Pressure is again being ratcheted up against the U.S. Air Force base in Kyrgyzstan that serves as a vital lifeline to troops in Afghanistan.
In various reports Monday, the widow of a Kyrgyz man shot dead by an American security forces airman called a solatia payment “humiliation” and vowed to continue her suit seeking $1 million.
Other reports included the establishment of a public council to work toward the Manas air base’s closure and a proposal for a Russian air base in the country to be enlarged.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Marina Ivanova — widow of Alexander Ivanov, a truck driver shot at a security checkpoint in December — said she had been offered a $55,000 payment from the military.
“This is the latest handout, a humiliation. I do not consider it a gesture of goodwill — the [U.S. defense secretary] does not want me to demand anything more,” she said, according to the AP.
U.S. military officials have declined to comment on the amount of any solatia payment in the incident.
Base commander Col. Joel Scott Reese in a statement the government “recognizes her emotional and financial hardships. … It is for this reason that the secretary of defense is providing monetary assistance to her and her family. It is hoped that this final gesture of goodwill will ease her difficulties associated with this tragic event.”
The U.S. military has said Ivanov threatened the airman with a knife. Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy said he had been sent back to the U.S., but that an investigation continues.
Kyrgyz investigators have claimed the shooting was not in self-defense and have requested the airman face prosecution in a Kyrgyz court, something disallowed by the status-of-forces agreement.
Meanwhile, the official Kyrgyz radio service reported Monday that the council pushing for the air base’s closure would stage a protest rally in front of the U.S. Embassy on June 2.
And another Kyrgyz news agency reported that Russia has proposed enlarging its own air base in the country. The report, citing the Kyrgyz parliamentary speaker, said the issue was raised in a visit to Moscow last week.
The Russians run what is known as the “CSTO” air base in Kant, with about 300 personnel and five jets, along with helicopters and small training planes about 20 miles west of Bishkek.