Speaking at a news conference on July 24, 2017, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev suggested that Russia could acquire another military base in Kyrgyzstan.
Tass News Agency quoted him as saying, “This issue was on the agenda of discussions with the Russian side during the talks on terms of the first base. But this decision is to be taken by Russia, it is to decide, as this would require large-scale investments.
“We had a dispute when we talked about the timing of the deployment of the base in Kyrgyzstan. If we have a base, then we need to deploy on the border with Tajikistan, because there are many problems,” he said.
The Kyrgyz president added, “I’m not afraid to place the base of Russia on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, because I am deeply convinced that Russia does not need our territory. They have plenty of territory.”
His comments follow an announcement made in late 2016 that Kyrgyzstan would seek to close Russia’s airbase at Kant after the current agreement expires, which will not be for many decades.
President Atambayev noted that Kyrgyzstan would soon receive new Russian aircraft, but he did not specify what type of aircraft were to be delivered. Moreover, he did not make it clear if these would be transferred to the Kyrgyz Air Force or deployed to Kant airbase as part of Russia’s forces in the country.
He stated, “We must strengthen our armed forces with the help of Russia. It always helped us. Soon we will receive 2 aircrafts from the Russian Federation.”
Regarding the closure of the American base at Manas airbase, which was completed in 2014, President Atambayev revealed that Bishkek had received threats from foreign countries regarding the American deployment, but he declined to name the countries he referred to. The apparent threats were an important portion of the decision to close the US airbase.
President Atambayev said, “To be honest, some countries warned us they were ready, if necessary, to use missiles against the US airbase. To that time, our people were under a major threat.”