CSTO to Deploy Peacekeeping Forces to Kazakhstan as Fighting Reportedly Starts in Almaty - Videos
20:33 GMT 05.01.2022 (Updated: 10:50 GMT 06.01.2022)
Witnesses report that fighting has started in Almaty, as a special anti-terrorist operation was launched in the city earlier.
According to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who had a phone conversation with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev earlier in the day, the CSTO) Collective Security Council has decided to deploy forces to Kazakhstan for a limited period of time to stabilize the situation in the country.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tokayev said he had asked the CSTO states for assistance in tackling the terrorist aggression.
"In connection with the request by Kazakh President Tokayev and in view of the threat to national security and the sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan caused, inter alia, by outside interference, the CSTO Collective Security Council, in accordance with Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty, decided to deploy the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces to Kazakhstan," Pashinyan wrote on Facebook.
According to the CSTO Secretariat, Kazakhstan's appeal for assistance says that the situation in the country is viewed as an invasion of gangs trained from abroad.
"The interior affairs agencies are currently taking all necessary measures to prevent escalation of violence from growing. A number of instigators and organizers of riots, who have violated the law, are being held accountable under criminal and administrative law," the Kazakh Interior Ministry said earlier in a statement, urging citizens not to fall for provocations.
At least two soldiers died during the anti-terrorist operation at the city's airport, Kazakh news website Zakon reported.
Earlier, the news agency Tengrinews.kz reported citing the Interior Ministry that 8p olice officers and national guard soldiers died and over 300 law enforcement officers were injured during the protests in the country.
Gunshots from automatic rifles are allegedly heard in another video shared by Sputnik.
Another video was also shared, allegedly capturing a shoot-out in the city, as eyewitnesses say protesters are now armed with assault rifles.
Mass protests have shaken Kazakhstan in the early days of 2022.
Citizens of Zhanaozen and Aktau in Mangistau — an oil-producing region in the west of the country — opposed a twofold increase in LNG prices. A government commission that was formed shortly after said it was ready to cut prices, but the protests spread to other cities. In Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, protesters engaged in clashes with security officials and the police used tear gas and flash-noise grenades. Throughout Kazakhstan, the Internet was shut down, and the broadcasting of a number of TV channels was temporarily stopped.
On late Wednesday, Tokayev introduced a state of emergency in the Mangistau and Almaty regions, as well as in the city of Almaty itself, which includes a curfew from 23.00 pm to 7.00 am local time, a ban on mass events, strikes and the sale of weapons, as well as strengthening the protection of especially important facilities. On the same day, the state of emergency was extended to the entire territory of Kazakhstan.
Early on Wednesday, the Kazakh president dismissed the government, accusing it of allowing unrest, and took over the Republic’s Security Council, removing the first head of state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, from the post. In addition, Tokayev stressed that the authorities will act as tough as possible in relation to the rioters, and vowed "to come out with a new package of proposals" in the near future.