Russia deploys its airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan insists on NATO presence
The redeployment of the Russian battle planes began in the republic of Kyrgyzstan prior to the start of Vladimir Putin’s official visit there. The first group of two Su-25 jets and two Il-76 transport planes have already landed on the airbase of the town of Kant. The airbase is located 15 kilometers far from the Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek. It is planned to deploy five Su-27 pursuit planes, five Su-25 battle planes, seven Il-76 and An-26 transport planes, five L-39 training jets as well as two Mi-8 helicopters at the airbase.
The establishment of a special air group in Kyrgyzstan takes place on the ground of the decision of the Collective Security Treaty members. The document on the subject was signed in October of the current year in the city of Chisinau, Moldova, during the CIS summit. Pursuant to the signed document, there will be a group of fast deployment air unit stationed in Kyrgyzstan. The unit will conduct the military patrol in that part of the Central Asia region.
A lot of experts believe that Kyrgyzstan agreed upon the deployment of the Russian Air Force unit in return to the presence of NATO military forces there. The military detachments of the alliance have been deployed in the republic for more than a year now, on the major airbase of Manas. To all appearance, NATO is not going to leave from there. The NATO base has recently had its chief changed, and the new general announced about his extensive plans at once.
Russia had to be happy about a less comfortable airbase than Manas. Yet, the airbase in the town of Kant has its certain advantages, as military men believe. First of all, the base was originally meant to become an airbase. During the Soviet era, it was the airbase, where Warsaw Treaty pilots trained to improve their skills. Secondly, Kant is located far from the capital of Bishkek, which protects the air group from curious journalists.
Thus, the republic of Kyrgyzstan shows its devotion to Russia and China. These two countries were very concerned about USA’s and NATO’s presence in Central Asia. On the other hand, as experience shows, sitting on the fence always ends up in a fall, so to speak. So far, the Kant airbase is getting ready for the deployment of the major part of the fast deployment unit. As it is expected, about 700 military and civil personnel will be employed at the base. Russia will have to spend not less than $50 million every year to maintain them.
RTR-Vesti archive photo: Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov