Stefan Boss

Footage of combat landings in a military plane has appeared. Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov on Monday urged his nation to trust its army and strategic partners after massive clashes on the border with neighboring Tajikistan.

He said there was no need for a volunteer force on the border with Tajikistan, but fears remained that the fighting would escalate into a full-scale war.

Violence erupts regularly between the two former Soviet republics, whose border has been disputed since the Russian-led collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

But with at least nearly 100 killed in recent days, the clashes between the mainly Muslim countries have been the deadliest in recent memory.

Late on Sunday, Kyrgyzstan reported more than a dozen deaths, bringing the death toll to at least nearly 60. It added that more than 100 people were injured and declared Monday a day of mourning for the victims.

The Secretary of the Security Council of Kyrgyzstan, Marat Imankulov, said that “there was a firefight on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan all day long.”

The fighting continues

He added: “We believe this is a provocation. The shooting was conducted by the armed forces, border guards and other military personnel of Tajikistan. Our border guards acted adequately; they also fought back.”

More than 30 people are also believed to have died in Tajikistan recently.

Recent battles involving tanks, aircraft and jet artillery on the disputed border section in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan.

Both sides blame each other for the outbreak of violence. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan share a 1,000 km (600 mi) border, the third border is disputed.

As the violence continues, many have been displaced by the fighting, with Kyrgyzstan reporting that some 137,000 people have been evacuated from the conflict zone.

Kyrgyz media say some people have already started returning to their homes, but it is unclear how long they will be able to stay there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a de-escalation of tensions during telephone conversations with the Presidents of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and Kyrgyzstan Sadir Japarov on Sunday. But with Russia focused on its invasion of Ukraine, there is international concern that tensions will rise in the Central Asian and Caucasus regions of the former Soviet Union.

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