Russia sends troops to intervene in Kazakhstan protests

Russia on Thursday sent troops to intervene in protests in Kazakhstan at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Tokayev asked Russia for backup overnight due to a violent uprising in the country that has led to the deaths of dozens of individuals, Reuters reported.

Tokayev and Russia are blaming the protests on foreign terrorists, without providing evidence, as demonstrators have taken issue with high fuel prices and the decades-long political hold former President Nursultan Nazarbayev has on the former Soviet territory.

On Wednesday, buildings burned in the country’s main city, Almaty, as protesters chanted against Nazarbayev.

Gunshots were heard as Russian troops entered the city. Police have said 13 security force members have been killed and authorities responded by killing dozens of protesters, according to the reports.

The secretariat of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization announced the troops have “already begun to fulfill their assigned tasks,” according to Reuters.

It is not clear how many Russian paratrooper units were sent, but the secretariat did say they came from Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Tokayev’s Cabinet stepped down at the start of the protests, and he replaced Nazarbayev’s position in an attempt to quell the uprising, but the situation continued to escalate. 

Russia has warned other countries not to intervene in Kazakhstan, saying Russia is closely tracking the situation since the country is in its sphere of influence.

Tags Kazakh protests Kazakhstan Russia
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