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ULYANOVSK, April 7 (Itar-Tass) —— About 800 people protested on Saturday, April 7, against plans to create a NATO transhipment point in Ulyanovsk.
“The participants in the event marched along the central streets of the city, after which a rally under the ‘No to NATO!’ motto was held at Square of Lenin’s 100th Birth Anniversary,” city police spokeswoman Olga Bogatova told Itar-Tass.
Leaflets inviting people to join the protest appeared in many places around the city on Friday, April 6. Participants in the rally demanded that the authorities give up plans to create a NATO transhipment point in Ulyanovsk.
“We are against the creation of a NATO transhipment base!”, “Let NATO in, and all people will kick in!”, “What is NATO” It’s atrocity” the leaflets circulated at the rally read.
“The event was held without violations of public order,” Bogatova said.
State Duma Defence Committee Chairman Vladimir Komoyedov of the Communist Party said earlier that a NATO cargo transhipment point, not a base, could be created in Ulyanovsk.
“Afghan security bodies cannot contain the extremist thrust on their own and it would be advisable to continue cooperation with the United States and other NATO countries on questions of transit of nonlethal cargoes through Russian territory,” the Defence Ministry said.
“In accordance with Russian legislation, cargoes transported through Russia will be examined by customs. The transshipment point in Ulyanovsk is not a NATO or U.S. military base,” Komoyedov cited the ministry as saying.
“Currently, assistance to the transit through Russian territory for the needs of international peacekeeping force is provided under inter-governmental agreements on air transit of personnel and property signed with Germany, France, Italy, the U.S., Spain, and Sweden. In addition, an agreement was reached at the Russia-NATO Council summit in Bucharest in April 2008 on railway transit of non-military cargoes to Afghanistan through Russia for the needs of the peacekeeping troops [pursuant to a Russian government resolution of March 2008],” Komoyedov said.
“Moreover, agreements were executed at the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010 to extend the simplified procedure to railway transit from Afghanistan,” the MP said.
“A refusal to perform these international obligations assumed under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1386 in 2001 would have undermined Russia’s reputation as a reliable partner in the security sphere,” he said.
This document calls for providing such necessary assistance to the coalition troops in Afghanistan as may be needed, including permission for the passage of planes and transit.