In this photo taken Tuesday, July 31, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with pro-Kremlin youth activists at a camp at a bank of Seliger Lake in Tver region, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says that Russia is supporting the NATO mission in Afghanistan by providing a transit hub and isn't happy about the alliance's planned withdrawal.
Moscow has provided the U.S. and other NATO member states with air corridors and railway routes for carrying supplies to and from landlocked Afghanistan. Under a new deal this year, Russia for the first time allowed alliance members to set up a logistics facility for troops and cargo on its soil, in the Volga River city of Ulyanovsk.
Putin said Wednesday that the success of NATO's mission in Afghanistan is essential for maintaining stability on Russian southern flanks. He voiced regret about the planned withdrawal of most NATO combat forces by 2014, saying the alliance should complete its mission to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.