A Russian-led military alliance will send “peacekeeping forces” to Kazakhstan to help stabilize the country that has been hit by mass protests triggered by a hike in fuel prices.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on Jan. 6 that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) of former Soviet States will deploy peacekeepers “for a limited period of time” after an appeal from Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Pashinyan is currently the CSTO Collective Security Council chairman.
Leonid Kalashnikov, the chairman of the State Duma Committee of Russia, said that the peacekeepers will stay “as long as the president of Kazakhstan deems it necessary,” Interfax reported.
“The CSTO will basically only ensure the security of facilities, infrastructure, and so on,” Kalashnikov said.
Tokayev said on a televised address earlier in the day that the protesters were being led by terrorist groups who “received extensive training abroad” and are “currently rampaging” across the country.
“Almaty was attacked, destroyed, vandalized. The residents of Almaty became victims of attacks by terrorists, bandits, therefore it is our duty… to take all possible actions to protect our state,” Tokayev said.
On Jan. 4, Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency covering Almaty, the largest Kazakh city and the oil-rich western region of Mangystau.
Large protests have taken place in several areas across Kazakhstan after authorities lifted price caps on liquefied petroleum gas used for vehicles, causing consumer prices to increase.
The protests turned violent with police firing stun grenades and tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators.
According to Kazakh media outlets, at least eight police officers and military servicemen were killed in the protests.
Over 500 civilians were injured in the protests in Almaty, TASS news agency reported.
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