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Russia Creates Aerospace Forces

Russia has merged several branches of its military into the Aerospace Forces.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on August 3 that the decision offers "the optimal way of improving the system of the nation's aerospace defense."

The new branch will include the nation's air force, air defense, anti-missile and space forces.

Shoigu said that its creation has been prompted by the increasing importance of air and space components in modern warfare.

The air force chief, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, has been put in charge of Aerospace Forces.

President Vladimir Putin has launched an ambitious program to modernize Russia's military arsenals.

Commentators say the Kremlin has been keen to show off the nation's military muscle amid tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Based on reporting by TASS and AP