Russia vows to defend western borders

April 23, 2013 at 9:50 AM
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MOSCOW, April 23 (UPI) -- Russia aims to defend its western frontier with missile defense and fighter jets at a military base in Belarus, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

"In 2013 we will establish a military commandant's office and provide a wing of combat fighters on alert duty," he was quoted by Russia's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "We hope that an air force regiment will be here by 2015 to protect our borders."

Shoigu said the military would deliver four battalions of the S-300 missile defense system to Belarus by 2014.

U.S. missile defense plans for Eastern Europe were criticized by Russia as having the potential to upset the regional balance of power. The Russian government said it wanted security guarantees from the United States that such plans wouldn't target its strategic interests.

The United States in 2006 issued a national emergency that placed sanctions on Belarusian authorities in for undermining democratic processes in the country. The White House, in renewing the measure last year, took note of a 2011 crackdown on political opposition and restrictions on the freedom of press.

Russia added Tuesday that it was planning test flights of its T-50 stealth fighter jet next year.

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