The head of the Russian air force has announced that Russia will establish an airbase for fighter jets in eastern Belarus in 2016, the Moscow Times reports.
Colonel General Viktor Bondarev also said Moscow planned to expand its airbases in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
The three nations are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which has accelerated efforts to create a unified air defense network.
The new airbase in the Belarusian city of Babruysk will expand Russia’s already strong air presence in Belarus. The base will be home to a wing of Russian Su-27 fighter jets, news agency TASS reported.
“By 2020 … 47 airfields, including in Crimea in the Arctic, will be renovated under the state armaments program,” Bondarev was quoted as saying by Interfax. By 2025, he added, the Russian air force will have restored and reopened over 100 military airbases.
Bondarev was also quoted by RIA Novosti as saying on Wednesday that Moscow is negotiating with Bishkek to reconstruct the Kant airbase in Kyrgyzstan, which is a home for Russian fighter jets under CSTO auspices. While the base is usable, further construction is needed to support Russian strategic bombers, he said.
Bondarev said similar work will be done on an airbase in Armenia, the Soviet-era Erebuni base, which is already home to Russian MiG-29 fighter aircraft.