ALMATY, January 13. /TASS/. The withdrawal of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) peacekeeping contingent from Kazakhstan began not early but when the local authorities decided that the situation stabilized, CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas said at a ceremony of wrapping up the bloc’s peacekeeping operation in the Central Asian republic held in Almaty on Thursday.
"It is obvious that it [the commencement of the peacekeepers’ pullout] was not early. The situation here in Almaty has been placed under the control of the law-enforcement personnel and that is why the task has been fulfilled," the post-Soviet security bloc’s chief stressed.
It is up to the receiving country to decide when the peacekeepers are needed or not, Zas said.
"A conclusion was made that the situation had stabilized and the local forces are sufficient," the CSTO chief said.
The withdrawal of the CSTO peacekeeping contingent from Kazakhstan is beginning on Thursday, the organization’s head said.
"The withdrawal of the forces is beginning today, stage by stage and in a calm manner, within ten days or perhaps earlier and will depend on weather. We will return all the peacekeepers home," Zas assured.
CSTO peacekeeping operation
In compliance with a decision by the CSTO Collective Security Council made on January 6, 2022, the organization’s collective peacekeeping forces were sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period to stabilize and normalize the situation in the Central Asian republic. The peacekeeping contingent comprised units of the armed forces of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The Russian peacekeepers in Kazakhstan were assigned the task of protecting key strategic facilities in Almaty. On January 13, the CSTO began a gradual withdrawal of its collective peacekeeping forces from Kazakhstan that will last several days.
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 thousands of people injured, with fatalities also being reported. Subsequently, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization requesting assistance from the Russia-led bloc. As a result, peacekeepers were deployed to Kazakhstan. The country declared a state of emergency from January 5.
Law and order, Kazakh authorities affirm, was restored to all of the country’s regions.