Russia promises bases in South Ossetia by 2009

Russia’s military bases in the newly proclaimed republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will begin operating next year with 3,700 troops at each, according to the Chairman of the Russian General Staff General Nikolay Makarov.

Top Russian and U.S. military chiefs met in Helsinki, Finland, on Tuesday, in their first face to face meeting since the conflict in South Ossetia. The situation in the region topped the agenda.

“The primary goal of the bases is the protection of our interests and the interests of the two republics in the region,” said General Makarov.

“The amount and range of armaments and military hardware at the prospective bases are being coordinated alongside infrastructural matters. I think it will take no less than twelve months to fully equip the bases in accordance with their mission.”
 
The Russian and U.S. sides agreed it is important to ease current tensions between Washington and Moscow and all key issues should be discussed either over the phone or in person.

General Makarov also warned Russia is already considering additional measures to counter the deployment of U.S. missile defence elements in Poland and the Czech Republic.

“Such measures are being pondered,” he said.

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