Russia to assist NATO troops withdrawing from Afghanistan
Russia would allow NATO to use its territory to withdraw international troops from Afghanistan, the French Ambassador to Moscow said Thursday.
"We have agreed about transit through Russian territory of the troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan," ambassador Jean de Gliniasty told the local Kommersant daily.
This follows a statement Wednesday by Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov that Russia and NATO had discussed additional routes for cargo transport via Russian territory to supply international forces in Afghanistan, Xinhua reported.
Lavrov said the transit would be conducted by rail and air using an airfield in the city of Ulyanovsk in Central Russia.
"We are guided by the desire to assist the international forces to execute their mandate in full," Lavrov said.
The U.S. Defense Ministry has said it plans to complete combat operations in Afghanistan in 2013 and to start withdrawal in 2014.