Russia-led CSTO peacekeepers begin pullback from Kazakhstan

WION Web Team
Kazakhstan Published: Jan 13, 2022, 01:05 PM(IST)

Russia-led CSTO soldiers guard an installation in Almaty, Kazakhstan Photograph:( AFP )

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Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had earlier given shoot-to-kill orders against protesters as the demonstrations turned violent.

Russian troops began withdrawing from Kazakhstan after being deployed there to maintain order amid violent protests in the country.

The Russian defence ministry said the "collective peacekeeping forces" had begun withdrawing. President Putin had sent nearly 2,000 troops to Kazakhstan after protests over fuel price hike turned violent.

Also Read in Pics:  Kazakhstan unrest turns deadly, 'dozens' of protesters killed in unprecedented violence

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had earlier said the withdrawal of Russian Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping troops will begin on January 13. Tokayev admitted the presence of Russian troops had played a key role in "stabilising the situation" in the country.

The Kazakh president had branded the protesters as "terrorists". The protests had erupted earlier this month as demonstrators ransacked government buildings in Almaty with several fatalities reported as Tokayev moved to request the Russia-led CSTO for help.

Watch: The real reason behind Kazakhstan protests

Tokayev criticised the business groups blaming them for doing "everything for friends" amid reports of rising inequality in the country and blamed the country's security apparatus for not being able to assess the threat. 

Tokayev had sacked Karim Masimov the former head of the National Security Committee (NSC) as the protests turned violent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the protests were foreign-backed as the peacekeepers began making plans for a phased pullout.

Also Read: Russian-led bloc will stymie any coups, says Putin after Kazakhstan riots

Tokayev had earlier given shoot-to-kill orders as the situation began to escalate. There were at least 164 reported deaths during the protests.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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