The Russian government has decided to permit the German military to ship arms and military hardware by rail through Russia to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Previous transit agreements only covered non-lethal cargo.
Question: Has the present crisis in Russian-NATO relations affected the agreements concluded by Russia with individual member countries of the alliance regarding transit through Russian territory of military cargoes for the needs of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan?
Answer: The Russian side, including at the highest political level, has reaffirmed its interest in continuing and increasing cooperation with the alliance in the Afghan sector. This also concerns the fulfillment of the obligations under the transit agreements concluded with Germany, France and other partner countries acting as suppliers of troops for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
During the 10th round of Russian-German Interstate Consultations at summit level (St. Petersburg, October 2, 2008), the President of Russia and the FRG Chancellor gave a high assessment of the practical interaction experience accumulated in a bilateral format with regard to Afghanistan, and spoke for expanding it. In particular, it was about launching in addition to the functioning air bridge of supply for the German ISAF contingent the railway transit of Bundeswehr military cargoes to Afghanistan, which is also provided for in the 2003-2004 bilateral intergovernmental agreements currently in force.
By way of the realization of the political decision adopted at the summit, the Federal Customs Service on November 10 issued a general permit to carry out in accordance with a request from the FRG Government railway transit through Russian territory of Bundeswehr arms and military hardware and equipment to Afghanistan. This will be the first experiment of this kind in Russian relations with foreign states, taking into account close cooperation with Germany in the field of combating the common security challenges and threats.
Source Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia website