Recently, Kazakh customs seized drones from Kyrgyzstan that originated from China, causing concern in the US over Kyrgyzstan’s potential role in bypassing sanctions against Russia.
The discovered 14 DJI Agras T-30 drones were bound for Russia, and lacking proper permits, were confiscated and auctioned off.
The incident has sharpened the focus on Kyrgyzstan.
The Central Asian countries, indirectly affected by Western sanctions packages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are accused of participating in evading these sanctions.
Kyrgyzstan is now, particularly under observation. While Kazakhstan has been cautious, Washington is threatening to increase pressure.
The drones, designed for spraying agrochemicals, are considered potential military material.
The Russian government itself acknowledged their military potential when it seized some examples in 2022 in Eastern Ukraine.
The US is considering direct sanctions against Kyrgyz companies.
Kyrgyzstan asserts its innocence in any actions or intentions to circumvent sanctions, emphasizing its economic interdependence with Russia.
The country’s authorities have reminded that over a million of its citizens work in Russia, explaining the transportation of Chinese drones.
The Western countries are cautious about alienating the Central Asian nations, choosing diplomacy over direct accusations.
This approach seems to prioritize targeting specific companies rather than accusing the countries of origin, whose responsibility remains unclear.
However, the increased transit of Chinese and European goods, especially military equipment, via Kyrgyzstan keeps the country under close scrutiny.