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Medvedev Gets Right to Send Troops Abroad

The Federation Council on Wednesday approved a request by President Dmitry Medvedev to grant him the right to send troops abroad without the consent of the senators, Interfax reported.

“This is about solving immediate tasks connected to a threat to the lives of Russian nationals, as well as fighting piracy and securing the safety of shipping traffic,” Medvedev’s envoy to the Federation Council, Alexander Kotenkov, told the senators before the vote.

In early November, Medvedev signed a bill into law that allows him to send troops abroad to fend off attacks on the Russian military, to deter aggression against a third country, to defend Russian citizens, to combat pirates and to protect ships.

Medvedev, who ordered the bill, has made it clear that he was motivated by last year’s five-day war, which started when Tbilisi tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia by force. Most residents in South Ossetia and Georgia’s other breakaway region, Abkhazia, hold Russian passports.

The November law overlaps with a 2006 law on countering terrorism that allows the military to fight terrorists outside Russia. Under that law, the decision to deploy troops abroad is to be made by the president after getting a resolution from the Federation Council.

The provisions of the November law allowing Russia to defend foreign forces and countries apply to states that have signed military cooperation pacts with Russia, which include South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow recognized as independent after the August 2008 war.

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