BISHKEK -- A parliamentary committee in Kyrgyzstan has approved a bill that would increase Russia's annual fee for renting land for its combined military base in the Central Asian nation.
The bill, approved by members of the Kyrgyz parliamentary committee on international affairs, defense, and security on June 9, concerns the ratification of a Kyrgyz-Russian protocol on amendments to the agreement on the status and conditions of usage of the military base.
The bill was presented after a topographic survey of the land rented by the Russian military base had found that the combined base occupies 924.52 hectares, which is 58.32 hectares more than the area specified in the lease agreement.
After the amount of rented territory is amended, the current annual rental fee of $4,502,495 will be increased by $291,600, according to the bill.
The bill stirred controversy in Kyrgyzstan after some Internet users questioned the lease agreement, according to which, the runway at Russia's military air base in the northern Kyrgyz city of Kant would be owned by the Russian side after it is renovated.
Meanwhile, the bill says that "the General Staff of the Kyrgyz Armed Forces has outlined amendments to...the agreement that envisions return to the Kyrgyz side of the objects after the document’s expiration date."
"Additionally, the runway's buildings have been included to the list of joint [Kyrgyz-Russian] use," the bill says.
Russia's air base at Kant was opened in 2003 under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.
A U.S. air base outside the capital, Bishkek, began hosting U.S. troops in 2001 as part of the campaign in nearby Afghanistan, but Kyrgyzstan shut it in 2014 amid pressure from Moscow.
In 2017, the Kant air base and three other Russian military facilities in Kyrgyzstan were consolidated into a single combined base.
Kyrgyz Parliamentary Committee Approves Bill Increasing Russia's Military-Base Fee