Moscow, Feb 10 (EFE).- Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Thursday thanked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for his support in dealing with the violent unrest in January by sending more than 2,000 troops from Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to the Central Asian country.
In the first meeting between the two leaders since the violent protests earlier this year in Kazakhstan, Tokayev thanked Putin for “his warm and serious approach to Kazakhstan’s request for a peacekeeping contingent to be sent to the country.”
Kazakhstan asked the Russian-led post-Soviet alliance for help in protecting the country’s critical infrastructure.
Tokayev gave the order to forcibly quell the unrest, in which more than 200 people were killed and nearly 4,500 injured.
The protests began on January 2, initially over the doubling of liquefied gas used in Kazakhstan as a cheap alternative to gasoline.
The demonstrations, spurred by citizen discontent with economic and political elites and corruption, quickly turned into riots and were suppressed by Kazakh security forces in an “anti-terrorist” operation.
Tokayev reiterated on Thursday that “it was a carefully prepared operation by international terrorists, bandits who attacked Kazakhstan to undermine the constitutional order and carry out a coup d’état.”
At a press conference after the meeting, Putin backed his counterpart by stating that “Kazakhstan faced an act of terrorist aggression committed with the direct participation of destructive forces from inside and outside the country.”
The Kazakh leader has promised to publish proof of his accusations, something he has not yet done. EFE