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U.S., Russia To Cooperate In Air-Defense Drill

The United States and Russia are expected as early as today to start a joint air-defense exercise involving a simulated airplane hijacking.

The exercise would involve fighter jets from Russia and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

The drill, which also includes Canada, will track two international flights -- one from Alaska to Russia's Far East, followed by one in the opposite direction.

Russian Air Force spokesman Vladimir Drik told Russian news agencies the exercise would start today and last until August 14.

NORAD -- which said the drill would start around August 8 -- said it was aimed at furthering cooperation with the Russian Air Force to prevent possible threats of terrorism.

compiled from agency reports