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Tuesday, 23 April 2024
Antony Blinken questions Kazakhstan's decision to deploy Russian military
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

The BBC reportedt that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has questioned Kazakhstan's decision to seek Russian military aid to deal with an ongoing wave of violent unrest.

Mr Blinken said the US believes that the Kazakh government can deal with the protests itself.

He told reporters that it was unclear why the deployment was happening.

The first of about 2,500 Russian-led troops have arrived in Kazakhstan.

Officials in Moscow have emphasised that the deployment of its forces under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Eurasian military alliance of five former Soviet republics and Russia, is temporary.

Kazakhstan protests/Facebook page
Kazakhstan protests/Facebook page

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made the request for assistance after protesters stormed the mayor's office in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, and overran the city's airport.

But addressing reporters at a State Department briefing, Mr Blinken warned that "one lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave".

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"It would seem to me that the Kazakh authorities and government certainly have the capacity to deal appropriately with protests to do so in a way that respects the rights of protesters while maintaining law and order," Mr Blinken said.

"So it's not clear why they feel the need for any outside assistance. So we're trying to learn more about it."

Kazakhstan president says constitutional order 'mainly restored' amid unreast

Some Russian paratrooper units have already arrived in the country, and on Friday assisted Kazakh forces in retaking the airport from protesters.

Kazakh troops have also taken firm action to regain control in Almaty. On Thursday, local media published videos showing government troops opening fire on protesters.

Russian-led troops arrive in Kazakhstan as crackdown of protests continues

The Interior Ministry says 26 "armed criminals" and 18 security officers have been killed so far in the clashes and President Tokayev blamed what he called foreign "terrorists" for the unrest.

Source: BBC