Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (AFP) Oct 26, 2013
Russia will expand its airbase in Kyrgyzstan at the end of the year ahead of the shutdown of a US base in the country, a senior commander said Saturday.
The number of planes at Russia's Kant airbase in the country "will at least double by this December," Viktor Sevastyanov, a senior Russian air force commander, said at a ceremony marking the base's 10-year anniversary.
Russia will also send in more pilots, he said in televised remarks.
The Kant airbase last year was a source of disagreement between Kyrgyzstan and Russia, which is competing for influence in the region with the United States, whose lease at its Manas base expires in July.
Last year Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev complained that the Russian base was not benefitting Kyrgyzstan and instead owed Bishkek $15 million (11 million euros) in back rent.
However in September Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement allowing Moscow to continue operations at Kant until 2032 in exchange for Moscow's writing off nearly half a billion dollars in debt owed by the Central Asian country.
The base, located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Bishkek, currently has 10 Sukhoi fighters, two Mi-8 helicopters, and about a dozen other transport and training airplanes. It is Russia's only airbase in Central Asia.
The United States is meanwhile planning to pull its flight operations from the Manas base ahead of the expiration of its lease, and use an alternative airbase in Romania as a transit point for troops leaving Afghanistan.
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|