Kyrgyzstan gets military support from Russia

Dec. 16, 2013 at 9:51 AM   |   0 comments

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said Monday a Russian military aid package should help with national efforts to reorganize its military by 2017.

"After reaching a historic agreement with Russia to reorganize our armed forces, all of the paperwork has been completed and we will soon receive deliveries of artillery pieces, tanks, shoulder-fired ant-aircraft missiles and other military equipment," he was quoted by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti as saying Monday.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, reached a $1 billion military deal last year. Atambayev said the deal should help with a national ambition to reshape its military by 2017.

Last year, Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed a 15-year lease for Russian military bases in the country. Kyrgyzstan gets relief from the $500 million in debt to the Russian government in exchange.

The Kyrgyz government in November told the U.S. military its access to the Manas Air Base would be suspended next year. The facility has been used as a transit hub to get international troops and equipment into Afghanistan.

International combat operations in Afghanistan are expected to end next year as Afghan forces take on more security responsibilities.

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