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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kosovo to Alter Russian Military Exercises

ZARYA, Moscow Region -- The Russian military will "adjust" its regularly scheduled combat training in response to NATO's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, a senior commander said Friday.

"Some adjustments will be introduced," Russian air force chief Colonel General Anatoly Kornukov told reporters at his force's headquarters in Zarya, just outside Moscow.

Kornukov said air defense exercises will be conducted in June, July and August in which Russian military will practice intercepting mock-ups of rockets that are "much tougher" than the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles that NATO has been actively using in Yugoslavia.

But he added that the Russian military routinely practices shooting down U.S.-style cruise missiles. He said three regiments of his force this year have held anti-cruise missile training.

"We have never stopped fighting cruise missiles and we will continue to do so," he said, adding that the air force's long-range aviation will engage into a "serious" exercise in June.

While introducing adjustments due to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the air force is not, however, "going to change the overall training plan" for this year, Kornukov added.

The Russian Defense Ministry has denied reports that any of its various military branches has stepped up training exercises in response to the Balkans war.

Reached by telephone Friday, the Defense Ministry's main directorate for combat training of the armed forces said this year's plans were not changing.

"It is training as usual, nothing extraordinary," said a senior officer with that directorate, who asked not to be identified.

That same assessment was offered at most of the military's separate branches. navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said Russian warships have already engaged in air defense training during war games earlier this year, but noted that that was planned in advance.

He added that navy chief Vladimir Kuroyedov has ordered no additional training over NATO strikes.