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U.S., Russian Military Leaders Hold Talks

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

FORT MYER, Va., Aug. 5, 2005 – On a day when the United States Navy is cooperating with its Russian counterpart to rescue men aboard a Russian submarine, American and Russian military leaders today discussed the way forward.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers also presented Russian General of the Army Yuriy N. Baluyevshiy with the American Legion of Merit -- the highest award America presents to foreign leaders.

At a full-honors arrival ceremony here, Myers -- representing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld -- presented the medal for Baluyevskiy's leadership in strengthening the military-to-military relationship between America and Russia. The general is chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation.

The ceremony, held in 98-degree heat, was the prelude to an afternoon discussion between the two men and their staffs.

Officials said the men would discuss the fate of seven Russian crewmen aboard the AS-28 deep-diving submarine. The craft reportedly is entangled in fishing nets 600 feet beneath surface. The submarine was diving in Berezovaya Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The Russians quickly requested aid from Japan and the United States.

In addition to the submarine, the two leaders will discuss how to further the U.S.-Russian military-to-military relationship. Officials said the two will discuss joint exercises, how to improve military interoperability between the two countries and operations and activities in support of the global war on terrorism.

The militaries of both nations are undergoing a transformation, and officials said that, too, could be a topic of discussion.

The chairman meets with his Russian counterpart often, usually in conjunction with the NATO-Russia Consultative Council. The chairman met Baluyevskiy's predecessor in Moscow in 2002.

"The state of the military-to-military relationship is really quite good," a defense official said on background. "The two countries have come a long way in building trust up between them."

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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