The Russian government has not yet considered whether it will fulfil an agreement to set up a logistics transit hub in the Russian Volga city of Ulyanovsk for NATO operations in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
“This draft agreement… has not entered force yet, it has not yet been considered by the government,” Lavrov told State Duma members.
Lavrov was commenting on media reports last month quoting Defense Ministry sources as saying that Moscow was in talks with NATO on a new transit agreement under which non-lethal cargos from Afghanistan would be flown to Ulyanovsk, and then transferred to Europe by train.
“We are interested in having those who counter issues facing Russia inside Afghanistan do their job efficiently,” Lavrov said.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote in his blog on Tuesday that it would be a commercial transit. He also said the transit cargos would consist of necessary everyday items and would be transmitted to Afghanistan and not from the Central Asian country.
“In Ulyanovsk, mineral water, napkins, tents and other non-military cargos will be reloaded from trains onto planes and then moved to Afghanistan,” he wrote. “The Russian budget will get money from it."
Russia has provided its territory for NATO’s Afghanistan-bound cargos since 2009. Last year, Moscow also agreed to allow the cargos to cross Russia’s territory in the opposite direction as the alliance is preparing to pull out its troops from Afghanistan.