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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rodionov Widens Ties With Britain

The defense ministers of Russia and Britain agreed Tuesday to expand bilateral military ties, but remained divided on the thorny issue of NATO expansion.

Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov and his British counterpart Michael Portillo signed a memorandum paving the way for increased contacts between their ministries and between the armed forces of the former foes.

"The documents we have signed cover a very wide range of issues, including arms reduction, joint exercises, exchanges of delegations and consultations," Rodionov told reporters after the signing ceremony.

Rodionov and Portillo both said they hoped U.S. President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin would reach a compromise agreement at their summit in Helsinki this week.

Rodionov said he would not be going to Helsinki, but the decision appeared unrelated to recent speculation that he might lose his job after Yeltsin criticized him for "whining" about the state of Russia's cash-strapped armed forces.

Rodionov told reporters that he had discussed with Yeltsin on Monday the sacking of several generals for being involved in "matters incompatible with their official activities."

Meanwhile, Interfax reported Tuesday that the deputy commander of Russia's ground forces, Colonel General Anton Terentev, had been charged with fraud and abuse of power.