Communists in the Volga city of Ulyanovsk went on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against plans to establish a NATO transit base in Ulyanovsk airport, the regional branch of Russia’s Communist Party said on Sunday.
“The action started at 16:00 p.m. Moscow time on Saturday and involves 16 people. A tent camp was set up 100 meters from the airport in the field,” a Communist Party spokesman said.
The U.S. hopes to set up a NATO transit base in Ulyanovsk. Media reported that Russia could sign an agreement with NATO on the multimodal transit of cargo from Afghanistan which will combine air and ground delivery of goods. Under this scheme goods would be delivered by air from Afghanistan to Russia bypassing Uzbekistan. Russia will form trains for delivery of goods to NATO countries.
Russian Defense Ministry said that goods transported through the territory of Russia will be checked by customs and that NATO transit hub is not NATO or U.S. military base.
On Saturday, about 800 people participated in a march organized by members of unregistered political party Volya against the plans of a NATO transit base in Ulyanovsk airport.
Saturday’s protest of Ulyanovsk residents was the largest since the beginning of February when official information about NATO plans appeared in media.
Ulyanovsk Region Governor Sergei Morozov called on Ulyanovsk residents to prevent provocations. He said that “there will be no military base in Ulaynovsk or any NATO military centers” and that “there are no talks about military facilities.”
According to Morozov, there will be no NATO military or civilian personnel and non-military goods will be transported by planes of the Russian companies Volga-Dnepr and Polyot and the flights will be operated by Russian crews.