Green Light for Return NATO Transit

Green Light for Return NATO Transit

By Nikolay Surikov

There will be no base of the Alliance in Ulyanovsk, not Even Its Representatives

The establishment of a transit center in Ulyanovsk and moreover its military base of NATO is absolutely impossible, as state the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. According to them, the case is only about usage of local transport infrastructure for transit, which shall be performed by Russian companies under the control of customs bodies. There will be no military or civil NATO representatives in Ulyanovsk, as underlined at Smolensk Square.

It’s not planned to establish a military NATO base in Ulyanovsk, declared on Wednesday the Vice Director of the Department of Common European Cooperation of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Russian Federation Yury Gorlach during the briefing in Moscow in presence of the “NG” observer.. “Negotiations on the foundation of any NATO base or transit station have never been held, and they are generally impossible”, - he said. The diplomat underlined that the kind of provision is simply not anticipated by the Russian Federation legislature.

Let’s remind that in accordance with the Resolution 1386 of the UNO Security Council Russia assists International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) and in 2008 introduced simplified transit procedure for their non-lethal cargos. Now in relation with the planned in 2014 withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan the issue on return transit has occurred, a part of this transit shall go through the Russian Federation.

> Logistic And Afganistan
We are talking about the so-called combined (air-land-railway) transit of non-lethal cargos. According to the experts, combined transit was chosen as land transportation along the territory of Afghanistan is too expensive regarding insurance and security measures. It’s simpler to deliver the containers to the territory of the Russian Federation by air.

Yury Gorlach described this process in the following way: air planes of Russian transport companies shall provide containers to the airport “Ulaynovsk-Vostochny”, where they shall be unloaded and delivered to the customs temporary storehouse nearby. From there the containers shall be delivered by motor transport to a railway station. Russian Customs Service representative shall control over the containers along the whole way.

By this during this period a cargo shall not cross the customs border of the Russian Federation, but shall pass radiation control, as well as shall be checked for drugs in case of need with observance of all international norms.

According to the diplomat, Ulyanovsk was chosen also because of security and secrecy observance. The city airport is not used by military services and is not certified as international one, there is also international railway corridor (i.e. it doesn’t go near secret objects), and road-transport “shoulder” of the way
is only 1 km away.

“This shall be a mechanism, process, and not just the storage station”, - he noted. There shall be no logistic center with the NATO Administration and personnel. All the procedures shall be performed by Russian companies on commercial ground.  If protection of cargo is demanded, Russian companies shall handle this. The issue of drugs traffic from Afghanistan was thoroughly considered. We anticipated the option for cargo examination by Russian customs and law-enforcement bodies.

Yury Gorlach explained that it’s more profitable to send cargos for Afghanistan to the USA via Southern transport corridor, which lies along the territory of Pakistan to the Karachi port. Via Ulyanovsk the cargos shall go to Europe, mainly to German base “Ramstein”.

The budget of the Russian Federation shall gain profit as taxes from the companies, transporting cargos for NATO. Except for that, fruitful cooperation in this sphere promotes constructive dialogue with the North Atlantic Alliance on other issues. Yury Gorlach noted that one shouldn’t observe the North Corridor as the pressure tool for NATO or the USA, as the Russian Federation has no monopoly in the sphere, as there are also Central and South Corridors.

Observers note that starting from 2008 through the Russian Federation for ISAR about 30 thousand containers have been transported mainly with construction materials and food. Only the most valuable things shall be removed from Afghanistan: transport vehicles, various equipment. As experts estimate, the total scope of transportation costs can reach up to 3 billion USD and Russian companies can claim a part of this amount. At the moment, all technical issues related to the transit through Ulyanovsk, have been finalized, now Governmental decision is urgent. By all appearances it shall be the positive one. Yesterday the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared that transit of NATO cargos via Ulyanovsk corresponds to the interests of Russia, as it promotes stability in Afghanistan.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from



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