Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Russian Reaction to Manas

Well, that didn't take long.

According to a report in Kommersant today Russia characterized the new lease agreement with the US for use of the Manas airbase a “dirty trick” and the Russians intend to make a “corresponding response”. The new agreement allows the base to be used as a “transit center” for nonmilitary supplies. Moscow, not being entirely stupid, said through their Ministry of Foreign Affairs that calling the base a transit center is just “a cosmetic alteration”, adding that “The real nature of the U.S. military presence in Central Asia has not changed, which goes against the interests of Russia and our agreements with the Kyrgyz government.”

Given the nature of the the Kyrgyz leadership and its parliament, why Moscow would have believed them in the first place is a mystery. I expect the "corresponding response" will be a significant reduction in the funds promised by Russia to the Kyrgyz Republic for throwing out the US.

It should be pointed out, I suppose, that base priviliges had also been cancelled for 10 other NATO countries supporting the Afghan war. Have they been allowed back in?

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