Kyrgyzstan cancels Russian-led military exercises on its territory


The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan unilaterally canceled joint military exercises between the six nations that make up the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Sunday, less than a day before they were to begin on its soil.

Kyrgyzstan’s Defense Ministry did not specify the reason for the cancellation of the “Indestructible Brotherhood-2022” command and staff exercises, which were scheduled to take place in the country’s windswept eastern highlands on Monday. to Friday.

According to previous reports, the exercises were set to involve army personnel from CSTO members from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and focused on securing the ceasefire. Observers from five other states were also invited, including Serbia, Syria and Uzbekistan.

The Bishkek move is the latest indication that tensions may be simmering within the alliance, formed in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Last month, Armenia skipped a two-week drill held by the collective in Kazakhstan, after criticizing the bloc for not openly siding with it after large-scale fighting broke out on its border with non-member Azerbaijan in September. .

Russia and other CSTO countries effectively rejected Yerevan’s request for military assistance, issued hours after hostilities began, and limited their response to sending fact-finding missions to the border. The Armenian authorities had accused the Azerbaijani government in Baku of using heavy artillery and combat drones to attack Armenian army positions.

Despite its apparent ambitions to provide a counterpart to NATO, the CSTO has at times struggled to define its exact purpose. The lack of involvement in numerous security crises among its members over the years has led analysts to question its viability.

Last spring, the bloc watched impassively as two members, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, became involved in a bloody border dispute.

Instead, the CSTO’s focus has been more intensely on improving preparedness for possible contagion from Afghanistan, which shares a long border with Tajikistan. As of last month, Russia had about 5,000 soldiers stationed in the country, down from 7,000 in January, as the Kremlin has reduced its military presence to replenish its ranks in Ukraine amid the eight-month war.


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