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Russia tests air-defense in Asian region

MOSCOW, March 21 (UPI) — The Russian military deployed more than 500 weapons systems and 50 aircraft to a region near Mongolia for air-defense drills, the government said.

The Russian government said air-defense drills are under way in the Republic of Buryatia in Asia. Military forces are testing the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, man-portable surface-to-air missiles systems and other defensive equipment, state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Lt. Col. Alexander Gordeyev, spokesman for Russia’s eastern military district, said the air-defense systems can engage targets at a range of about 12 miles.

“The exercise is designed to test the readiness of the district’s air-defense forces and combat aviation to perform joint missions and rehearse a range of combat training tasks in modern warfare,” RIA Novosti said.

NATO in December joined Russian forces in computer-simulated drills aimed at coordinating airspace security over Eastern Europe. NATO said the simulation could lead to live drills over the Black Sea in 2013.

The drill was part of an initiative launched in 2002 that envisions greater transparency and confidence between both sides.

The United States and South Korea last week conducted joint military drills in the region. The U.S. military said its presence in Asia was a reflection of its commitment to security on the Korean Peninsula.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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