Source Pravda.Ru

Russia's stronger military presence in CIS south

Russian and Kyrgyz leaders Vladimir Putin and Askar Akayev have officially opened the air base in Kant.

At the opening ceremony, Vladimir Putin remarked that the Kant air base would become the containing factor for all kinds terrorists and extremists.

The air base - the aviation component of the collective rapid deployment forces - will boost the defence capacity of the nations party to the collective security treaty organisation (including Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Tajikistan). Moreover, it will provide stability to all Central Asian countries, help intensify anti-terrorist efforts and meet other threats and challenges facing the region.

Kant was a rear military aerodrome during WWII. Later, it was actively used by the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan. It is situated 30 km east of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

The Russian government has already earmarked about 79 mln roubles ($1 equals 30 roubles) for the reconstruction of the aerodrome. In all, the equipment of the base will cost 219 mln roubles. Another 130 mln roubles will be spent annually on maintaining the military facility.

At present, the base has five Su-27 fighters, five Su-25 attack aircraft, six Il-76 aircraft, four L-39s, one An-24, one An-12, one Il-18 and two Mi-8 helicopters.

At present, about 150 Russian servicemen are stationed at Kant. The amount of the military and civilian personnel will be soon increased up to 500 people.

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