The Russian government’s fingerprints are apparent on the recent decision by the government of Kyrgyzstan to “denounce” a pre-existing agreement with the U.S. military to use the Manas Transit Center, an airbase vital to U.S. military reach in Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The state-controlled outlet owned by the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Kabar, informed viewers of a law passed that is a “denunciation” of the governments agreement with the U.S. “According to the law, U.S. forces must abandon the base at Manas International Airport by July 2014,” said Kabar in a recent article. Kabar also indicated that the law was passed without prior communication with the U.S. government and stated: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic is assigned to notify the Government of the United States of denunciation of the agreement.”
A deep look into the matter surrounding the Kyrgyz government’s denunciation of their agreement with the U.S. reveals two significant factors. Though the denunciation was made and the anti-U.S. law was passed on June 20, 2013, the Kyrgyz government did not meet with or explain the denunciation to U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlin until a full seven days after the denunciation, according to a report on Kabar. Another significant factor pertains to the Russian government’s relations with the Kyrgyz government.
The Russian government had previously entered an agreement to begin large-scale weapons transfers and military aid to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan in 2014. However, only six days after the Kyrgyz denunciation of the agreement with the U.S. military, Russia agreed to start the weapons transfers sooner, not waiting for the previously agreed dates.
Russia has pledged $1.1 billion in military aid to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, according to Kabar. They report: “[the military aid] will likely include tanks, armored vehicles and personnel carriers, as well as rocket launchers, artillery, small arms, and surveillance and communication systems.”
Russia also directly stated they are taking steps at “resuming relations between the two countries as in Soviet times.” The statement was made through Michael Mamut, President of the Russian Microfinance Center. The statement was reported in an article on Kabar pertaining to the recently signed banking cooperation agreement between Russia and the banking system of the Kyrgyz Republic. The banking agreement came less than one month after the government of Kyrgyzstan issued the denunciation of the Manas Transit Center agreement with the U.S.
The concerns over what is seemingly Russian influence being exerted to end a vital U.S. military agreement with a former Soviet republic were shrugged off by the U.S. In an interview with Breitbart News, U.S. Department of Defense Spokesperson Commander Bill Speaks downplayed the significance of the entire matter and stated: “There is no story here.” He stated: “The U.S. military has a lease to use the center through July 2014. We have an agreement that we are confident will be honored that lasts through July 2014.”