Russia retakes airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan insists on NATO presence
The redeployment of 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 in 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 to the airbase.
The establishment of the special air unit in Kyrgyzstan takes place due to a 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 fast deployment air unit stationed in Kyrgyzstan. The unit will conduct military patrols in that part of the Central Asia region.
Many experts believe that Kyrgyzstan agreed to the deployment of the Russian Air Force in return to the presence of NATO there. The military detachments of the NATO bloc have been deployed in the republic for more than a year now, at the major airbase of Manas. To all appearances, NATO is staying for good. The NATO base has recently changed its commander, and the new general announced his extensive plans at once.
Russia had to be happy about the less comfortable airbase. Yet, the airbase in the town of Kant has certain advantages, as military men believe. First of all, the base was originally meant as an airbase. During the Soviet era, it was the airbase where Warsaw Pact pilots trained to improve their skills. Secondly, Kant is located far from the capital of Bishkek, which protects the unit from curious journalists.
Thus, the republic of Kyrgyzstan shows its devotion to Russia and China. These two countries are very concerned about the American and NATO 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 is expected, about 700 military and civil personnel will be employed at the base. Russia will have to spend not less than $50 million each year to maintain the base.
RTR-Vesti archive photo: Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev
Yury Razgulayev PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov