CSTO to form major military force in Central Asia

May  29. Interfax-AVN. MOSCOW

Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan  and Uzbekistan are jointly forming a major military grouping in Central  Asia  capable of rebuffing large-scale aggression, spokesman for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Vitaly Strugovets said.

“The  CSTO’s  Central Asian grouping is intended to fight so-called large wars,  not  to  deal  with  local  conflicts  the collective rapid deployment forces are meant for,” he said.

The  grouping  will encompass tank, artillery and air units of five states,  as  well  as  Russia  and  Kazakhstan’s  Caspian  naval forces, Strugovets told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

The  Collective  Rapid  Reaction  Forces, which have existed in the region for  nearly  six  years and which are comprised of 11 battalions, will become permanent readiness units in the new grouping, he said.

“The  issue  of  forming  the grouping, discussed for several years now, has  effectively  been  finalized and draft agreements to form them have been  prepared.  They  are  being  negotiated with CSTO countries,” Strugovets said.