Moscow, Jan 6 (EFE) .- Russia and its Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) allies have begun the deployment of troops in Kazakhstan to quell unrest in the former Soviet republic, where violent clashes between security forces and protesters have caused “dozens of deaths” this week.
“In accordance with the decision that the CSTO’s Collective Security Council approved on January 6, a peace contingent was sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period of time (…) in order to stabilize and normalize the situation,” the CSTO told the independent Russian news agency Interfax.
The main mission of these forces, according to the military alliance that brings together six former Soviet republics, including Russia, will be “the protection of important state and military objectives, support to the agents of order of Kazakhstan to stabilize the situation and promote their return to the legal framework.”
The first contingent to arrive in Kazakhstan was the Russian, made up of Airborne Troop units, which according to the CSTO, “are already carrying out their designated missions.”
Intense clashes in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, continued throughout the night, with “dozens” of protesters killed, according to the city’s police spokeswoman, Saltanat Azirbek, who on Thursday described it as an “anti-terrorist operation.”
“Dozens of attackers were killed. We established their identities,” she told Interfaz-Kazakhstan, without specifying the exact number.
The spokeswoman indicated that security forces prevented groups of armed protesters from seizing three administrative buildings, the Almaty police department, and several regional police units during the night.