Russia mulls Kyrgyzstan intervention
The Collective Security Treaty Organization, an alliance of former Soviet republics led by Russia, held an emergency meeting in Moscow June 15 on whether to deploy its rapid-reaction forces to conflicted Kyrgyzstan. CSTO secretary general Nikolai Bordyuzha cautioned that "these measures need to be employed after careful consideration and, most importantly, in an integrated manner." Another senior Russian official, Nikolai Patrushev, said the meeting "did not rule out the use of any means that the CSTO has in its potential, depending on how the situation evolves in Kyrgyzstan." He said a plan had been drafted for approval by the presidents of the member nations.
Kyrgyzstan's interim President Roza Otunbayeva meanwhile said the number of dead from the ethnic violence in the country's south "should be multiplied several times" from the official toll of 176. Southern Kyrgyzstan remains chaotic following days of clashes that spread from the city of Osh to neighboring Jalal-Abad, where scattered fighting is still reported. Bodies lay unclaimed in the streets in both towns, and many homes set on fire during clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks are smoking ruins.
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR is preparing to airlift aid to Uzbekistan, where some 75,000 ethnic Uzbeks have fled to escape the violence in Kyrgyzstan. Authorities in Uzbekistan are said to be interning the refugees in patrolled camps, and preventing them from leaving to contact friends or relatives in the country. Additionally, the UNHCR places the number of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) within Kyrgyzstan, again mostly ethnic Uzbeks, at 200,000. (Eurasianet, WP, LAT, June 15; IWPR, June 14)
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