Russia has no immediate plans to add to the 150 paratroopers sent to secure its airbase in Kyrgyzstan as the troubled nation’s revolution becomes ever more violent.
The interim government, which has held a shaky grip on the levers of power since ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April, has called on the Kremlin to provide military support in the face of the latest uprising.
But while Dmitry Medvedev has offered words of support, Russia is currently only planning to send humanitarian aid.
A major sticking point in relations between Moscow and Bishkek is the US airbase at Manas, 30 km from the capital.
Kyrgyz media report that the Interim government is unlikely to eliminate the base, as the US prepaid $15 million rent for the first quarter and promised to make the next payment soon.
And NATO’s special representative for Central Asia, Robert Simmons, has flown to Kyrgyzstan to establish the future of the alliance’s last remaining base in the region.
Russia also has a base in the former Soviet republic, and on Sunday an extra 150 paratroopers were sent to secure the site at Kant, 20 km from Bishkek, according to Defence Ministry spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov.
Riots in Kyrgyzstan have continued all weekend. Ethnic clashes between the Uzbek and Kyrgyz populations in the south of the country left 171 people dead. More than 1,750 were injured.
The riots were started by the Bakiyev’s family and friends in order to “disrupt the constitutional referendum on June 27 and overthrow the interim government,” said Almazbek Atambayev, first deputy head of the interim government.
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) earlier said that an estimated 80,000 Uzbeks have crossed into Uzbekistan from Kyrgyzstan, while about 15,000 are waiting on the border.
With the spectre of humanitarian catastrophe looming, Medvedev called the situation in Kyrgyzstan “extremely dangerous for the region” and said that “everything must be done to prevent these kinds of events - in accordance with the law, but firmly.”
Kyrgyzstan has appealed to Russia for military support to ensure security of strategic sites in the country Emilbek Kaptagayev, the interim government of Kyrgyzstan representative has stated on Tuesday.
"They have enough strength for today, but do not have enough equipment, helicopters, ground transportation, logistics and even gasoline, oil and lubricants," said Nikolai Bordyuzha, the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization’s secretary general at Sunday’s meeting with Medvedev.
Russian Emercom plans to send three cargo planes with humanitarian aid to the republic, Nikolai Pakhomov, head of Emercom’s emergency humanitarian response division of the international activity department said.
But further deployment seems likely to be delayed until the international community – including the US and the OSCE – coordinate a relief programme.
Meanwhile the fate of Bakiyev’s son Maxim – blamed by the interim government for hiring paid rioters, according to Interfax – is unclear. Reports in the British media say has was arrested in the UK, but a source close to the fugitive said he expected to be released soon.
It’s believed that Maxim Bakiyev was arrested after landing a rented private jet at Farnborough air field, a small airport to the south west of London.
Keneshbek Duishebayev the head of Kyrgyzstan's State National Security Service, told Kyrgyz TV that Bishkek was certain to seek Bakiyev Junior’s extradition.
Maxim Bakiyev is also accused of embezzling $35 million from a state loan and is under investigation over fuel contracts at the Manas airbase.