Conflicts & War

Alliance of ex-Soviet republics to send peacekeepers to Kazakhstan

Moscow, Jan 6 (EFE).- A military alliance that brings together six former Soviet republics, including Russia, will send troops to alliance member Kazakhstan with the aim of helping the Kazakh government deal with violent unrest, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Thursday.

Pashinyan, whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said on Facebook that peacekeepers would be deployed in Kazakhstan “for a limited period of time … to stabilize and normalize the situation.”

Besides Kazakhstan and Russia, the CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

While the Armenian premier did not say how many troops would go to Kazakhstan, the CTSO has a standing Peacekeeping Force of some 3,600 soldiers, police and civilians.

The CTSO decided to act following an appeal from Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and “in view of the threat to the national security and sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan caused, inter alia, by outside interference,” Pashinyan said.

“I have today addressed the CSTO member countries with the request that they help Kazakhstan to defeat this terrorist threat,” Tokayev said Wednesday in a message to the nation broadcast by the state channel Khabar 24.

“We should and we must view this attack against Kazakhstan as an act of aggression,” he said.

“Terrorist gangs have taken over important infrastructural facilities, in particular the Almaty airport, with five planes, including foreign planes,” the president said of the violence in the country’s former capital.

He said that protesters raided premises where firearms were stored.

Tokayev indicated that the units of the Kazakh Air Landing Troops had already started an anti-terrorist operation to liberate the airport.

“I am addressing the citizens of Kazakhstan, whether they are the inhabitants of the capital, Almaty or other cities who were victims of terrorist aggression. I assure you that as president I will do everything to protect your interests, and I think that together we will win,” he said.

Following Tokayev’s address, airport authorities reported that the terminal had been cleared. EFE aj-kk-fss/jrh/dr

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