Russia pledges to keep open supply routes to Afghanistan
A top Kremlin aide confirmed Thursday that Russia would coordinate with US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan on crucial supply routes through its southern territory, reported dpa.
Doubt emerged about Russia's commitment after Kyrgyz President Kumanbek Bakiyev announced the closure of a key US airbase on its territory under pressure from Moscow, observers said.
Russian and Kyrgyz officials have denied that Moscow's 2-billion-dollar aid package to the financially-strapped Central Asian country is linked to the termination of agreements for the US Manas base.
"It's just a coincidence," Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Igor Chudinov said Thursday of the timing of Bakiyev's statement while on a visit to Moscow this week.
Kremlin aide Sergei Prikhodko told news agency Interfax that Russia would keep open supply routes through its territory to field US and NATO operations in northern Afghanistan.
"Russia offers and continues to offer its full support to the uninterrupted transit of the supplies to provide for the action of multinational forces in Afghanistan," he said.