Russian Duma Ratifies Pact to Defend Allies

MOSCOW(MOSCOW TIMES)–The Russian State Duma ratified on Friday an accord that would oblige Russia to provide troops and technical assistance to former Soviet states belonging to the Collective Security Treaty Organization that face outside aggression.

The document, which had been pending in the Duma since 2007, says the security council of the Moscow-led CSTO would have to decide whether to provide military support to a country that applies for assistance.

The news comes as CSTO members are working on a plan to build joint military ventures. Russia and Armenia agreed on Friday to build a collective air defense system to link up to one that Russia agreed to set up with Belarus earlier this month.

The CSTO, founded in 2002, comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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