Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says Pro-Western non-governmental organizations have intensified anti-Russian activities in Central Asia.

Shoigu yesterday delivered a statement on the occasion of the Special Operations Forces Day at a meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in Moscow.

The statement, posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s official website, in particular, notes that the situation in the Central Asian region remains complex.

According to the minister, the greatest threat comes from the territory of Afghanistan.  “Over the past year, the number of the ISIS militants increased by 15%” said Shoigu.  “Their main goal is to spread radical ideology and conduct subversive activities on the southern borders of the CSTO.”

At the same time, a nearly 20% increase in drug production and, consequently, drug trafficking through the Central Asian nations is expected.

“In addition, there are over 100 large pro-Western non-governmental organizations with more than 16,000 representative offices and branches operating in the region,” the minister said, noting that against the backdrop of the special military operation, these NGOs significantly intensified their anti-Russian activities in order to reduce the military-technical, economic and cultural cooperation of the Central Asian countries with the Russian Federation.

According to him, they are taking proactive measures.  This year, the Central Military District is expected to concentrate on resolving crisis situations in the countries of the region and participate in seven exercises in the territories of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

“The combat training will culminate in the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force Interaction 2024 exercise, in which military contingents from five States will take part,” said Shoigu.  “The Central MD's formations and units are being equipped with the latest weaponry, including Iskander-M missile systems and Tornado-G MLRS.

He further noted that eighteen military units will be reorganized.  The troops will receive more than 360 units of new and modernized hardware.  As a result, the ratio of modern hardware will be 52.8%.

“The implementation of the planned measures by the end of the year will make it possible to increase the combat potential of troops and ensure military security in the Central Asian strategic direction,” the minister added.