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NATO Transit Through Ulyanovsk to Begin in August

The Ulyanovsk airport, which will be used for transit of NATO cargo starting Aug. 1.

The NATO transit center in Ulyanovsk will begin handling cargo from the military alliance Aug. 1, Russia's acting NATO envoy Nikolai Korchunov told Kommersant in a report published Monday.

The Russian side intends to spend the time before this date finalizing preparations and documentation to ensure the center will not violate any legal codes and that it can maintain uninterrupted operation.

The agreement on the transit center, which will use both air and overland routes, was made June 25 and cemented with an exchange of diplomatic notes in Brussels on July 6, Korchunov said.

The facilities for cargo transport include the Ulyanovsk airport and certified international freight tracks. An international logistics company will organize the transit, and no foreign military personnel will be used. The transport containers will also be free of explosive or dangerous materials, Korchunov said.

Plans for the NATO transit center, which will be used to supply NATO forces in Afghanistan, first became public in February 2012. Russian activists, including from the Communist Party, have staged a series of rallies against the center, although officials have regularly stressed that it will not be a base for the alliance nor will foreign military units be stationed there.

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