Russian-led troops have flown into Kazakhstan at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to help quell anti-government protests.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) said in a statement on Jan. 6 that it deployed soldiers from Russia and former Soviet states “for a limited period of time to stabilize and normalize the situation” in Kazakhstan.
“The main tasks of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces will be the protection of important state and military facilities, assistance to the law enforcement forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan in stabilizing the situation, and returning it to the legal field,” CSTO said.
According to reports, CSTO sent 2,500 soldiers.
The troops include military units from Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Tokayev requested CSTO to send troops after he declared a two-week state of emergency, which was initially imposed in protest-hit areas but would be extended nationwide.
The troops arrived after Kazakh security forces killed dozens of protesters they described as “rioters.”
Kazakh security forces also reported that 18 of its members died during the protests in Almaty, where government buildings were set on fire.
According to the Kazakh Interior Ministry, authorities detained 2,298 protesters.
About 1,000 people were injured, the Kazakh Health Ministry said.
The United States State Department said that they remain “concerned” about the situation in Kazakhstan and are closely monitoring the Russian troops.
“We will be watching very closely for any violations of human rights and any efforts or actions on the part of foreign forces to seize Kazakh institutions,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said at a press briefing.
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