No Transit for NATO

No Transit for NATO

By Oleg Vladykin

Russia has stopped completely the transportation of military cargoes to Afghanistan through its territory.


Last Monday it became known that Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree that closed transit through the territory of Russia for military equipment and armaments to Afghanistan. As it is specified in the document, published in the official web-portal for legal information, such a decision was adopted in respect with expiry of the provisions of the UNO Security Council Resolution 1386.


This Resolution occurred in December 2001. It allowed the establishment of International Forces for security assistance in Afghanistan and called the neighbor states and other UNO member states to give such aid that would be requested including permissions of aircrafts flights and transit.


Moscow was observed the Resolution adopted with active participation of Russia, as an important element to ensure security and stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. Russian foreign affairs authorities stated that “such approach shall assist sooner and effective post-conflict recovery of this country”. And it promised that our country would make its contribution into the efforts of the international community in this matter.


However they managed to reach an agreement between Russia and NATO on transit through the territory if Russia for the cargoes for international coalition in Afghanistan only in April 2008. And aggravation of the relations between the Russian Federation and the alliance against the background of the events in South Ossetia in August 2008 allowed accomplishment of the agreement only in 2009.


The key point of the agreement was air transit for American cargoes to Afghanistan with 4500 flights annually.  They discussed an option of establishment of a permanent logistic center for transit cargoes, following in or out of Afghanistan, to locate in the military airfield in Ulyanovsk. But that project was severely criticized in the State Duma (primarily by the fraction of CPRF), stating that in fact it opens an opportunity to ground NATO’s military base in the very heart of Russia. That is why the in-land center has never operated in full capacity. Although regular flights of military and transport aircrafts of the USA proceeded over our territory. Even during the period when the relations of Moscow with Washington cooled acutely because of the contradictions on Ukrainian crisis.


And so in the document published recently it is specified that Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation was authorized to “inform the governments of foreign states and international organizations about the cancellation of on-land and combined (railway, road and air transport) transit through the territory of the Russian Federation for the military equipment and military units to be delivered to the International Security Assistance Force for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and back”.


The formal ground or such decision was the ending of multiply prolonged tern of validity of the UN Security Council Resolution 1386. It completely expired yet in December 2014. According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation presence of the international forces in Afghanistan starting from 2015 is controlled by other documents. Meanwhile almost for six months Russia kept on fulfilling the liabilities on provision of transit in Afghanistan. But Moscow has warned several times using the diplomatic channels that it would refused of it if the relations between our countries in military and political sphere would keep on worsening. Evidently, Russia’s patience has exhausted.


Oleg Vladykin is the senior editor of the Independent Military Review



Translation from the by EuroDialogueXXI






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