Kazakhstan president says Russian troops will begin leaving in two days

AP Photo/Vasily Krestyaninov

Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Tuesday that Russian troops will begin leaving his country in two days. 

Tokayev requested troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), led by Russia, last week after violent protests erupted over fuel prices and broad inequality, Reuters reported.

Russia sent 2,030 troops and 250 pieces of military hardware to Kazakhstan as protesters burned buildings in the city of Almaty. 

“The main mission of the CSTO peacekeeping forces has been successfully completed,” Tokayev told Kazakhstan’s Parliament on Tuesday.

“In two days’ time, a phased withdrawal of the CSTO united peacekeeping contingent will begin. The withdrawal process of the contingent will take no more than 10 days,” he added. 

The announcement comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had successfully defended Kazakhstan against foreign terrorists to “prevent the undermining of the foundations of the state” and “the complete degradation of the internal situation in Kazakhstan.”

Authorities in Kazakhstan said 10,000 people have been arrested in connection to the protests and more arrests are likely to follow.

Protesters marched against the decades-long political hold of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was removed from the powerful Security Council last week when demonstrations erupted. 

Tokayev also removed the head of the National Security Committee (NSC), Karim Masimov, and said on Tuesday that the NSC failed to use resources to quell protests, according to Reuters. 

“In some cities, heads of National Security Committee departments, despite having sufficient combat arsenals, abandoned [their buildings] and left behind firearms and classified documents,” Tokayev said.

Tokayev also instructed his government to address the high fuel prices that have begun to plague the country.

Tags Collective Security Treaty Organization Jomart Tokayev Kazakh political shakeup Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev Tokayev Vladimir Putin
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