Kazakhstan: Russian-led forces initiate withdrawal from the country

By SudOuest.fr with AFP

According to the Russian authorities, the mission of the soldiers sent to Kazakhstan is finished, they “having fulfilled the set tasks”

Russian-led forces on Thursday launched their withdrawal from Kazakhstan where they had been dispatched to support the ruling power in the face of unprecedented riots, the Russian Defense Ministry said. A solemn ceremony bringing together the soldiers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance led by Moscow, who took part in the operation, took place on this occasion in the morning in Almaty, the main Kazakh city.

“The peacekeeping operation is over […], the tasks have been fulfilled ”, welcomed, on this occasion, Russian General Andrei Serdyukov, commander of the CSTO contingent comprising 2,030 Russian, Belarusian, Armenian, Tajik and Kyrgyz troops, who was sent to this event. former Soviet Republic of Central Asia on January 6. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, these troops have started “to prepare military and technical equipment for loading into Russian air force aircraft for return to their permanent base.”

Dozens of dead

The withdrawal must be completed in ten days, according to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the CSTO. Kazakhstan was rocked last week by violence never seen since its independence in 1991. It left dozens dead and hundreds injured, prompted the deployment of the Russian-led peacekeeping contingent and brought to the United States. arrest of at least 12,000 people.

The most serious violence took place in Almaty with exchanges of fire, the looting of shops and the burning of the town hall and the presidential residence. The riots were qualified as a “terrorist” aggression by the authorities, who did not, however, provide concrete evidence to this effect. They erupted after protests against rising fuel prices, against a backdrop of declining living standards and endemic corruption in this ex-Soviet state.

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