A simmering conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has escalated in recent weeks, creating instability in the region to where more Russians are fleeing as refugees. 

Gunfire erupted on the undemarcated Kyrgyz-Tajik border last month and recently resumed after a brief period of ceasefire. The two post-Soviet states have long squabbled over the borders drawn after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the states have sought to maintain territorial sovereignty without angering their northern neighbor.

While President Emomali Rahmon rules Tajikistan autocratically, the democratically-elected leadership in Kyrgyzstan has strained its relationship with Russia, Foreign Policy reports. Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japorov said this week that Russian citizens fleeing the mobilization were welcome in his country, the New York Times reports.

The influx of Russian refugees has triggered some discontent, although ethnic Russians made up a significant percentage of Kygryzstan capital Bishkek’s population, even before the war, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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