Published June 22, 2012
| Associated Press
MOSCOW – Russia's parliament has ratified an agreement with Italy that allows it to transport troops and cargo to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
The deal approved by the lower house Friday follows similar agreements with the U.S., Germany and France that allowed them to use air corridors and railway routes for carrying supplies to and from Afghanistan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told lawmakers the deal would contribute to international and Russia security.
Russian officials have said NATO's mission in Afghanistan is essential for fending off the spread of terrorism and illegal drugs from Afghanistan into ex-Soviet Central Asian nations and Russia.
Russia also is now considering allowing NATO to use a logistics facility on Russian territory for Afghan transit.