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Russia: “No Plans” to Close Kyrgyz Airbase

Sunday 20 May 2012

VORONEZH (RIA Novosti) – No decision has been made to withdraw the Russian airbase from the town of Kant, Kyrgyzstan, an aide to the Russian defence minister said on Thursday.

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No decision has been made to withdraw the Russian airbase from the town of Kant
Vlad Ushakov)

“The Air Force main command has not planned any changes in the air component of our base in Kant,” Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said, adding that the base’s organizational and personnel structure will remain as is.

Four Russian military facilities are currently located in Kyrgyzstan - the Kant airbase, a naval test center in Karakol, a military communications center in Kara-Balt, and a radio-seismic laboratory in Mayly-Suu.

The Kant airbase is also a structural subdivision of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

In February, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev called for the Kant base to be closed, saying neither Russia nor Kyrgyzstan needs it.

In November, Atambayev announced plans to close the nearby U.S. airbase at Manas in 2014. He denied speculation that the Kyrgyz authorities wanted to get the Russian forces out of Kant in order to transfer the U.S. base there.

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