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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uzbeks Bristle at Bigger Kyrgyz Presence

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Uzbekistan has sharply criticized Russia’s plan to boost its military presence in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, signaling a growing rift within the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Monday that an increase in Russian troop numbers across its border could foment instability across Central Asia. Uzbekistan, which views itself as Central Asia’s main military power, has traditionally been wary of Russia’s efforts to control security in the region.

Russia clinched a tentative agreement Saturday allowing it to open a second military facility and significantly boost the number of troops it has deployed in Kyrgyzstan, where the United States also has an important air base.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said the deployment of Russian troops in the area “may lead to the strengthening of militarization and provoke various kinds of nationalist struggles.”