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Russia, NATO to Tie Munitions Disposal Agreement

Russia, NATO to Tie Munitions Disposal Agreement 26.11.2012
Text: Lenta.ru
Photo: topwar.ru
Russia plans to sign a munitions disposal agreement with NATO, writes Kommersant on Nov 26 referring to sources in Brussels and in Russian defense ministry. According to the newspaper, it is planned to dispose arsenals on Russian money with use of NATO technologies.

The talks are going on for several months and were intensified after Sergei Shoigu shifted Anatoly Serdiukov at Russian defense minister's post. According to Kommersant, Russian experts are to visit munitions disposal facility Yahshihan in Turkey by the end of 2012 and then optimize cooperation and sign an agreement with NATO.

It is planned to summarize the visit to Turkey early in 2013 at the defense ministerial session of NATO-Russia Council. According to sources of Kommersant, the agreement may not be signed because four soldiers died at the Turkish mine disposal asset in Jan 2012.

By that agreement, NATO plans to improve relations with Moscow, writes Kommersant. In its turn, Russia expects the Alliance's technologies to shorten number of casualties when disposal of munitions. Several large incidents occurred since the beginning of the current year. In particular, two conscript soldiers died in the summer as a result of accidental explosion at the Pogonovo Range, Voronezh region. The recent large incident happened in Oct 2012 in Orenburg region when 4,000 munitions exploded spontaneously. As a result, residents of several adjacent settlements were evacuated.

Acting Russian ambassador to NATO Nikolai Korchunov confirmed Russia's interest in NATO technologies during his interview to Kommersant.

After the incident in the Orenburg region, defense ministry promised to stop disposal of munitions by way of explosion until 2013 and shift to industrial utilization.

NATO has already tied an agreement with Ukraine on disposal of munitions, small arms, and portable air defense systems. The Alliance sponsors more than a half of trust fund that finances these works. Russia and NATO tried to agree upon joint arms disposal in 2005. Cost of works was evaluated as RUR 73 bln; the Alliance was ready to cover somewhat 40 percent of the sum. This time, Russia plans to finance munitions disposal in full, writes Kommersant without naming approximate cost of works.

Late in 2011, Russia adopted a RUR 39-bln munitions industrial disposal program for the periods of 2011-2015 and 2016-2020. According to sources in the government's military industrial committee, about 90 percent of munitions are destroyed by servicemen while only 10 percent Ц by special panels.

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