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Russian-led forces begin departure as stability returns to Kazakhstan

Russian-led forces begin departure as stability returns to Kazakhstan

dpa
Moscow
The withdrawal of Russian-led forces from Kazakhstan began on Thursday, a week after several former Soviet states deployed troops to quell anti-government unrest that rocked the Central Asian nation.
The Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) handed “socially important objects” back to the Kazakh authorities, according to the Defence Ministry in Moscow.
The peacekeepers were deployed following a request from the Kazakh government for outside help with restoring order in Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty, as well as in other regions where demonstrations and riots broke out last week.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called the first CSTO deployment of this kind a success and thanked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the quick intervention.
The redeployment of soldiers from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is expected to last 10 days. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, it is being carried out in close coordination with the Kazakh side. Preparations are also under way to move military equipment and other special assets back to their locations, it said.
According to the ministry, Russia also evacuated some 2,000 civilians from Kazakhstan in the past few days, including foreign nationals and its own citizens. Oil- and gas-rich Kazakhstan, which has long been considered a model of stability in Central Asia, saw peaceful protests at the doubling of fuel prices spiral into violent anti-government insurrection last week. Tokayev shortly afterwards issued an order to shoot the protesters, whom he called “terrorist gangs,” resulting in more than 100 deaths, hundreds of injuries and more than 10,000 arrests.

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