MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti)
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin dismissed on Tuesday concerns voiced by Russian internet users over the creation of a transit hub for NATO’s Afghan cargo in the Russian Volga city of Ulyanovsk.
“Reading about a ‘U.S. base near Ulyanovsk’ is annoying,” Rogozin wrote in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “Let me explain: we are talking about a so-called multimodal transit of non-lethal cargos to serve the needs of international security assistance forces in Afghanistan.”
In early February, Russian daily Kommersant quoted Defense Ministry sources as saying that Moscow was in talks with NATO on a new transit agreement under which non-lethal cargos from Afghanistan would be flown to Ulyanovsk, and then transferred to Europe by train.
According to Rogozin, “in Ulyanovsk, mineral water, napkins, tents and other non-military cargos will be reloaded from trains onto planes and then moved to Afghanistan.”
“This will be a commercial transit, which means the Russian budget will get money from it,” he wrote. “I don’t think that the transit of NATO toilet paper through Russia can be considered the betrayal of the Fatherland.”
While local authorities have hailed the new agreement, saying that it would create new jobs and help modernize Ulyanovsk Airport, Russian internet users have expressed concerns over what they called the authorities’ plans to set up a NATO “military base in the middle of the country.”
On Monday, the head of the Defense Committee in the Russian parliament’s lower house, Vladimir Komoyedov, said the State Duma had received an official letter from the Defense Ministry explaining that the Ulyanovsk transit hub will have nothing to do with a “military base.”
Russian internet activists have also speculated that poor customs controls may lead to Afghan drugs being smuggled into the country together with NATO cargos.
Rogozin, who had served as Russia’s envoy to NATO until December 2011, dismissed such concerns in his Facebook post, saying “Customs checks will be obligatory. Stop panicking.”
Russia has provided its territory for NATO’s Afghanistan-bound cargos since 2009. Last year, Moscow also agreed to allow the cargos to cross Russia’s territory in the opposite direction as the alliance is preparing to pull out its troops from Afghanistan.
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- ruypenalvaMoney does not pay everything00:36, 14/03/2012Mr. Rogozin should know tha money does not pay everything and any peace of paper to NATO soldiers help them to kill Afghan people. War is not made only of weapons but also of infrastructure to do it. I would like to know if USA or any european country would concede that facility to Soviet Union while it was engaged in Afghanistan war.
- mrgenieYou're right09:48, 14/03/2012But this agreement is about getting materials out of Afghanistan, not sure if I understood it correct.
Anyway, the west should retreat from Afghanistan. All countries in Europe, including Russia, should retreat all military which is being used or misused against innocent civilians. And the Americans should go back to their continent! Enough is enough. If everyone keeps in their own countries, if the big world arms suppliers (USA, Russia, China, Germany, France, UK) stop selling weapons to bad regimes like the Assad regime, world would actually have a chance to become peaceful.
- bielecIt is like...08:23, 14/03/2012...allowing the transport of food, drinking water, warm clothes, and personal heaters to the German soldiers taking part in the battle of Stalingrad. Non-lethal items, aren't they?
Then, the question is why did the Soviet army burn and destroy all crops and cattle, while retreating eastward, after the Nazis invaded Soviet Union in 1941? Why Russian partisans were destroying Nazi supply lines to the Eastern Front?
It must have been logistically important, it must have impacted the fighting ability of the German army.
C'mon, this is a no-brainer.
- arsanlupinWhat is the matter with you people??01:06, 10/04/2012Is everyone protesting this proposal functionally illiterate? I thought the Russian educational system is one of the best in the world.
The proposal specified that only NON-military cargo would be flown into Ulyanovsk by Russian air cargo planes with Russian crews. No NATO personnel (military or civilian) would be present at any time. The cargo would then be placed onto Russian freight trains by Russian rail yard workers and shipped by rail for delivery to various NATO countries. The cargo transit would be one way - FROM Afghanistan INTO NATO.
And nothing would be given away at all - the Russian agencies involved would be paid handsomely for their services and the use of a few old warehouses currently sitting empty.
Comparing NATO to the Nazis is even more ignorant - because NATO never was and is not now an enemy of the Russian Federation in any way. They have never made any hostile move towards Russian; they never even implied they considered doing anything like, oh, adding a few hundred IRBM's to point at Russia like someone else we know has said. They don't WANT to fight Russia, they want to improve relations with Russia to promote free trade and an open exchange of ideas.
The Cold War is over - and the people of EARTH won! Deal with it, and try to join the rest of us in the 21st century.
The British experience can be instructive for Russia. London retains its British Commonwealth if it wants to use this as a foundation for integration in the future. That’s a valuable lesson for Russian experts who are calling for an end to “ineffective” associations like the CIS, the Russian World and others.