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Russia vows to strengthen military ties with Belarus


08:48, October 24, 2012

MOSCOW, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Moscow will deepen military cooperation with Belarus as a response to the buildup of the Western missile shield, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Tuesday.

"Currently, the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile system without taking into account our interests in the first hand, affects the common defense space," Serdyukov told a meeting of defense officials from the two countries.

Moscow and Minsk, as members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), have conducted over 50 joint exercises since 2010 and plan to conduct another joint strategic exercise in 2013, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The two sides also discussed possible military cooperation in the coming few years, Serdyukov said.

Meanwhile, Moscow saw the CSTO as an efficient mechanism to counter the security threats to its members' interests, Serdyukov said.

"The priorities of our interaction are coordinated military policy, joint use of military infrastructure, coordination of the armed forces' building," he said.

Beside being members of the CSTO, Russia and Belarus, which formed a binary Union State since January 2000, also have close interaction on the military-industrial industry, Serdyukov said.

The CSTO was founded in May 1992, shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It currently groups six former Soviet republics, namely Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
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