21 september 2018

Central Asia news

Russia has no plans for a second military base in Kyrgyzstan

11.10.2017 23:40 msk


Russia has no plans to deploy a second military base in Kyrgyzstan. Grigori Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, told RIA Novosti on 10 October that the capabilities of the already existing Russian military bases in Central Asia are quite sufficient to cope with existing and potential threats in the region.

"Russia, unlike some other states well-known to you, does not aim to fill the entire world with its military bases. We do not pursue quantity. The determining factor for us is the expediency of placing such facilities abroad in the context of the need to address specific tasks related to ensuring the security of the Russian Federation and our closest allies," Karasin explained.

According to him, Moscow will concentrate its efforts on strengthening the combat capabilities of bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, improving infrastructure, increasing combat training and coherence in cooperation with units of local armed forces.

Earlier, the first reports of the intention to establish another Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan appeared in May 2005. According to Anvar Artykov, the then governor of the Osh region, Moscow and Bishkek had been negotiating about 1,000 Russian soldiers to deploy in the south of Kyrgyzstan to stabilise the situation in the Fergana Valley region, located at the junction of three Central Asian states (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan). But then the topic did not develop.

In early July 2009, the Reuters news agency, citing a source in the Kyrgyz government, said that Russia asks Kyrgyzstan for permission to deploy another military base on its territory, near the border with Uzbekistan. "There was a talk about opening a military base in Osh in the south. The Russians voiced this initiative during the meeting," the source said to the agency. According to him, Moscow explains the need for a new base to "close the southern borders under the CSTO treaty" (the Collective Security Treaty Organisation).

Three weeks later, Sergei Prihodko, an aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters that all issues related to the deployment of the military base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan are practically agreed. He explained that "this base is needed in case of making any decisions within the framework of the CSTO. We are considering the issue of creating a base exclusively in conjunction with the formation of CRRF" (Collective Rapid Reaction Force under the CSTO). At the same time, Prihodko noted that "it is, in fact, not a Russian base, it is created precisely within the framework of the CSTO concept."

Further, Uzbekistan sharply reacted to reports of the likelihood of the appearance of yet another military base in Kyrgyzstan. An anonymous source in the government of this country told RIA Novosti that Uzbekistan objects to the creation of new military bases on the territory of neighboring countries. Later, the Jahon news agency of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry warned that "the implementation of such projects on a fairly complex and difficult to predict territory, where the borders of the three Central Asian republics directly converge, can give impetus to the intensification of the processes of militarisation and the incitement of various nationalist confrontations, as well as rising of radical extremist forces that can lead to serious destabilisation of the situation in a vast region."

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev refreshed the topic in July 2017 during his press conference. According to him, he offered Russia to open a second base on the border with Tajikistan, because there is a "bad situation" there. And on 2 October, the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov said that Russia and Kyrgyzstan are already negotiating on this matter.

Currently, there is a Russian joint military base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan, which includes four facilities of the Russian Armed Forces: the Kant airbase, the naval communication center in the vicinity of the village of Chaldovar, the torpedo-test range in the city of Karakol and the seismological station in the Mailuu-Suu district. At the end of January 2017, the agreement between Russia and Kyrgyzstan came into force that the base will operate in Kyrgyzstan, at least until 2032.

Fergana News Agency