A regional security bloc led by Russia on Monday weighed appeals to send peacekeeping troops to stop ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan and prepared a plan to provide helicopters and other equipment as refugees fleeing the violence flocked to the border.
New reports suggested over 170 had been killed as Kyrgyz mobs attacked ethnic Uzbek villages, and aid groups warned of a growing humanitarian crisis with as many as 150,000 people overwhelming camps in neighbouring Uzbekistan that were short on supplies.
This latest crisis in the impoverished Central Asian country posed a political dilemma for the United States and Russia, which both operate military bases in northern Kyrgyzstan but have been reluctant to send troops to stop the bloodshed.
The Collective Security Treaty Organisation, an alliance of former Soviet republics, ended an emergency meeting in Moscow without a decision to deploy its rapid-reaction forces.
( In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post. For additional content from The Washington Post, visit www.washingtonpost.com )