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Russian Su-25 Frogfoot close air support aircraft
Russian Su-25 Frogfoot close air support aircraft will take part on Saturday in the active phase of the military exercises conducted by Kyrgyzstan's Armed Forces, the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry said.

Kyrgyzstan is holding Security-2009 tactical exercises in the south of the country, which involve over 500 servicemen, armored vehicles self-propelled artillery and aircraft. The exercises with live-firing drills are aimed at practicing counterterrorism operations.

"A flight of Su-25 attack aircraft from the Kant airbase and Kyrgyz Air Force Mi-24 helicopters will provide aerial fire support during the drills, the ministry said in a statement.

The Russian base in Kant, about 20 miles west of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, was established in October 2003, and currently deploys about 400 troops, including 250 officers and NCOs and 150 conscripts, as well as several Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft and Su-27 Flanker fighters, two Mi-8 combat transport helicopters, and four L-39 combat trainers.

The 2003 bilateral agreement between Russia and Kyrgyzstan stipulates the presence of the Kant air base in the Central Asian republic for 15 years with an automatic extension every five years after the expiration of the original term.

The Kant base is intended to provide air cover for possible operations by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) joint forces in Central Asia.

The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Earlier this year, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev issued a decree to close the only U.S. base in Central Asia, located at Manas international airport near the capital, Bishkek, following talks in Moscow when he reportedly secured more than $2 billion in aid and loans.

Both Russia and Kyrgyzstan have denied any link between the aid deal and the closure of the U.S. base.

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