Russian officer shot, wounded near Kyrgyz air base

Men wearing Kyrgyz traffic policemen's uniforms shot and seriously wounded a Russian officer stationed at Russia's Kant air force base outside Bishkek, the Russian embassy in Kyrgyzstan said.

Russian officer shot, wounded near Kyrgyz air base
The Russian embassy and Kyrgyz officials gave differing accounts of the incident.

A Russian embassy official said four men in an unmarked vehicle blocked a private car carrying three Russian servicemen near the airbase, pulled the Russians out, threw them to the ground, began beating them and then shot one of them.

"The embassy of Russia has expressed its concern over the incident," Press Secretary Viktor Kharchenko told Reuters.

An officer in the Kyrgyz Ministry of Internal Affairs press service said the Russians had failed to stop at around 2 a.m. at a highway post on the road from Bishkek to Kant.

"There was no attack, it was a justified pursuit because they did not comply with the traffic police, and there were warning shots," deputy spokesman Rakhmatillo Akhmedov told Reuters.

Russian media, citing Kyrgyz law enforcement sources, said the three Russians were "in an unsober state" when they were pulled over.

The Russian officer, a senior lieutenant, was taken to hospital in Bishkek for emergency surgery, where doctors removed his spleen and a rib, Kharchenko said.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan enjoy good political relations and the mountainous Central Asian nation of 4 million is one of just a few ex-Soviet states where Russian is still an official language.

Russia's Kant airbase was established in 2003 as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and is 30 km (19 miles) from the U.S. Air Force's Ganci airbase.

Reuters
Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2008, 14:40
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