THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 6, 2009
United States-Russia Military Transit Agreement
On July 6, 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Undersecretary of State William Burns concluded an agreement that will enable the United States to transport its military personnel and equipment across Russia to support American and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.
This agreement complements a NATO-Russia arrangement, under which the United States began shipping non-lethal equipment to Afghanistan through Russian territory earlier this year.
This agreement will enable the United States to further diversify the crucial transportation routes and decrease the amount of time needed to move troops and critical equipment to resupply international forces in Afghanistan and to bring needed supplies to the government and people of Afghanistan. This will permit 4,500 flights per year. The new transit routes will save the United States government up to $133 million annually in fuel, maintenance and other transportation costs, and this agreement is free of any air navigation charges. By providing access to these transit routes, the Russian Federation is ena b ling a substantial increase in the efficiency of our common effort to defeat the forces of violent extremism in Afghanistan and to ensure Afghanistan’s and the broader region’s security.
Conflict and instability in Afghanistan are a threat to the region and the world. The growing flow of narcotics from Afghanistan threatens the well-being of Europe and Central Asia, and provides a source of lucrative funding for terrorists and criminals throughout the region.
The Russian Federation’s decision to open these valuable transit routes supplements its already robust airlift support and provision of commodities to Coalition efforts in Afghanistan, and further illustrates that Russia is a valuable member of the international coalition supporting the security, stability, and reconstruction of Afghanistan.