BISHKEK—Russia is ready to withdraw its military base from Kyrgyzstan at any time, visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at a joint press conference following a meeting with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev here.
Putin said the air force base in Kant was opened in 1999-2000 at the request of the then Kyrgyz leadership when the country suffered from terrorist attacks by terrorists from Afghanistan that crossed the border.
“It was opened to be able to effectively fight with international terrorists. Whenever Kyrgyzstan says that the country has strengthened its armed forces, we will immediately withdraw our military base,” Putin said.
The Russian president stressed that the presence of the Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan is to ensure safety in the country.
“Since we started to strengthen relations within the Collective Security Treaty organization, it goes without saying that we will further strengthen the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan. If Kyrgyzstan sees it right to do so, we will discuss it,” Putin said.
For his part, Atambayev said that the issue of strengthening the Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan was not discussed at the meeting.
“I would like to note that Russia, on the contrary, wants to help us to strengthen our armed forces,” said Atambayev.
Putin arrived on Tuesday in Bishkek for an official visit after his visit to Tajikistan on Monday. The two heads of state also discussed the entire spectrum of their bilateral relations, the implementation of joint projects and further cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union.