Putin and CSTO discuss fight against “international terrorism” in Kazakhstan

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Kazakhstan in several phone calls with his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Russian news agencies said on Friday citing the Kremlin.

Putin also held talks Thursday and Friday with leaders of other countries in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military alliance, the agencies said citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The Russian leader had “talks with the President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, as well as with the Prime Minister of Armenia,” said the spokesman of the Russian Federation. Kremlin.

“They discussed the situation in Kazakhstan and joint actions within the framework of the CSTO’s mandate to fight international terrorism and ensure order, as well as the security of the citizens of Kazakhstan,” Peskov said.

According to him, since the beginning of the operation of the collective peacekeeping forces, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has constantly informed Putin about the progress of the transfer of military troops to Kazakhstan and the accomplishment of the assigned tasks.

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan’s main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Kazakh president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to quell an uprising across the country.

Earlier, Moscow said more than 70 planes were carrying Russian troops to Kazakhstan and these were now helping control the main Almaty airport, which was taken over from protesters on Thursday.

Protests that began in response to rising fuel prices have turned into a broad movement against the government and former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, the longest-serving leader of all former Soviet states. He ceded the presidency to Tokayev three years ago, but his family is generally believed to have retained their influence in Nour-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that bears his name.

The protesters in Almaty appear to come mainly from the poor suburbs of the city or the surrounding towns and villages. The violence came as a shock to urban Kazakhs.

“At night, when we hear explosions, I’m scared,” a woman named Kuralai told Reuters. “It hurts to know that young people are dying. It has clearly been planned … probably our government has relaxed a bit.”

In a state where little political opposition is tolerated, no prominent leader of the protest movement has emerged to make formal demands.

A man who attended the first night of the protests and did not want to be identified said most of those who initially showed up were there to “spontaneously express their solidarity”, before 100-200 “aggressive youngsters” started throwing stones at the police. He said he had expected some opposition politicians to make demands, but to no avail.

The Interior Ministry said 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated” while 18 police officers and members of the National Guard were killed, figures which do not appear to have been updated since Thursday. State television reported more than 3,700 arrests.

Further gunfire was heard near Almaty’s main square on Friday, where troops fought protesters throughout Thursday. Armored personnel carriers and troops occupied the square.

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