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Naval strike aircraft will be reassigned to the Russian Air Force by the end of 2011, a high-ranking Navy source told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"The strike component of naval aviation will be transferred under the control of the Russian Air Force by the end of the year," the source said.
Naval strike aircraft include Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers, MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors, Su-27 Flanker fighter jets, and Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft.
"Black Sea Fleet's Su-24 attack aircraft based in the Crimea under a treaty with Ukraine will remain under control of the Navy as an exception," the source added.
The Navy will also retain control over Su-33 Flanker D and Su-25UTG Frogfoot carrier-based aircraft, Il-38 May and Be-12 anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The transfer of the naval transport aircraft fleet to the Air Force is still under discussion.
According to the source, the Russian navy will soon start receiving MiG-29K Fulcrum fighter jets.
Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is capable of carrying 26 Su-33 and MiG-29K aircraft.
Russia is aiming to finish drafting plans for a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier for its Navy by 2012 and build at least three of the ships for its Northern and Pacific fleets.
MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti)
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We have witnessed the total defeat of western Ukraine, Western nationalists and the West in general, which made the unfortunate decision to support the anti-government activity. They failed to realize that the collapse of Yanukovych means the collapse of Ukrainian unity. They set fire to their own home and planted a time bomb under Ukraine’s territorial integrity.