Russia to offer air base to United States
MOSCOW – The Associated Press
A Member of the public watches a US Air Force B52 bomber arrive at RAF Fairford in western England in this file photo. AP photoA new deal allowing the United States and its NATO allies to use a Russian air base for transit of troops and military cargo to Afghanistan would help ensure Russia’s own security, Russia’s foreign minister said yesterday.
The proposal comes at a time when the U.S. government has concerns about its supply options to coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Sergei Lavrov said a plan to permit the U.S. and other NATO nations to use the base in Ulyanovsk on the Volga River will soon be considered by the Russian Cabinet. Moscow has provided the U.S. and other NATO member states with air corridors and railway routes for carrying supplies to and from Afghanistan. The new deal would for the first time allow alliance members to set up a logistics facility for troops and cargo on Russian territory.
Lavrov strongly defended the deal, saying the success of NATO’s mission is essential for fending off the spread of terrorism and illegal drugs from Afghanistan into ex-Soviet Central Asian nations and Russia.