Russians return blocked Swiss military equipment

Fifty Pinzgauer trucks were blocked by the Russians along with other equipment Keystone

A second rail convoy carrying old military equipment donated to Georgia has arrived back in Switzerland. The transfer had been blocked for seven months by the Russian authorities who were worried Chechen rebels would use the military hardware.

This content was published on May 10, 2001 - 13:53

The convoy, carrying 50 small Pinzgauer trucks, was stopped by the Russians near the Azerbaijan border in September.

Another transport destined for Georgia, which was held up near the Ukraine border, had 27 tonnes of items such as old winter uniforms and sanitary equipment. It was released by the Russians last month.

The Russians complained the Swiss had wrongly certified the equipment was for diplomatic use. Moscow was also worried Chechen rebels might use some items in their fight for independence from Russia.

Russia also has tense diplomatic relations with Georgia, and has intervened militarily in the Caucasian republic before.

The Swiss authorities intend to send the material back to Georgia. The Swiss say it should head back towards the Caucasus region in the near future, but will avoid crossing Russia this time.

swissinfo with agencies

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