Russia beefs up military presence in Kyrgyzstan
Russia will deploy more personnel and equipment at its air base in Kyrgyzstan, the Air Force commander told a Russian daily on Wednesday, reported RIA Novosti.
In an interview with the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin also said that flight training programs would be intensified to prepare more pilots.
He earlier said the base was set to receive four combat trainers from the Krasnodar military pilot school, plus an An-26 transport plane and several new Su-27 aircraft.
The Russian base in Kant, about 20 miles west of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, was established in October 2003, and currently deploys about 400 troops, including 250 officers and NCOs and 150 conscripts, as well as several Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft and Su-27 Flanker fighters, two Mi-8
The 2003 bilateral agreement between Russia and Kyrgyzstan stipulates the presence of the Kant air base in the Central Asian republic for 15 years with an automatic extension every five years after the expiration of the original term.
The agreement is in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization - a regional security bloc in Central Asia, which also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov said in March that Russia annually pays some $4.5 million to Kyrgyzstan for military bases and also provides Bishkek with military and technical equipment as part of the lease agreements.