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Russia resumes deploying strategic planes
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09:49, August 18, 2007

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Russia was resuming flights of its long-range strategic aviation on a permanent basis from Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"Four strategic missile carriers, support planes, and tanker aircraft took off from seven Russian airfields in various parts of the country at 00:00, Moscow time, (2000 GMT Thursday) on Aug. 17. Combat alert has begun," Putin was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Putin made the remarks as he observed the final stage of the "Peace Mission 2007" anti-terror drill, sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in the Chebarkul military range near the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabinsk, with leaders of other SCO member states.

Since 1992, Russia had unilaterally stopped flights of its strategic aviation in remote combat areas. However, "not all of countries followed suit" and that has created certain problems for Russia's security, Putin said.

"For this reason I have made the decision on the resumption of flights of Russian strategic aviation," he added.

He believed that Russia's partners would meet the resumption of such flights with "an understanding."

The anti-terror drill, staged by the six member states of the SCO, have been carried out first in China's Urumqi, and then in Chelyabinsk, from Aug. 9 to Aug. 17.

The SCO groups Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Russia. Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Iran hold observer status at SCO meetings.

Source: Xinhua

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