• Share
  • Read Later
"Russian Defense Secretary Pavel Grachev was all smiles Tuesday night after a day-long meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels," reports Brussels bureau chief Jay Branegan. "Not only did he and Defense Secretary William Perry work out a final deal to permit Russian troops to serve alongside American soldiers in Bosnia, but also, according to Grachev, 'Today we have laid the groundwork for the new system of European security.' He praised the sincerity and willingness of NATO's defense ministers to cooperate in reaching a compromise, weeks in the making, on the issue of 'political control' over Russian forces. Although it has been in the cards for awhile, today's achievement nonetheless is a bit remarkable, considering that after years of hostility, Russian and American troops will serve side by side in a combat situation under U.S. command." According to Grachev, Russia will initially send a brigade of 1,500 men to the Balkans. If Russia gets involved in reconstruction of Bosnia, he said, Moscow would send another brigade. In addition, Branegan notes, Russia already has a force of 1,200 to 1,300 in Slavonia, which it would keep there. Russia will probably send in infantry or airborne troops, and they will likely be assigned to the area around the Posavina corridor.