Russia: March 19, 2003

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The Russian military resumed their withdrawal of valuable munitions from the former Soviet 14th Army depots in the Dniester region. A train being loaded in Kosbasnya with ammunition is due to leave for Russia on March 20. This will be the eighth Russian trainload of munitions to leave Dniester, with the seventh train (consisting of 38 cars) having headed for Russia overnight on March 15. A group of nine Hungarian experts will check the cargo at an unloading point in Lyubertsy (outside Moscow) on March 18-22. 

In November 2002, the withdrawal was suspended by local authorities and resumed only after the republic's Supreme Council made a decision on unconditional withdrawal of Russian materiel before the end of 2003. Six trains left the republic in 2001-2002. The materiel is being withdrawn to Russia in accordance with agreements of the OSCE summit in Istanbul in 1999 and a total of about 80 train trips will be needed to complete the withdrawal.

The 14th Army's storehouses in Kolbasno initially contained over 40,000 tons of arms and ammunition: 20,000 tons of ammo, 50,000 small arms, hundreds of artillery pieces, thousands of vehicles and enough uniforms for 100,000 troops. Most of this stockpile is supposed to be scrapped, but considering how poor the Russian military is that option remains suspect. - Adam Geibel

 

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