Relevant agreements are signed with all members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Sergey Shoigu says FILE PHOTO: Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu chairs a meeting of the ministry’s board at the National Defence Management Centre in Moscow. © Sputnik / Vadim Savitskii

A joint air defense system between Russia and the former Soviet Republics that make up the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has actually been created, despite it not being reflected in any documents, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said.

The defense alliance, which has been around since 2002, currently unites Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

“In fact, [the joint air defense system] has already been created, created at the bilateral level,” Shoigu told broadcaster Rossiya 24 on Sunday.

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“We have an agreement… with each of the states, with Armenia, with Kazakhstan, with Kyrgyzstan, with Tajikistan and, of course, with Belarus,” he explained.

The minister stressed that the joint air defense system is equipped well and has the appropriate hardware, “and we periodically conduct exercises and keep it in combat-ready condition.”

“If there’s a need to formalize [the existence of the system] in some document, we’ll do it,” he added.

Last week, Russia’ President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow had supplied two divisions of S-300 air defense systems –comprising eight launchers– to the Central Asian state of Tajikistan as part of the effort to create a joint air defense shield with members of the Russia-led defense alliance. “In general, we are ready to continue and complete this work regarding CSTO as a whole,” Putin stressed. (RT)