CSTO sends ‘peacekeeping forces’ to Kazakhstan at Tokayev's request

On the night of January 6, Armenia’s Prime Minister and Chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council Nikol Pashinyan announced that the Collective Security Treaty Organisation decided to send ‘peacekeeping forces’ to Kazakhstan for ‘a limited period of time’ on the back of the appeal of Kazakh President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev.

Military in Almaty. 6 January 2022.
Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS / Forum

According to him, the corresponding decision was taken in light of ‘the threat to national security and sovereignty caused by, inter alia, outside interference’. He failed to specify which body or country was interfering in the Kazakh protest.

The CSTO includes Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Officially, the number of CSTO peacekeeping forces amounts to 3,600.

Leonid Kalashnikov, Head of the CIS Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, said that the CSTO ‘peacekeepers’ would only be protecting the local infrastructure and facilities. If his words are anything to go by, it is the Kazakh soldiers, not foreign peacekeepers that are now involved in the confrontation. However, the Russian official added that the CSTO forces would remain there for an indefinitele period of time, ‘until the situation stabilised’.

(UPD) On Thursday morning, the CSTO confirmed to the Belarusian news agency BelTA the participation of the Belarusian military in the CSTO peacekeeping forces sent to Kazakhstan. The organisation did not comment on the specific membership of the units.

“They include units of the Armed Forces of Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. The main tasks of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces will be to protect important state and military facilities, assist Kazakhstan’s law enforcement forces in stabilising the situation and returning it to the legal field,” BelTA quotes CSTO spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov.

According to the Belarusian MFA, the country is ‘prepared to assist the friendly people of Kazakhstan’ and stays ‘fully committed to its obligations’.

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The unrest in Kazakhstan broke out on January 2. Since then, the protesters drew a cut in fuel prices from the authorities (previously, they had been raised twice), then the government stepped down, and finally, the Kazakh people saw the ultimate resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev come true.

A state of emergency has been declared across the country. Banks are temporarily closed, and citizens are stripped of the opportunity to take out theit money. Citizens are reportedly having difficulty to make it into the Internet; in Almaty, local residents are experiencing a communication outage. The situation is partially covered by the Russian state media.

Earlier, Tokayev’s adherers announced an ‘anti-terrorist operation’ against protesters who had taken control of the country’s largest city, Almaty. Last night, locals managed to inform the world of military vehicles’ being brought into the city. Then there were reports about exchanges of gunfire between protesters and the military.

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