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12 Russian aircraft to participate in SCO drills

MOSCOW, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Russia will send 12 aircraft to participate in the upcoming joint anti-terror drill among Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members in China, a defense official said Tuesday.

"This week, crew of SU-25SM frontline bombers and of MI-8 AMTSh transport helicopters are to leave for China," Russia's eastern military district spokesman Roman Martov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

The Russian aircraft will cover 1,600 km to reach their destination in China, he said. The Russian defense ministry earlier revealed that over 800 Russian troops will take part in the joint drill.

"Peace Mission-2014" will take place on Aug. 24-29 at the Zhurihe training base in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, in accordance with the 2014-2015 defense ministry cooperation plan among SCO members.

The drill, which is expected to involve over 7,000 Chinese, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Tajik troops, is a series of joint anti-terrorism military exercises launched under the SCO framework.

Last year, only China and Russia participated in the exercises, which were held in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural mountainous region from July 27 to Aug. 15, 2013.

Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the SCO groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

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