Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov has dismissed allegations made by US Senator Bob Menendez that his country is involved in “democratic backsliding” and helping Russia evade Western sanctions. Japarov described the claims as inappropriate external pressure and emphasized that Kyrgyzstan will not be swayed by such tactics.
Senator Menendez had sent a letter to Japarov on Tuesday, stating that there were serious allegations of Kyrgyzstan aiding Russia in evading international sanctions imposed due to the invasion of Ukraine. He urged the Kyrgyz president to immediately investigate the matter. Menendez specifically accused Kyrgyzstan of either not enforcing or facilitating the trade in drones, aircraft parts, weapon accessories, and circuitry. He argued that this behavior is indicative of the country’s democratic backsliding and human rights violations.
In response, Japarov defended Kyrgyzstan’s independence and its commitment to maintaining equal relations with all countries. He affirmed that Kyrgyzstan will continue to pursue a multi-vector foreign policy, free from external pressures. Japarov viewed the accusations as an attempt to put pressure on Kyrgyzstan and coerce the country into aligning with the US.
The Kyrgyz president also addressed the issue of alleged sanctions evasion. He stated that while Kyrgyzstan has imposed a ban on the exportation of drones, Russia has alternative means of acquiring them, such as through China or other countries with whom it shares a border. Japarov emphasized that Russia can bring in any cargo it wants by rail or by sea.
Although Kyrgyzstan has not officially joined sanctions against Russia, the country has tightened its export controls in response to threats of penalties for noncompliance by US, EU, and UK officials. However, Japarov highlighted that Kyrgyzstan’s position on the conflict in Ukraine remains neutral, and regardless of any change in stance, the situation will not be altered.
Kyrgyzstan has faced recent challenges, including an attempted coup against Japarov in early June, resulting in the arrest of 30 individuals. Despite these internal issues, the country maintains close ties with Russia and is a member of various regional organizations, including the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Kyrgyzstan’s rejection of the allegations made by Senator Menendez demonstrates the country’s commitment to maintaining its independence and sovereignty. The response from President Japarov emphasizes the need for equal relations with all nations and a refusal to succumb to external pressures. The issue of sanctions evasion is dismissed as irrelevant, given Russia’s alternative means of obtaining restricted goods. Kyrgyzstan’s adherence to a neutral stance on the conflict in Ukraine further reinforces its determination to pursue a multi-vector foreign policy. Despite internal challenges, Kyrgyzstan’s alliances with Russia and participation in regional organizations remain steadfast.