Russia will continue to back NATO mission: PutinAugust 2nd, 2012 - 7:31 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, Aug 2 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Wednesday that Russia will continue to support the NATO military operation in Afghanistan.
“NATO maintains a permanent presence in Afghanistan at present. We should help them. Let them keep fighting there,” Putin said at a meeting of Russia’s Airborne Troops.
“That is in our interest. It’s in our interest that we should have peace on our southern borders,” he said.
Flooded by Afghan heroin being smuggled through former Soviet Central Asian republics, Russia has cooperated with NATO in fighting the drug business in Afghanistan for years.
Putin reiterated, though, that Russia will not send troops to take part in the military operation against Taliban fighters.
“I realize that, if something breaks out that requires the involvement of our armed forces and you - the paratroopers, you will be ready,” Putin said. “But it’s our job, the politicians, to prevent such events from occurring.”
Russia has also made significant contributions to support NATO ground and air cargo transit into and out of Afghanistan and recently agreed to host a NATO transit hub in Ulyanovsk to facilitate NATO withdrawal from the war-torn country by 2014.
In addition, Moscow has signed a $367.5-million deal in 2011 with the US Defence Department for 21 Mi-17V5 transport/attack helicopters to expand the fleet of helicopters in service with the Afghan military.
Putin expressed concern over security in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO troops from the country and urged NATO members to bring to a logical conclusion all the tasks that the Western coalition has committed to accomplish before the pullout.
“If they have made the commitment, let them follow through on it,” the Russian president said.
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- Afghan engineers training in Russia: NATO - Apr 20, 2012
- Russia not to allocate $10 mn for Afghan army - May 25, 2012
- Russia concerned over US plans to keep Afghan bases - Apr 20, 2012
- Russia seeks US explanation over post-2014 Afghan presence - Apr 26, 2012
- NATO chief congratulates Putin on victory - Mar 09, 2012
- NATO plans new Afghan mission after 2014 - Jun 04, 2012
- Russia ready to help NATO in Afghanistan - Jul 01, 2010
- Afghan military pilot kills eight NATO troops - Apr 28, 2011
- Britain halts military data sharing with Russia - Nov 26, 2011
- Ukraine offers help in NATO Afghan pullout - Apr 20, 2012
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