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Russia-US military cooperation is advanced and developing - US defence attache
Source: Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow, in Russian 1008 gmt 14 Jul 03

Military cooperation between Russia and the USA is more advanced than the cooperation in other fields, Defence Attache of the US embassy in Moscow Brig-Gen Kevin Ryan said in an interview to Ekho Moskvy on 14 July.

In his view, it is due to the large volume of information being accumulated about each other's advancements in the Cold War years. He saw the ability to carry out joint military operations as the next stage of cooperation.

Ryan said the peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan were an example of how Russia and the USA can combine their effort. He said that we can talk about joint aid to Afghanistan from Russia and the USA.

He recalled President Vladimir Putin speaking about his readiness for cooperation in rescue operations and in exchange of information on terrorism in the days following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the USA. It still works, he said.

Asked whether the cooperation froze at the time when Russia and the USA had differences over Yugoslavia and Iraq, Ryan said it did to a point, because military relations depend on the countries' diplomatic relations. He said that the Russian troops were withdrawn from Yugoslavia for Russia's internal reasons.

Ryan said that the programme of contacts includes a lot of joint exercises and said that it gives a good opportunity to study experience of several countries.

He said that Putin knew that the USA had sufficient experience to discuss joint aid to Afghanistan.

He mentioned the international naval exercises Baltops-2003 and said that Russia had the largest contingent there. He quoted his European colleagues as saying that Russia was the leader in that exercise.

Asked about the antimissile sphere, Ryan said that both presidents gave directives to cooperate in this field. We are developing procedures to be closer to each other, but we do not have a joint management as yet. We have the same with other partners, he said.

Answering the question about Georgia, he said that the USA and Russia have different approach to what is going on in the Caucasus and to terrorism. Each side has its own relations with Georgia, he said.

Ryan said that, even though we do not carry out joint operations in Georgia, the American side has reported to the Russian Ministry of Defence about their operations there.

Asked whether the relations are developing, he said that in the 1990s we already knew that we want more than just military tourism. Now we are at the stage where we conduct joint military exercises.

Ryan recalled the Crimean war of 1854 when a US delegation visited Russia to watch the military action from the Russian side. It stayed in Russia for four months, but never got the tsar's permission to go to Crimea. However, they gained experience which proved useful during the Civil War. Ryan concluded by saying that you never know when and whose experience may prove useful.

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