Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
“Indestructible Brotherhood-2022” was the name of the joint military exercises Russia was supposed to be conducting with five of its close allies in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan this week.
Instead, host country Kyrgyzstan canceled the exercises, which were to be held October 10 to 14, a day before they were scheduled to begin.
Where is the ‘indestructible brotherhood’ when our villages are being attacked by a fellow member [of the alliance]?” Edil Baisalov, deputy prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, in reference to recent attacks it claims were carried out by Tajikistan.
Some context: Kyrgyzstan has accused Tajikistan, another Russian ally and fellow member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization military alliance, of launching a deadly cross border attack in September that killed 63 Kyrgyz citizens and displaced more than 140,000 people.
“How can we host the Tajik troops to take part in exercises on our territory?” Baisalov said.
The government of Tajikistan accused Kyrgyzstan of triggering the cross-border hostilities on September 16.
Putin’s few friends: While leaders of both countries were invited to a meeting hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin on his 70th birthday last week, only Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, attended, alongside several other leaders of former Soviet republics.
Putin awarded Rahmon the “Order for Merit to the Fatherland” for “ensuring regional stability and security,” a gesture that was derided in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan’s deputy prime minister suggested Russia’s war in Ukraine had distracted Moscow from being a guarantor of peace and security in former Soviet Central Asia.
“We know that [the Russians] have quite a lot of problems elsewhere, but that’s what they are a superpower for,” Baisalov told CNN. “If they are a superpower they should be able to pay attention to all geographic areas of responsibility.”
Kyrgyzstan, along with Tajikistan, has remained publicly neutral on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.