RT crew joins Russian peacekeepers in Kazakhstan (VIDEO)
The Central Asian state asked CSTO military bloc after rioting
Russian peacekeepers have been deployed to Almaty, the focal point of violent protests that have swept through Kazakhstan since a two-fold hike in fuel prices. A team from RT recorded them on their dangerous mission.
The Russian troops are authorized to use their weapons, but their main task will be guarding key infrastructure in the largest Kazakh city, including the international airport, which was attacked by rioters last week, RT’s Murad Gazdiev reported from the scene.
Restoring order in the city of two million, where armed gangs still roam the streets, torching vehicles and looting shops, will remain the task of the local security forces.
Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested assistance from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Wednesday, after government buildings were overrun by angry crowds in Almaty and elsewhere in the country.
The CSTO was formed as the result of a security treaty between six former Soviet states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Russia and other member states began sending their peacekeepers to the crisis-hit country the day after the president’s appeal.
More than 1,000 people have been injured during the unrest, according to UN estimations. The country’s Interior Ministry said there had been at least 18 deaths among police officers and the military, and, judging by reports, several dozen rioters have also been killed.
In excess of 4,000 people have been arrested, including a number of foreign nationals.
People took to the streets in Zhanaozen and Aktau on the first days of 2022 to express their anger over a doubling of the cost of liquefied petroleum gas, which had previously been subsidized by the government. The initially peaceful protests swiftly spread to other Kazakh cities and turned increasingly violent, despite the authorities promising to keep the price under control.