Exercise of rescuers of Russia and NATO Bogorodsk-2002 begins in Noginsk near Moscow - 25 September, 2002

The international exercise of NATO and of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Bogorodsk-2002 is beginning in Noginsk near Moscow early on Wednesday morning.

As RIA Novosti was told in the Russian Foreign Ministry, more than 1,200 representatives of special units of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, the NATO countries and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, as well as observers from more than 30 foreign countries and representatives of the Civil Planning Department of the North-Atlantic alliance and of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are to take part in the joint exercise.

The exercise envisages an "anti-terrorist operation" according to whose scenario "terrorists" attack a chemical enterprise. This results in a "great number of victims, contamination of the environment and the destruction of buildings." The participants in the exercise will have to carry out air reconnaissance, to station the main forces in the zone of the terrorist act, to extract injured people from-under the shamble, to urgently evacuate them, and to clear the locality of mines.

As officers in the NATO headquarters explained, the main purpose of the exercise is to test the procedure of rapid reaction of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre.

The headquarters officials stressed that the alliance gives particular attention to the fight against terrorism. In Brussels they note that for this reason NATO's participation in Bogorodsk-2002 is a logical step ensuing from the mutual obligations of NATO and of the partners of this organisation, among them Russia, to jointly struggle against terrorism.

In Moscow they hold the view that the exercise will be an example of the implementation of the declaration on new quality of Russia-NATO relations signed in Rome in May 2002. In this declaration the leaders of Russia and the NATO countries mentioned emergency civil reaction as a priority of cooperation in countering the new risks and threats to security, first of all international terrorism.

Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations of Russia Lieutenant-General Gennady Korotkin will command the joint exercise. The alliance is represented by NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Security Investment, Logistics and Civil Emergency Planning Juan Martinez Esparza and coordinator of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre Evert Somer.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin