Duma Ratifies Pact to Defend Neighbors

The State Duma ratified on Friday an accord that would oblige Russia to provide troops and technical assistance to former Soviet states belonging to the Collective Security Treaty Organization that face outside aggression.

The document, which had been pending in the Duma since 2007, says the security council of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization would have to decide whether to provide military support to a country that applies for assistance.

The CSTO, founded in 2002, comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, CSTO members are working on a plan to build joint military ventures. Russia and Armenia held talks Friday on a collective air defense system similar to one that Russia agreed to set up with Belarus earlier this month.