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Putin Expresses Support For NATO Use Of Ulyanovsk Airport

Protesters march on April 7 in Ulyanovsk against plans to establish a NATO transit base at the nearby airport.
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin has expressed his support for NATO to use a Russian airport as a supply hub for its mission in Afghanistan.

On April 11, Putin said that although he considered NATO "a throwback to the cold war," the Western military alliance had a role to play as "a stabilizer in global affairs."

NATO has requested permission to use the facilities at an airport in the city of Ulyanovsk, on the Volga River.

Putin said it was in Russia's "national interest" to grant the request, because instability in Afghanistan could result in the spread of drugs and Islamic extremism.

In Ulyanovsk, police broke up a tent camp set up near the airport to protest its use as a NATO transport facility.

The camp was set up after some 800 protesters rallied in Ulyanovsk on April 7.

Based on reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS