Russia lambasts Blinken for ridiculing 'tragic events' in Kazakhstan

WION Web Team
Moscow, RussiaUpdated: Jan 08, 2022, 04:52 PM IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via a teleconference call at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow Photograph:(Reuters)

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Dozens have died and public buildings across Kazakhstan have been ransacked and torched in the worst violence the former Soviet republic has experienced in 30 years of independence

Russia has lambasted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying he "ridiculed a totally legitimate response" of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a military alliance led by Russia.

Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, "US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to make a funny joke today about the tragic events in Kazakhstan. A boorish attempt, but then again not his first one." 

It comes after Blinken had said that, "One lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave." 

Meanwhile, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that the deployment of the Russia-led military bloc known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Nur-Sultan had allowed Kazakh law enforcement agencies to be redeployed to intervene in Almaty.

Dozens of people have died, and public buildings across Kazakhstan have been ransacked and torched over the past week in the worst violence experienced in the Central Asian nation, a major oil and uranium producer since it became independent in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed.

The demonstrations began as a response to a fuel price hike but swelled into a broad movement against Tokayev's Russian-backed government and 81-year-old former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose family is widely believed to have retained influence in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that bears his name.

The former head of Kazakhstan’s counterintelligence and anti-terror agency has been arrested on charges of attempted government overthrow in the wake of violent protests that the president has blamed on foreign-backed terrorists.

The arrest of Karim Masimov was announced Saturday by the National Security Committee, which Kasimov headed until he was removed this week by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Authorities say security forces killed 26 demonstrators in this week’s unrest and that 18 law-enforcement officers died. More than 4,400 people have been arrested, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.

The uprising has prompted a military intervention by Moscow at a time of high tension in East-West relations as Russia and the United States gear up for talks next week on the Ukraine crisis.

(With inputs from agencies)