Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Central Asia: Russian General Claims US Wants to Build Two Military Bases in Region

I noticed that General Makarov had been making the news a lot lately, so here is an additional article from EurasiaNet about his thoughts on US involvement in Central Asia (naturally, Russia's sphere of influence).

The United States is planning to set up military bases in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Russia’s top general is claiming.

Russia’s armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, revealed the news during an event at the Academy of Military Science in Moscow on December 16, saying that he had information that Washington was actively pursuing new facilities in Central Asia. "American military bases are dotted throughout the world. The US has opened bases in Romania and Bulgaria, and according to our information, [it] plans to establish [new bases] in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan," the official RIA Novosti news agency quoted Makarov as saying.

"It is clear that Russia is concerned by the deployment near its borders of NATO’s advanced forces and bases ready to start combat operations within hours," Makarov continued.

Kazakhstan currently permits American planes to fly over its territory, but last week officials in Astana denied reports that it would allow American planes to land at Kazakhstani facilities. Uzbekistan evicted American forces from their strategically important airbase at Karshi-Khanabad in 2005. Manas Airbase, at Bishkek’s international airport in Kyrgyzstan, remains America’s only base in the region.

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