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Situation in Kazakhstan stabilizes after Tokayev’s address, peacekeepers’ arrival

The authorities impose harsh security measures in major cities

MOSCOW, January 7 /TASS/. The situation in Kazakhstan has stabilized Friday following several days of riots that escalated into brutal clashes with the law enforcement. Earlier this day, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the citizens, warning that the military were ordered to "shoot on sight without warning" and ruling out negotiations with "armed and trained bandits."

The authorities impose harsh security measures in major cities; CSTO peacekeepers commenced their duties. CSTO countries continue their contacts at the highest level. On January 5, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko talked to Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led the Security Council of Kazakhstan until that day.

Shooting subsides

The most complicated situation is still being observed in Almaty. However, shooting in downtown Almaty became less intensive before night.

The city’s Republic Square has been occupied by the military, who shoot in the air if people try to approach. Earlier Friday, cars with killed people inside remained at the square. Nearby streets are being patrolled by armored vehicles.

Almost all stores in the city are closed; those that remain open only accept cash, because payment terminals are offline. There are long queues for the remaining ATMs; people complain about food shortage.

The military and police guard the airport, actively detaining suspicious individuals. Gas stations are closed, causing significant reduction of traffic and taxi parks shutdown due to fuel shortage.

The capital and the regions

The situation in Nur-Sultan is relatively calm; the downtown traffic was relatively heavy, and public transportation continued to operate.

According to the Khabar-24 TV channel, capital residents unite into civilian patrols in order to assist the police in maintaining public order and guarding important state facilities. There are currently several hundred people in these patrols.

The situation is stabilizing in the city of Taldykorgan - the administrative center of the Almaty Region - where armed people attempted to capture a detention facility Friday. All social facilities have been put under reinforced security; public transportation has been suspended. Major shopping malls and pharmacies are closed.

The situation in the city of Semey, East Kazakhstan Region, is also under control. According to the local media, the akim (mayor) of the region arrived at the city and met with the leaders of major companies and banks.

The utilities of the city of Shymkent, where over 60 people reportedly died earlier, began to remove the aftermath of the riots. Local authorities state that the situation is stabilizing, with no mass gathering or looting cases registered Friday.

Over 100 rioters were reportedly detained in Atyrau. According to the authorities, 35 police officers were injured. The city’s central square is empty now, and the residents removed the tents previously deployed there.

Checkpoints have been deployed and strategic facilities’ security has been reinforced in the Atyrau Region; however, the situation is reportedly generally stable: marketplaces and public transportations are operating.

Curfew has been prolonged in the city of Taraz, Jambyl Region; it is now in effect between 19:00 and 07:00, with red threat level declared in the rest of the region.

Security measures have also been reinforced in the Kyzylorda Region, although the situation there is normal, Khabar-24 reported. The city is currently calculating damages inflicted by the riots.

Under peacekeepers’ protection

According to the Defense Ministry of Russia, the CSTO peacekeeping forces already perform their duties on protection of critical objects, including airstrips and social infrastructure.

A group of 70 Il-76 and An-124 planes is transporting forces to Kazakhstan around the clock. On Friday, Russian Aerospace Forces delivered a peacekeeping contingent from Kyrgyzstan, accompanied by military vehicles.

Chinese authorities also stated their readiness to assist Kazakhstan in upholding the public order. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Beijing is ready to "continue the close cooperation" with Kazakhstan in order to "maintain peace in the border regions" together.

Contacts continue

The situation is Kazakhstan remains the main topic of discussion between the leaders of the neighboring regional states.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with the leaders of Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Tajikistan and Armenia; he also "had multiple phone calls with President of Kazakhstan Tokayev," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. According to the spokesman, "the discussion covered the situation in Kazakhstan and joint actions within the CSTO mandate for fighting international terrorism and for maintenance of order and security of the people of Kazakhstan."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko discussed the situation in the country with ex-president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The West continues to call on all sides in Kazakhstan to exercise restraint. In particular, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called to make the situation "transition to a peaceful track."

NATO Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in the republic Friday and stated the importance of cessation of violence and adherence to democratic freedoms, including the right for peaceful protests.

The UN called the "murder of the protesters" in Kazakhstan unacceptable and also called to respect human rights. The organization claimed that the use of force must be proportional.