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Russian military monitoring NKorea rocket

world Updated: Apr 04, 2009 14:31 IST

The Russian military is monitoring an expected North Korean rocket launch and will ensure the rocket does not hit Russian territory, state television reported on Saturday."The Russian defence ministry is preparing to monitor the trajectory of the rocket and to prevent it or its debris from falling on Russian islands," the Vesti-24 television channel said, citing senior military sources.

Meanwhile a military spokesman in Russia's far east was quoted as saying that radars and air defence systems were on constant alert, preventing any threat to Russia."We have air defence forces on duty round the clock. These are S-300 air defence systems, which can strike targets at any altitude," spokesman Sergei Roshcha said in an interview with Vesti-24. "The main thing for Russia is that the rocket does not fall and kill anyone,"

Roshcha said.North Korea says it plans to launch the rocket sometime between April 4-8 despite condemnation from the United States and its allies, who believe the launch is a missile test in disguise.The isolated Communist state says it is simply planning a peaceful satellite launch and has threatened to retaliate with "deadly blows" against any Japanese attempts to intercept it.