defense missile systems, 23 fighter units equipped with MiG-29, MiG-31 and Su-27 aircraft, 22 electronic support units and two detachments of electronic warfare.

    During the meeting Medvedev also called for expanded cooperation with other CSTO member-states in the development of new types of military hardware.

    "I have already discussed this with the CSTO member-states. Cooperation with them must be placed on a solid foundation of coordinated programs, including medium-term cooperation," Medvedev said.

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