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Russia to upgrade airforce facilities in westernmost region

(Xinhua)

08:27, February 23, 2012

MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia is planning to upgrade two airfields in its westernmost Kaliningrad exclave, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

"We are planning to increase the length of the runway to 3,500 meters at the airfield in Chkalovsk so that it would be able to receive any kind of aircraft, including Boeings and Airbuses," Commander of the Baltic Fleet Viktor Chirkov was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Russian forces would also rebuild an abandoned Soviet-era hydroplanes airfield on the Baltic Sea coast, he added.

According to the official, the reconstruction works will take about two years.

Meanwhile, Chirkov revealed that the Baltic Fleet would receive four multipurpose amphibious planes Be-200 for reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions by March 2013.

"Russia's Defense Ministry has already issued a decree for the purchase of the four amphibious planes in 2013," he said.

Commander of Russia's western military district Arkady Bakhin said on Tuesday that new S-400-Triumph air defense missile systems have been delivered to Kaliningrad.

In recent months, Russia has beefed up its military capabilities in western regions, especially in Kaliningrad which is surrounded by NATO members Lithuania and Poland, as a response to ongoing preparations by the U.S. to deploy anti-missile facilities in Europe.

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