Air force chief announces plans for new air base in Belarus, as well as expansion of existing facilities in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The Moscow Times reports
The three nations are members of a loose Russia-dominated security alliance known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which has accelerated efforts to create a unified air defence network as the Ukraine crisis re-energises the West’s military powerhouse, Nato.
Even before the conflict in Ukraine, Russia under President Vladimir Putin had been making major efforts to re-establish its historical military presence in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Arctic and beyond. Negotiations with Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to establish bases for Russian strategic bombers are ongoing.
“By 2020… 47 airfields, including in Crimea in the Arctic, will be renovated under the state armaments programme,” Bondarev was quoted as saying by Interfax on Wednesday. By 2025, he added, the Russian air force will have restored and reopened over 100 military airbases.
Last year, a unit of Russian fighter jets were deployed to a Belarussian airbase in Baranovichi as part of the countries’ integrated regional air defense network. Russia also announced that it would station fighter jets at a Russian-built airbase in the Belarusian city of Lida, near the country’s border with Poland and Lithuania.
Bondarev was also quoted by RIA Novosti on Wednesday saying that Moscow is negotiating with Bishkek to reconstruct the Kant airbase in Kyrgyzstan, which is a home for Russian fighter jets under CSTO auspices. While the base is usable, further construction is needed to support Russian strategic bombers, he said.
Full article: Russia to bolster military presence in former Soviet states (The Guardian)