Citing Kazakhstan’s Defense Ministry, KazTAG, a Kazakh international news agency, reported on April 14 that Kazakhstan will host several military exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) this year.

“Special military exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, dubbed “Eshelon-2022” (Echelon-2022), “Poisk-2022” (Search-2022) and “Vzaimodeystviye-2022” (Interaction-2022), will be conducted at the Matybulak training ground in Kazakhstan in the fall this year,” KazTAG said.  

During a meeting on these war games, the sides reportedly reached agreements to strengthen and develop capabilities of the collective security system.  

According to KazTAG, the meeting participants discussed issues of military security in the CSTO area of responsibility, improvement of mechanisms of crisis response and organization of international flights of Air Forces of the CSTO member nations.  

The parties also endorsed the plan of actions on holding events for joint training of management bodies, forming forces and means of the CSTO collective security system in 2022.  

Recall, similar joint military drills, dubbed "Echelon-2021", "Search-2021" and "Interaction-2021" were conducted at Harbmaidon training ground in Tajikistan’s Khatlon province near the border with Afghanistan in October last year.  These war games were reportedly conducted amid the volatile situation in and beyond Afghanistan.  The three operations focused on logistics, intelligence, and armed fighting in border conflicts, as well as terrorism responses.

Over 4,000 servicemen from CSTO member states were involved in the exercises in Tajikistan.

Founded in 1992, the CSTO is a Russia-led military alliance currently grouping the six former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is bolstering its defense.  The government decided to substantially increase its defense outlays. website says Deputy Finance Minister Tatiana Savelyeva on April 7 presented a three-year budget to the parliament that envisioned an additional 441 billion tenge (equivalent to around 1 billion U.S. dollars) in spending in 2022 to increase combat readiness and upgrade the equipment of law enforcement and emergency management agencies.

The bulk of that enhanced spending will go toward boosting the number of special forces units operating under the auspices of the Interior Ministry, the National Guard, and the Defense Ministry, as well as acquiring more equipment, including military transport aircraft.  The salaries of military personnel will be raised by up to 40 percent.