Uzbekistan Against New Russian Military Base In Kyrgyzstan


RIA Novosti
Aug 3, 2009

TASHKENT, August 3 (RIA Novosti) – Uzbekistan is against the
deployment of a new Russian military base in southern Kyrgyzstan,
the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The ministry said that "implementation of such projects" could
"reinforce militarization processes" as well as "seriously destabilize
the situation in the vast region."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Kyrgyz counterpart Kurmanbek
Bakiyev signed on Saturday a memorandum on Russia’s military presence
in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan already hosts a Russian airbase in Kant and four other
Russian military facilities. The airbase in Kant, some 20 kilometers
(12 miles) outside the capital, Bishkek, was opened in 2003.

Some 250 Russian officers and 150 enlisted personnel from Russia’s
5th Air Army are deployed at the base, as well as Su-25 Frogfoot
strike aircraft and Mi-8 transport helicopters.

In line with the memorandum, the republic will also host an additional
Russian military contingent up to battalion size and a training center
for both countries’ service personnel.

Russia earlier offered to deploy a battalion-sized unit as part of
the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) rapid reaction
force in Kyrgyzstan’s southern Batken region.

The post-Soviet CSTO security bloc comprises Armenia, Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.