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Kyrgyzstan considers conflict with Tajikistan as premeditated aggression - ministry

Kyrgyz foreign ministry accuses Tajikistan of seizing several villages in Batken region

BISHKEK, September 18. /TASS/. Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday it considers the border conflict with Tajikistan as a premeditated armed aggression.

"The Kyrgyz foreign ministry thinks it important to state that it considers the September 14-17, 2022 developments on its sovereign territory as Tajikistan’s premediated armed act of aggression against our state," the ministry’s press service said in a statement on Sunday.

"The Tajik side’s ungrounded accusations of committing ‘an act of armed aggression against Tajikistan’ are a void attempt to shift the responsibility and blame onto Kyrgyzstan," the ministry said. "The Tajik side has launched a wide disinformation campaign geared to discredit Kyrgyzstan’s defensive actions."

According to the ministry, "Tajik foreign ministry’s and other competent bodies’ information is not true." The Kyrgyz side "has evidence (photo and video materials) featuring the beginning of the aggression and the atrocities and crimes committed by Tajik servicemen on Kyrgyzstan’s territory," the ministry said, adding the Kyrgyz side "is ready to present this evidence" if need be.

"We note that despite the numerous ceasefire agreements the Tajik side continues its provocative shelling attacks and captured several settlements in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region: Dostuk, Aksay, International, Zhashtyk, Borborduk, Arka, Kulundu," the Kyrgyz foreign ministry said, adding that the Kyrgyz side "was acting exclusively from defensive positions and had no aim of seizing the neighbor’s territory, unlike the Tajik side, which treacherously infringed upon Kyrgyzstan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, which once again proves that Tajikistan has territorial claims."

Bishkek demanded Dushanbe "drop its futile plans of infringing upon Kyrgyzstan’s territories and its goals of escalating the situation in the border areas.".

Large-scale conflict

Tajikistan’s actions may trigger a large-scale interstate conflict and destabilize the situation in the region, Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry said.

"The Tajik side’s actions may trigger a large-scale interstate conflict and destabilize the situation in the entire Central Asian region. Moreover, the Tajik side-provoked situation has already led to losses among civilians and soldiers, serious damage to the military and civilian infrastructure, health of property of local residents," it said.

"The Tajik side’s illegal actions are an aggressive and destabilizing action, which runs counter to the bilateral and multilateral agreements, the spirit of good neighborly relations and mutual support between the peoples of our countries," the ministry stressed.

The ministry expressed "serious concern over the active participation of irregular paramilitary units from the part of the Tajik side."

The ministry called for resolving disputable matters with Tajikistan solely by peaceful means. "The Kyrgyz foreign ministry once again reiterates its unfailing position that disputable issues between the two countries are to be resolved solely by peaceful, political and diplomatic means at the negotiating table," it stressed.

The situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border flared up on September 14. The Kyrgyz side said that on Wednesday Tajik border guards had penetrated into a border section near Bulak-Bashy in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region and "took combat positions." In response to a demand to leave the area, the Tajik border guards opened fire triggering a shootout. Several hours later, armed clashes were reported in the areas of Kak-Sai and Paksy-Aryk. On September 17, Kyrgyzstan’s Border Service said that the Osh section of the border cane under shelling.

According to the latest update, 46 Kyrgyz nationals were killed and 140 more were wounded. More than 140,000 people evacuated from Kyrgyz settlements located near the border. An emergencies situation has been declared in the Batken region.