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Security at Baikonur had to be increased given situation in Kazakhstan, Kremlin says

On January 2, protests erupted in Kazakhstan

MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. The number of armed forces guarding the Baikonur Cosmodrome, given the emergency situation in Kazakhstan, could not have remained the same, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

He redirected a question on which forces, specifically a contingent of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) or Russian troops, are guarding the cosmodrome to the CSTO. "It is necessary to address the CSTO, I do not have this information. And there is an on-site system of providing security which is functioning on a permanent basis," the Kremlin official said.

"Yet, certainly, in such an emergency situation it (the number of forces guarding Baikonur - TASS) could not have been not increased, this is absolutely normal," the spokesman added.

Protests erupted in several Kazakh cities on January 2, escalating into mass riots with government buildings getting ransacked in several cities a few days later. The ensuing violence left scores of people injured, with fatalities also being reported. Subsequently, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) requesting assistance from the Russia-led bloc. As a result, peacekeepers have already been deployed to Kazakhstan. Law and order, Kazakh authorities affirm, was restored to all of the country’s regions by the morning of January 7.