The government of Azerbaijan announced yesterday that it has decided to return to Kazakhstan the six MiG-21 jets impounded during a stopover in Baku on March 19. That incident had attracted intense international attention due to the Russian involvement in the clandestine transport of the six jets to a destination suspected to be Serbia (see the Monitor, March 24, 25, 30). Azerbaijan subsequently released the Russian-owned giant AN-124 transport plane which was carrying both the jets and the approximately thirty Russian soldiers and airmen accompanying the cargo. But Baku retained the Kazakh-owned MiGs and pursued the investigation, ultimately discovering that the MiGs were destined for Bosnia.
Kazakhstan’s defense minister, Colonel-General Mukhtar Altynbaev, confirmed yesterday the Bosnian destination of the jets. But Altynbaev added that the sale contract has in the meantime been cancelled and that Kazakhstan will either seek another customer or cannibalize the planes for spare parts (Turan, Itar-Tass, April 20).
NEW RUSSIAN COMMANDER IN TAJIKISTAN.