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$1Bln Russia-Kyrgyzstan Arms Deal to See First Shipments Next Year

Russia will begin arms shipments to Kyrgyzstan in the near future as part of a $1 billion deal signed last year to modernize the Central Asian country's military, Kyrgyzstan's president said at a news conference Monday.

"After reaching a historic agreement with Russia to reorganize our armed forces, all of the paperwork has been completed, and we will soon receive deliveries of artillery pieces, tanks, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment," Almazbek Atambayev said.

He said the newly modernized army would be ready to defend the country by 2017.

The two former Soviet nations signed a 15-year agreement in September 2012 on maintaining Russian bases in the Central Asian country.

Last month Kyrgyzstan officially notified the U.S. that American access to Kyrgyzstan's Manas airbase will be suspended next summer.

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