No Plans for NATO Base in Russia – Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW, April 27 (RIA Novosti) - There have never been talks on setting up a NATO base in Russia and there are no plans to build NATO facilities anywhere in the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
In light with continuing public protests and media speculations over the so-called NATO transit hub in the city of Ulyanovsk in the Volga region, the ministry reiterated on Thursday that the issue was “purely technical” and did not involve the presence of NATO military personnel in the country.
“There is no base or other NATO facility either in Ulyanovsk or anywhere else in Russia, and it will never be,” the ministry said in an extensive commentary on its website. “This issue has never been a subject of talks or agreements between Russia and other countries.”
Russia has been providing assistance to the international military contingent in Afghanistan since 2003 in line with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1386 in the form of allowing the transit of non-lethal weaponry to and from the war-torn Central Asian country under bilateral agreements with several countries.
Agreements with the United States, Germany, France and Spain have been ratified by the Russian parliament, while agreements with Italy and Sweden, which is not a NATO country, are awaiting ratification.
The airport in Ulyanovsk and adjacent railroad infrastructure have been chosen after a thorough study as an optimal route for a new “combined” transportation mode, which includes air, rail and water transport, the ministry said.
“We must underline that the cargoes will be transported as regular commercial shipments…through civilian facilities,” the commentary said. “Only Russian commercial logistics companies will be involved.”
All shipments for NATO troops in Afghanistan will be carried out under commercial contracts and checked by Russian customs officials to avoid the possibility of illicit drug-trafficking.
The ministry emphasized again the technical nature of the solution, and criticized the media and certain political forces in the country for distorting actual facts and providing false information in order to satisfy their own interests.
“We hope that this commentary will clarify the issue and, finally, end speculations on the subject,” the ministry said.
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