Russia to upgrade its military bases in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan


BEIJING -- Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu Tuesday (April 24) announced his country's plan to boost "the combat readiness of Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan", reported RIA Novosti.

The move, he said, is meant to prevent infiltration of Central Asia by militants based in northern Afghanistan.

"We are supplying [those bases] with modern weapons and military equipment," said Shoigu at a meeting of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation member-state defence ministers in Beijing.

Russia and Central Asian states "jointly plan" to use this equipment, he emphasised.

Russia has used its economic leverage and other means to preserve a military presence in most former Soviet republics, more than a quarter-century after the Soviet Union's collapse.

Tajikistan has been guarding its own border since 2005 when Russia left in disgrace, but the Kremlin has not given up the idea of "proving" the need for its troops to return there.

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