D.His deployment of foreign troops to Kazakhstan by the Russian-led military alliance has raised fears that the situation in the former Soviet republic could escalate further. “To stabilize the situation in the country and bring it back to normalcy,” the coalition said, adding that the soldiers should be suspended for a period of time. However, the Kazakh government sought the aid after its own troops used gun violence against protesters critical of the government. The United States and the European Union have called on all sides to calm down and resolve the conflict peacefully.
The Moscow-led military coalition had earlier announced it would send “peacekeeping forces” to unrest-stricken Kazakhstan. The current head of Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan (CSTO) said on Facebook on Thursday that the deployment of troops “for a period of time” was intended to “stabilize and normalize” the situation in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s President Qasim-Shomart Tokayev has previously called on the coalition to help. The alliance includes six former Soviet powers, including Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
He said the riots that erupted over the weekend were “not a threat, but an undermining of the unity of the state.” In a televised speech he declared “maximum hardship” against “those who break the law.” He extended the state of emergency already in place in Almaty and the capital, Noor-Sultan, due to mass protests across the country.
At least eight police officers and soldiers have already been killed, according to Kazakh officials. Several Kazakh telegram channels released videos on Thursday night that allegedly showed military action against protesters in the city of Almaty’s economic capital. Shot noise is heard in the recordings and people are screaming.
Kazakh television station Khabar announced that security forces would crack down on protesters on the morning of the 24th. “The counter-terrorism operation to restore order in Almaty will continue,” it said. The Russian state-run Ria Novosti announced that military vehicles were collecting bodies in the city. Banks are also not working at the moment.
Internet is disabled again
The information situation in Kazakhstan has been exacerbated by repeated Internet blockades. The network was down for several hours on Wednesday – making new encounters even more difficult. Many television stations have stopped operating. On Thursday night, the Russian state-run Toss reported that the websites of officials, police and airports could not be accessed again. Websites such as the state news agency Kazinform and other media outlets are also unavailable from Germany.
According to Toss, there was a complete internet failure in the metropolitan area of Almaty, which disabled social networks as a central coordinating tool for protesters. Even the mobile network in the economic metropolis was down.
The former Soviet republic ranks 155th out of 180 countries in the list of press freedom of journalists without borders. “Over the past few years, the Kazakh government has silenced almost all opposition media with vandalism and targeted attacks on journalists,” the organisation’s website said. “There are no more important TV channels, and there are no more news programs on the radio, but mainly music and government-mandated news. Defamation is a criminal offense and criticism of the government. Many journalists censor themselves.
“We hope the situation will improve soon.”
Leonid Kalashnikov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on the Affairs of the former Soviet Republic, had already signaled his support. He told the Russian news agency Interfax that Russia was committed to helping, for which an alliance had been formed. The alliance includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called for a peaceful settlement. Problems “must be resolved within the framework of constitutional and legal provisions and through dialogue, not through unrest in the streets”. “We hope the situation will return to normal soon,” it said.
Experts saw Tokaye’s cry for help as a sign that he could no longer trust his army. As a result of the protests, he had already fired the government on Wednesday and threatened to take action against the protesters.
Unprecedented protests in Kazakhstan have led to dissatisfaction with the high price of liquefied petroleum gas at gas stations. Many Kazakh people use this gas because it is cheaper than petrol. Many protesters expressed their dissatisfaction with the government and blamed them for their poor living conditions as daily life became more expensive due to high inflation.
The country, with a population of more than 18 million, borders Russia and China. It is full of oil and gas reserves. The Republic is one of the largest producers of uranium in the world. Nevertheless, Kazakhstan is struggling with mismanagement and poverty.
The United States urges a peaceful settlement of the conflict
Several countries, including the United States and the European Union, have called for a peaceful solution. “We urge all Kazakh people to respect and protect constitutional institutions, human rights and freedom of the press, including the restoration of Internet access,” said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Nate Price.
The United States has urged all parties to find a peaceful solution to the emergency, Price said. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has previously denied Russia’s allegations that the United States played a role in the fighting in Kazakhstan. Such claims are “completely false and part of the Russian script for misinformation,” he said. Like the European Union and the federal government, the United States has called for “restraint” on all sides.
The European Union’s External Affairs Service has also expressed concern over the ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan and called on the government to comply with international obligations and the fundamental right to peaceful struggle.
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