BEIJING, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Russia sent a battalion of paratroopers Sunday to protect its facilities at a military base in northern Kyrgyzstan as violence raged on in southern parts of the country for the fourth day.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed the situation with Kyrgyz interim President Roza Otunbayeva over the phone, calling for an end to the unrest as soon as possible.
With death toll rising to 117 and thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Uzbekistan, the worsening situation in Kyrgyzstan also alarmed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said the United Nations was urgently assessing humanitarian aid needs resulting from the clashes.
Meanwhile, former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted amid clashes in April, denied his alleged involvement in the unrest.
RUSSIA SENDS TROOPERS TO PROTECT ITS FACILITIES
A battalion of Russian paratroopers were sent to Kyrgyzstan to protect Russian facilities at the Kant military base, located in the north and close to the capital of Bishkek.
Three Ilyushin Il-76 military cargo aircraft, carrying humanitarian aids and the paratroopers from the 31st landing brigade of the Russian Air-Borne Force, landed at the air base Sunday afternoon.
Medvedev, in the phone conversation with Otunbayeva, said the troopers' task was to guarantee the security of Russian servicemen and facilities, the Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalia Timakova as saying.
Otunbayeva has appealed to Russia to send peacekeepers, but Moscow has declined that request, saying that the clashes are internal conflicts of Kyrgyzstan.