Russia to Man Kyrgyz Airbase With Professional Soldiers

MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian airbase in Kyrgyzstan will be fully manned with personnel serving under contract by the end of 2014, the Central Military District said Tuesday.

“There will be no conscripts at the base [in Kant] after 2014,” the district said in a statement.

According to the military, contract servicemen at the Kant base receive a 30 percent increase in salary, 15 additional vacation days and service housing. Every six months of service under contract at Kant is counted as one year when calculating retirement pensions.

The airbase, located some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital Bishkek, was established in October 2003 and operates in the interests of the

Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-led security alliance that covers much of the former Soviet Union.

The base currently hosts at least eight Su-25 ground attack aircraft and two Mi-8 combat transport helicopters, as well as over 400 service personnel, according to the Russian military.

Russia will deploy four additional Su-25s at the Kant airbase in Kyrgyzstan in 2014, the Defense Ministry said in January.

Moscow and Bishkek signed an agreement in September last year to extend the use of the Kant airbase and other Russian military facilities in

Kyrgyzstan until at least 2032, with possible five-year extensions.

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