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MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Ground Forces chief Col. Gen. Vladimir Chirkin on Tuesday visited a military academy that trains Iskander missile crews, among other specialists, Defense Ministry spokesman Anton Goncharov said.
Chirkin was briefed on the training and education process at St. Petersburg’s Mikhailov Academy by its chief, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dyatlov, and visited some hands-on class sessions.
He paid special attention to the training of specialists for Iskander short-range mobile ballistic missile systems that are currently being supplied to missile and artillery units on a large scale, Goncharov said.
This year the academy plans to admit about 800 students.
In 2011, then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad Region, to counter the threat posed by the US plans to deploy missile defense elements in Europe. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.
Russia proposed a joint missile defense system, an idea that many experts both at home and abroad dismiss as unviable and unrealistic. Then it demanded “legally binding guarantees” that US/NATO missiles would not be aimed at Russia. Since Moscow’s proposal received a lukewarm response in the West, Russia has been warning of unspecified low-cost “asymmetric measures” to counter the future Western missile defense system.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.