Moscow will increase the number of warplanes it has stationed in Kyrgyzstan, a Russian general said on Monday, following the expulsion of a key US military base from the former Soviet republic.
"The Russian leadership plans to increase the number of individual warplanes at (the Russian airbase) at Kant," Nikolai Bordyuzha, head of the Russia-led CSTO security organisation, told the Kyrgyz parliament.
Kyrgyzstan voted in February to evict coalition forces from Manas airbase outside the capital Bishkek, after Moscow agreed to provide over USD two billion in loans and aid to the impoverished Central Asian nation.
The Collective Security and Trade Organisation is a regional defence grouping dominated by Moscow which has been keen to increase its influence in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
Russia has long maintained a small contingent of air forces at Kant airbase, not far from Bishkek and close to the Manas base.
Bordyuzha told parliamentarians that the decision to expel the Manas base will not negatively impact Central Asia's security, despite the increasing violence in nearby Afghanistan.
"I don't think that the US airbase at Manas fundamentally influenced the security situation in the region."