Russia plans to repay its $15 million debt to Kyrgyzstan for the lease of military facilities until the end of February, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Monday.
“We expect that some $15 million in cash will be transferred by the end of February for the lease of military facilities by the Russian Defense Ministry on the territory of Kyrgyzstan,” Serdyukov said.
Serdyukov’s statement comes after Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev earlier on Monday called for a Russian air base in the country to be closed, saying neither Russia nor Kyrgyzstan needed it.
The Kant air base does nothing except "flatter the vanity of Russian generals," Atambayev said in an interview with Kommersant newspaper, adding Russia has not paid for the lease for four years.
“The current situation where a Russian military base is not fulfilling its obligations and does not even pay for the lease does not suit us ... There are many conditions, but the main thing is that the lease should be paid, one way or another," he said.
Serdyukov said that under an agreement between Russia and Kyrgyzstan, the annual rent for the lease of Kyrgyz military facilities amounted to $4.5 million.
“Until 2008, the rent payment under this agreement was compensated by the deliveries of armaments and combat hardware, services for their repair, and the training of military personnel at Russian educational establishments,” Serdyukov said.
Due to the political turmoil in the republic in 2008-2010, Russia halted the delivery of armaments, he said.
“This is how the Russian Defense Ministry accumulated its debt to the Kyrgyz side,” Serdyukov said, adding that Kyrgyzstan made a proposal to Russia in December 2011 to repay the debt in cash.