New CSTO Military Force to ‘Protect’ Central Asia, Says Russian Paper

MOSCOW (EurasiaNet)–A special military force dedicated to protecting Central Asia from attack is to be created under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), according to a report in a Russian newspaper.

The newspaper, Kommersant, reported on May 29 that the idea for a special force was first brought up four years ago.

“This is a purely a military structure created to ensure security in Central Asia in the event of an attack from outside,” the newspaper quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying. Work continues “on all fronts” and it is merely a matter of having the appropriate documents signed, the source adds.

The military force would operate within existing CSTO structures and include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the report stated.

A meeting of CSTO defense ministers is scheduled to be held on June 3 in Moscow.

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