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YEKATERINBURG, March 11. /TASS/. Russia’s Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bombers have flown to Tajikistan to take part in joint anti-terror drills, spokesman for Russia’s Central Military District Yaroslav Roshchupkin said on Friday.
Large-scale Russian-Tajik drills started in Tajikistan on Thursday to practice joint measures to repel external terrorist threats. The drills involve over 50,000 troops and a large number of armored vehicles and aircraft.
"The Tu-22M3 long-range bombers have flown to Tajikistan. The crews will use the target acquisition data of mobile control posts to practice delivering strikes with 500-kg aviation bombs on simulated base camps of illegal armed formations at the training ranges at the foothills of the East Pamir Mountains," the Russian officer said.
The Russian bombers have flown from the Tolmachevo airbase in the Novosibirsk Region in West Siberia to the Ayni aerodrome in the suburbs of the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.
Russia earlier redeployed Sukhoi Su-25SM attack aircraft, Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-8 military transport rotocraft to operational aerodromes in Tajikistan for the joint drills.
During the drills, the army aviation will provide reconnaissance and cover for the routes of military hardware convoys, support motor rifle units and special forces, airdrop a tactical paratrooper task force in hard-to-access mountainous terrain and practice the evacuation of wounded personnel.
The joint drills in Tajikistan also involve military governance bodies of the Tajik Defense Ministry and Russia’s Central Military District, motor rifle, tank and artillery units, special forces, and also parachute and airborne assault groups.
The personnel of the Russian and Tajik armies will practice cohesion, common approaches for neutralizing illegal armed formations, destroying bases, depots and other facilities of a simulated enemy.
The active phase of the joint drills will be held at five practice ranges of the southern Khatlon garrison - the Lyaur, Sumbula, Momirak, Kharbmaidon and Khalkayor training grounds.
Overall, about 50,000 soldiers, officers and reservists of the Tajik armed forces and over 2,000 personnel of the Russian army will be involved in the joint drills.
As spokesman for the Tajikistani Defense Ministry Faridun Makhmadalizoda said, "for the first time in the history of military cooperation between Tajikistan and Russia, the drills involve not only the servicemen of Russia’s 201st military base but also additional manpower and military hardware of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Central Military District, which have already arrived in the area of anti-terror drills."
The drills are being held in accordance with a decree by Tajikistani President Emomali Rakhmon on implementing measures for organizing the country’s territorial defense.
The drills will be supervised by Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo. On Russia’s part, the drills will be reviewed by a group of observers from the Central Military District led by District Deputy Commander Lieutenant-General Khasan Kaloyev.