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Russia to discuss rent for military facilities in Kyrgyzstan

RIA Novosti

16:08 23/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to conduct negotiations with Kyrgyzstan on rental payment for Russian military facilities in the Central Asian country in 2009.

Based on the results of the talks, the Russian Defense Ministry will conclude protocol with the Kyrgyz military.

Kyrgyzstan currently hosts a Russian airbase in Kant, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital, Bishkek, a naval communications center in the village of Chaldovar in the Chui region, and a naval testing site near the city of Karakol, 380 km (240 miles) from Bishkek.

The Russian Defense Ministry also maintains an automated seismic station in Ichke-Suu (Issyk-Kul region) and a radioseismic laboratory in Mailuu-Sai, which are part of the unified automated system designed to detect the testing and use of nuclear weapons around the world, as well as earthquakes.

The airbase in Kant was opened in 2003. Some 250 Russian officers and 150 enlisted personnel from Russia's 5th Air Army are deployed at the base, as well as Su-25 Frogfoot strike aircraft and Mi-8 transport helicopters.

Russia has so far paid annually some $4.5 million to Kyrgyzstan for military bases and also provided Bishkek with military and technical equipment as part of the lease agreements.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed in August a new memorandum on Russian military presence in Kyrgyzstan.

In line with the memorandum, the republic will extend the lease of the airbase in Kant for 49 years with an automatic extension every 25 years.

Kyrgyzstan will also host an additional Russian military contingent the size of up to a battalion and a training center in Kyrgyzstan's southern Batken region on the similar terms.

A definitive agreement detailing the status of the proposed base and Russia's existing Kant base is expected to be signed by November.

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