Belarus,Russia to take steps towards joint air defence

Minsk, Feb 28 (NNN-BELTA) Russia and Belarus are to take steps to ensure joint defence of the Union State's air space, Boris Gryzlov, the Chairman of the State Duma of Russia, said at the 5th session of the permanent workshop of the of the Belarus-Russia Union State Parliamentary Assembly in Pskov in northwest Russia on Tuesday.

This is a promising avenue of Russian-Belarusian military-technical co-operation, he said, adding that Belarus and Russia should strengthen their regional anti-aircraft defence system and pursue a single border policy.

Late in 2006, the two countries completed a joint programme, which cost 3.0 billion Russian roubles (one USD = about 26.1 roubles) and which saw the sides send into service 20 new border installations equipped with a digital communication network, Gryzlov added.

"Belarus and Russia are developing a new joint programme on equipping the Union State border with the necessary installations, which is designed to run through 2011," Gryzlov said.

The facilities stationed in Belarus, he said, "contribute to ensuring strategic security in the region". This includes a rocket warning radar located near Baranovichi and the submarine command post of the Russian Navy in Vileika.

Russian-Belarusian military and military-technical co-operation is a key avenue of integration of the two states, said Gryzlov, who added that it was not only for Belarus and Russia that this cooperation is significant, but also for other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

"The experience gained by Russia and Belarus is essential for the CSTO states," Gryzlov said.