Russia and NATO to run joint exercises and talk on missile defense

Russia’s chief of staff of the armed forces Valery Gerasimov also announced that Russia will take part in NATO’s “Vigilant Skies” antiterrorist maneuvers in 2013. Source: PhotoXpress.

Russia’s chief of staff of the armed forces Valery Gerasimov also announced that Russia will take part in NATO’s “Vigilant Skies” antiterrorist maneuvers in 2013. Source: PhotoXpress.

Russia’s chief of staff talks after the NATO-Russia Council meeting about the joint agenda for Russia and NATO in 2013.

The plan for military cooperation between Russia and NATO in 2013 includes a number of joint exercises and training activities, Russia’s chief of staff of the armed forces, Valery Gerasimov, told reporters on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

“Joint military exercises and training activities will be held to promote practical cooperation in logistics, counterterrorism and sea rescue. In particular, the ‘Capable Logistician’ training course, which will take place in Slovakia this summer, will familiarize support officers with the procedures for providing troops with fuel, provisions and other resources,” Gerasimov said after a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels.  

Gerasimov also announced that Russia will take part in NATO’s “Vigilant Skies” antiterrorist maneuvers during the second half of 2013. “Training will focus on counterterrorism measures in air transport,” said the chief of staff.

The plan for military cooperation in 2013 was adopted at the NATO-Russia Council Military Committee in Chiefs of Defense Session, on Jan. 16. “We will continue to cooperate in counterterrorism, search and rescue at sea, counter piracy, logistics and military exchange,” Gerasimov said.     

The chief of staff also told reporters that Russia was ready to discuss the prospects of cooperation with NATO on missile defense.

“We are ready to continue discussions on NATO-Russia Council preparations for a joint analysis of framework conditions for possible cooperation in missile defense in Europe,” said Gerasimov. “We have the same concerns as before, and we hope that the alliance will take measures to eliminate these concerns. We have been very open with our colleagues on this matter.”

“The issue of missile defense remains a complex one, and we have not yet been able to reach a mutually acceptable solution that would guarantee that the missiles will not be used against Russia. We have talked openly about this with our partners. We are trying to explain to them, as well as demonstrate with the help of computer simulations, the basis of our concerns,” the chief of staff said.   

“We have no intention of limiting NATO’s missile shield capabilities against possible threats for the Middle East. But we can reasonably expect that the safety of NATO countries will not come at the expense of Russia’s security.

“It’s hard to build a trusting relationship when our means of defense are in the crosshairs of NATO missiles. We agreed today to continue discussions with the aim of finding a way out of this difficult situation,” said Gerasimov.

First published in Russian in RIA Novosti.

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