Daily Archives: May 30, 2013

Russia Ready to Help Modernize Finnish Army

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Russia is ready to expand military contacts with Finland and to help the country modernize its armed forces, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during a two-day visit to Finland.

“This is the first contact at the defense ministerial level. I hope we will expand contacts at the level of chiefs of staff and commanders of military districts,” Shoigu said at a joint news conference with Haglund in Helsinki. “Our military experts will hold a series of meetings on this issue in the near future,” he said.

The Finnish military needs modernizing, and will buy new equipment for its air force in the next 10 years.

During the Soviet era, Finland bought much of its military equipment from the USSR, including MiG-21 fighters, Mi-8 helicopters and air-to-air missiles. After the break-up of the Soviet Union it switched to western suppliers.

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Russia and Norway to Hold Barents Sea Drills Soon

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Russian and Norwegian naval forces will conduct a joint exercise in the Barents Sea on June 4-7, Northern Fleet spokesman Vadim Serga said. The Barents exercise is conducted every year in accordance with a 1995 Russian-Norwegian intergovernmental agreement. This year’s exercise, which has a rotating command system, will be under Russian control.

Russia’s Northern Fleet will contribute the tugboat SB-523, an Ilyushin Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft and an Mi-8 Hip helicopter to the Barents-2013 exercise.

The two nations’ search and rescue services will test their interoperability in evacuation of crews and aircraft in distress at sea, and cleanup of oil spills.

Syria Gets First Russian S-300 Missiles

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Syria has received a shipment of Russia’s long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, President Bashar al-Assad said. The president said other shipments of the anti-aircraft missiles will be delivered soon.

His comments came a couple of days after Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that sending long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria constitutes “a stability factor” and prevents foreign forces from interfering in the country. He said the shipment was being carried out according to a contract signed between Syria and Russia five years ago.

The president said his government would take part in an international conference on Syria slated for June.

Syria has been locked in a civil war since demonstrations broke out against the Assad regime in March 2011. According to UN estimates, some 80,000 people have been killed in the conflict.