MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/. The units of CSTO collective peacekeeping forces started fulfilling their duties on Kazakhstan’s territory on Thursday, following a request for assistance by the Kazakh leadership due to the situation in the country.
For the CSTO peacekeepers this operation is the first one ever - previously, they only participated in drills.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that he turned to the CSTO for assistance on Wednesday night. After a couple of hours, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who is currently chairing the Collective Security Council reported that the peacekeepers would be deployed to the republic "for a limited time period in order to stabilize and normalize the situation."
So far, it is unknown how many servicemen will be deployed to Kazakhstan. The peacekeeping contingents of the organization’s members number about 3,600 people yet the total of peacekeepers deployed is determined on a case-by-case basis.
The units of Russia’s airborne troops have already been dispatched to Kazakhstan and advance units are already carrying out their duties. Belarus and Tajikistan have also declared their intention to help. Kyrgyzstan reported that its servicemen will be used exclusively to protect strategic objects and "won’t be involved in any interaction with the rallies’ participants." Their number will be determined on Friday.
Protest rallies against high fuel prices erupted on January 2 in Zhanaozen and Aktau in the Mangystau Region in southwestern Kazakhstan. Two days later, the protests engulfed Almaty in the country’s southeast and other cities where the protesters clashed with the police. Casualties were reported, the state of emergency was declared in the country. The CSTO Collective Security Council made the decision to send peacekeepers to Kazakhstan in order to stabilize the situation. First peacekeeping units have already started fulfilling their duties in Kazakhstan.