Russian President Vladimir Putin has encouraged reporters to read the American media less. The remark came during a press conference in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek in response to a question about reports that the Russian Kant air base in Kyrgyzstan had been abandoned due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“American media outlets are saying that all the equipment is in Ukraine, and that the [Kant] base is deserted,” claimed an Izvestia journalist at the press conference. He did not specify which US outlets had made such claims.
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“You are reading the American media in vain,” Putin told the reporter who had asked the question. “First, they very often distort reality – just listen to the former president of the United States. Listen to him, he will give you a good description of the current level of development of the American media,” the president said, apparently referring to Donald Trump and adding that American media will “teach you bad things.”
Putin insisted that the Kant military base remains active and continues to act as a “deterrent factor for various extremists.” He added that there is also an active aviation unit there which includes combat aircraft and helicopters.
“They are at Kant, on combat duty and service,” Putin said.
On Thursday, the Russian leader, together with his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Japarov, took part in a ceremony dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Kant base.
During the ceremony, Putin declared that Russia will continue to provide the base with the most modern weapons and promised to solve all the issues that the military personnel serving at the base may have.
The Russian president’s visit to Kyrgyzstan marks the first time he has traveled abroad since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him earlier this year. Next week, Putin is expected to travel to China to meet with President Xi Jinping during the international Belt and Road forum.