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.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are landlocked and mountainous countries—75% and 90%, respectively—in Central Asia. The countries’ mountains provide abundance of potable water, which feed the two major rivers of Central Asia. The scarcity of other natural resources understandably results in Bishkek’s and Dushanbe’s attempts to use the water more wisely—building hydropower plants (HPP) for generating electricity. Dushanbe is aiming at erecting the tallest dam in the world—a 335-meter (about 1,000 feet) tall concrete wall on the Vakhsh River (turns into Amu-Darya River). Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, is securing Russia’s backing in building a 275-meter dam on the Naryn River (turns into Syr-Darya River). Continue reading