Blinken called for a peaceful solution that respects the rights of the people.. Dozens killed in protests, Kazakhstan and Russia send a “peacekeeping” battalion
Violent protests continued in Kazakhstan, as security forces clashed with protesters in the country’s largest city, Almaty, while the United States called for a peaceful solution to the unrest, and while Russia sent peacekeeping forces, positions were issued by Iran, the Organization of Turkish States and regional and international parties.
The Kazakh Interior Ministry vowed to eliminate anyone who refuses to lay down arms and surrender, as it put it.
The ministry said that the situation in the city of Almaty is very complicated and that 2,300 people who participated in what it described as the riots were arrested. She added that the death toll from the events taking place in the country among the security forces rose to 18 dead and 748 wounded.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged a peaceful solution to the ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan, and US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken spoke by phone with his Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Teleobardi, and reiterated the United States’ full support for Kazakhstan’s constitutional institutions and freedom of speech. media.
Blinken also called during the phone call for a peaceful solution to the crisis that respects the rights of citizens.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is monitoring the situation in Kazakhstan and is closely monitoring reports that the Collective Security Treaty Organization has sent troops to the country.
Psaki added in her daily press statement, that there are questions about the nature of these forces, and the legality of their deployment, noting that the situation in Kazakhstan will not affect the talks with Russia scheduled for next Monday.
And last Sunday, protests erupted in Kazakhstan against the increase in liquefied gas prices, which included looting and riots in the city of Almaty, and there were casualties.
On Wednesday, the government announced its resignation against the backdrop of the protests, followed by the imposition of a state of emergency across the country in order to preserve public security, according to local media.
With the rapid developments that included declaring a state of emergency throughout the country and completely halting flights to and from Kazakhstan, the Russia-sponsored Collective Security Treaty Organization announced that Moscow had sent the first battalion of “peacekeepers” at the request of President Kassym-Gomert Tokayev. .
“The Collective Security Treaty Organization has sent a collective peacekeeping force to Kazakhstan for a limited period, in order to ensure the stability and normalization of the situation,” this military alliance said – in a statement published via the Telegram app, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the peacekeeping force in Kazakhstan includes forces from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The ministry published pictures showing the departure of a group of Russian paratroopers to Kazakhstan, which it said would participate in protecting civilian and military facilities.
The Russian Foreign Ministry considered what is happening in Kazakhstan “an externally supported attempt to undermine state security by force.”
And she added – in a statement issued Thursday – that she will consult with Kazakhstan and allies on taking additional steps to support the “fight against terrorism”, as she put it.
For his part, spokesman for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Vladimir Zint Aldinov, confirmed that the organization’s peacekeeping forces have begun their work on the ground in Kazakhstan, and their mission will focus on protecting government and military facilities.
He explained that the main objectives of the mission of the peacekeeping forces are to protect important government and military installations, and participate in the Kazakh security efforts to restore security and stability, and return the situation to its legal environment.
chaos and arrests
The police announced the arrest of more than 2,000 people who it said had participated in the riots.
With the spread of chaos, the Central Bank of Kazakhstan announced the suspension of the work of banks and the stock exchange, following the looting of financial institutions in several cities. Local media reported that gas stations in Almaty had stopped working and food products were running out of stores.
And Sputnik Kazakhstan reported that air traffic to and from Kazakhstan had been completely halted, as a result of the violent protests.
The protest movement – which erupted last Sunday after an increase in liquefied gas prices in the city of Zhanazin (west of the country) – spread to Almaty, the economic capital and the country’s largest city, on Tuesday evening.
The authorities accuse the “terrorists”
For his part, President Kassym-Gomert Tokayev – who dismissed the government and declared a state of emergency – said that the current unrest had led to “massive attacks on the security forces”.
And he added – in a televised speech on Wednesday – that “groups of criminal elements are beating our soldiers, humiliating them, dragging them naked in the streets, assaulting women and looting shops.”
Tokayev said he called on the heads of state of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to help Kazakhstan “defeat the terrorist threat,” adding that “highly trained foreign terrorist gangs” are leading the demonstrations.
And announced the presidency Kazakh on Thursday set up an investigation team to bring the perpetrators of the riots to trial.
In Iran, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that his country is closely following the developments in the situation in Kazakhstan, and that it is fully convinced that the government and people of Kazakhstan have the ability to resolve their differences through dialogue, and in peaceful ways, without the interference of external forces.
Khatibzadeh stressed that the stability and security of Kazakhstan are of paramount importance to Iran, and that no ground should be found that would allow foreign parties to exploit it. He also expressed his hope that calm and stability would return to Kazakhstan at the earliest opportunity.
In the same context, the Organization of Turkish States issued a statement stressing the special importance of peace and stability in Kazakhstan.
“We support Kazakhstan, a member state of our organization, and would like to express our confidence in the wisdom of the brotherly Kazakh people and their desire to return to normalcy in their country,” the statement said.
It is noteworthy that the Ankara-based Organization of Turkish States includes Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.