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RUSSIA READY TO EVACUATE ITS CITIZENS FROM KYRGYZSTAN

RIA Novosti

DUSHANBE, April 5 (RIA Novosti, Valery Yarmolenko) - Russia was ready to evacuate its citizens from Kyrgyzstan on its Air Force planes during the recent events there.

"By the night of March 25 four empty Il-76 military transport planes landed at Kant airport in Kyrgyzstan for the possible evacuation of Russian citizens," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Dushanbe (the capital of Tajikistan).

The Russian Defense Minister stated that the events in Kyrgyzstan, which took place at the end of March, were purely interior affairs.

"We had no intentions of planning our participation in this strictly interior affair. Moreover, neither Akayev, nor the new authorities asked for our participation," Ivanov said.

He believes that "the interior political processes in Kyrgyzstan are not over yet, although the main crisis already passed."

Many Russian citizens with Russian passports live in Kyrgyzstan, Ivanov noted.

"After pogrom and looting, which started in Bishkek, we were ready to evacuate Russian citizens, but fortunately it wasn't necessary," the Minister said.

"One cannot say that Russia was just watching and doing nothing. There must be a strict division of meanings; military interference is a one matter, and the issue concerning citizens - is another," the Russian Defense Minister noted.

According to Ivanov, the issue concerning the possible evacuation of Russian citizens wasn't coordinated with anyone. Russia was acting in this case independently.

"I'm positive that we were not obliged to coordinate this issue with anyone. This way all civilized countries act, when there is a threat to life of their citizens," the Russian Defense Minister stated.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan will remain as strategic partners, Ivanov assured.

"Kyrgyz people and the new authorities clearly stated their intention to remain in the CSTO, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia) and that Kyrgyzstan will continue to be a strategic partner for Russia, while all previously concluded agreements, including in the military technical sphere, would be fulfilled," Ivanov noted.

This also goes for the Russian Air Force base in Kant, the Russian Defense Minister noted.



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