Some two dozen Russian soldiers became the first combat troops from their country to participate in a NATO peacekeeping exercise this week. The Russian soldiers–said to be marines drawn from the Baltic Fleet–joined some 3,000 other troops from seventeen countries in the Operation Cooperative Jaguar exercise. The exercise, which is taking place in Denmark, is being conducted under the auspices of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. (AP, May 8; AP, Center TV, May 18) Although Russia has long been a member of the Partnership for Peace program and last year signed a major cooperative agreement with NATO, the Russian military has thus far done little in terms of practical cooperation with NATO. The decision to take part in Cooperative Jaguar followed a visit to NATO headquarters early this month by Russian General Staff chief Anatoly Kvashnin.
RUSSIA REBUFFS CHECHNYA’S BID FOR DIPLOMATIC STATUS.