CSTO Sends Peacekeepers to Kazakhstan to Stabilise Situation After Violent Riots
07:12 GMT 06.01.2022 (Updated: 18:49 GMT 19.10.2022)
The situation in Kazakhstan deteriorated on Wednesday when rioters in Almaty stormed the mayor's office and the old presidential residence and attacked police forces.
The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) secretariat stated on Thursday that the bloc is sending peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan and that several units are already performing their tasks in the country.
"In accordance with the decision made by the CSTO Collective Security Council on 6 January 2022, Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation were sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period of time to stabilise and normalise the situation", the CSTO secretariat stated.
"The main tasks... will be guarding important state and military facilities and rendering assistance to the law enforcement of Kazakhstan in stabilising the situation and returning it to the legal framework".
According to the organisation, the Russian portion of the peacekeeping contingent is now being transferred to Kazakhstan by the Russian Aerospace Forces, and the first peacekeeping units have already begun performing their tasks.
Peacekeepers from all CSTO member countries will participate in the operation: this includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Kazakhstan sent a request to the heads of the CSTO member states to assist in resolving the crisis earlier this week after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the riots are considered to be an invasion of gangs trained from abroad.
"In this regard and relying on the Collective Security Treaty, today I reached out to the heads of the CSTO member states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat", Tokayev said on the air of the Kazakh TV channel Khabar 24.
Mass protests in Kazakhstan were sparked by rising fuel prices earlier this month. They started in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau and later spread across the country. In the nation's most populous city, Almaty, a violent riot
broke out, with a crowd beating police officers and storming the mayor's office and the old presidential residence.
Throughout the country, internet services were switched off, and a number of TV channels were taken off the air.
At the moment, a counter-terrorist operation is underway in Almaty, while several hundred protesters are still believed to occupy the centre of the city.