Vlado Buckovski, the Macedonian Defence Minister, is relying on Russian help to combat terrorism in the Balkans and believes it is the corner stone of bilateral military and technical cooperation. He made this statement during his interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. The interview will be published on Wednesday. The Minister stated that the scale of bilateral cooperation could have been higher than it is now. According to him, notwithstanding the fact that the admission into NATO is "the strategic objective, Macedonia needs help and Russia can provide it, including the question of defence." The Minister believes that Albanian terrorists operating in Macedonia cannot be "destroyed only by bombing or shelling." To do this, "we need special squads, experienced army commandos, parachute and assault units." According to him, Macedonia formed military commando units three months ago. "Now we need help to train and arm these units," Buckovski stated. "Combating terrorism in Macedonia is not an internal problem, but an international one." Buckovski believes that the military and political cooperation that Macedonia has with the United States and NATO, "will be unable to settle the conflict with Albanians in Macedonia completely." The Minister said that this was a purely European problem, "which required more active involvement of all European states including Russia." Buckovski also voiced his high appreciation of Russian support during the intrusion of armed Albanian formations into Macedonia. "We hope that Russia will provide us with political, not military support," the Minister added. "The Russian position has been supporting the territorial integrity of Macedonia for the past seven months."
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