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Russia's military drills in South Ossetia not linked with alliance treaty — Kremlin

March 19, 2015, 12:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Motorized infantry, tank, artillery, anti-aircraft missile and special units of the Russian military base in South Ossetia held a tactical exercise with live firing at the Dzartsemi range
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Russian military base in South Ossetia

Russian military base in South Ossetia

© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Maneuvers at the Russian military base in South Ossetia are not linked with the Treaty on Alliance and Integration, signed on Wednesday, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"These maneuvers cannot be the result of the agreement signed yesterday," he said. Peskov said that the document approved by the leaders of the two countries on Wednesday was a framework agreement. "It serves as a basis for the signing of more specific agreements," he said.

Peskov advised reporters to turn to the Defense Ministry for the military exercises’ details.

The press secretary recalled the words of the Russian president, who "has repeatedly stated that the practice of exercises and snap checks [in the Armed Forces] will be continued." "It’s common practice that is justified today," Peskov said. "Of course, all actions within the framework of such checks and exercises are conducted in strict compliance with international law," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the press service of the Southern Military District reported that motorized infantry, tank, artillery, anti-aircraft missile and special units of the Russian military base in South Ossetia held a tactical exercise with live firing at the Dzartsemi range. The maneuvers involved more than 600 troops, some 150 units of military hardware.

The treaty, signed in Moscow on Wednesday, provides, inter alia, for the formation a common security and defense space by Russia and South Ossetia, free crossing of the Russian-South Ossetian border, the integration of the two sides’ customs authorities, cooperation of their interior agencies, the simplification of the procedure for getting Russian citizenship and the social component, including the issues of pensions. The treaty is a basis for the gradual establishment of closer cooperation between the two countries, with preservation of state sovereignty of South Ossetia.

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