Russia and its allies from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) ex-Soviet military alliance, have begun the deployment of their troops in Kazakhstan to quell the unrest that has shaken the country for several days where clashes between the Army and protesters have caused “dozens of deaths.”
“In correspondence to the decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council approved on January 6, a peace contingent was sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period of time (…) in order to stabilize and normalize the situation, ”the CSTO reported, quoted by Interfax.
The main mission of these forces, according to this alliance, will be “the protection of important state and military objectives, support to the agents of the order of Kazakhstan to stabilize the situation and promote their return to the legal framework.”
The first contingent to arrive in Kazakhstan was the Russian, made up of Airborne Troops units, which according to the CSTO, “already carry out their designated missions.”
The intense clashes in Almaty continued throughout the night, with a balance of “dozens” of protesters killed, as reported today by the spokeswoman for the city’s Police, Saltanat Azirbek, who referred to an “anti-terrorist operation” .
“Dozens of attackers were killed. We establish their identities, ”he said, without specifying the exact number, said the police spokeswoman quoted by Interfaz-Kazakhstan.
The representative of the Police indicated that groups of armed protesters tried to take over three administrative buildings, the Almaty Police Department, as well as several regional Police units, but that the forces of order prevented them.
According to local media, machine gun bursts are heard in the city and on social media users report that both the Police and the military as well as the protesters are armed.
The state television channel Jabar 24 reported this Thursday, citing the Interior Ministry, that the “antiterrorist operation” is hampered “since the terrorists use civilians, including women, for cover.”
“The entity ensures that law enforcement officers do everything possible to guarantee the safety of the population,” the channel said.
In addition, Jabar 24 denounced that the armed protesters surrounded two hospitals in Almaty and prevented the passage of ambulances with patients requiring treatment and medical personnel.
The day before the authorities reported the death of at least 10 uniformed men during the riots and the fighting to expel the protesters from the Almaty airport.
The President of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Yomart Tokáyev, on Wednesday night, requested help from the CSTO to put an end to the massive riots, which he described as a “terrorist threat”.
The president pointed out that “terrorist gangs” had staged riots in several Kazakh cities, and particularly in Almaty, the country’s largest city, where protesters seized various government buildings, including the mayor’s office, the president’s residence and the airport.
The demonstrations were unleashed on January 2 in response to the increase in the prices of liquefied gas, the main automotive fuel used in this Central Asian nation, but led to riots on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the seizure of administrative headquarters and serious acts of vandalism. .