Dispatched in early January to support the government in the face of unprecedented riots, the Russian-led forces launched their withdrawal from Kazakhstan on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced.
A solemn ceremony bringing together the soldiers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSC), a military alliance led by Moscow, who took part in the operation, took place on this occasion in the morning in Almaty, the main Kazakh city, according to a correspondent.
A withdrawal which must be completed in ten days
“The peacekeeping operation is over (…), the tasks have been fulfilled,” said Russian General Andrei Serdyukov, commander of the CSTO contingent comprising 2,030 Russian and Belarusian troops, on this occasion. , Armenian, Tajik and Kyrgyz, who was sent to this former Soviet republic in Central Asia on January 6.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, these troops have started “to prepare military and technical equipment for loading into Russian air force aircraft for return to their permanent base.” The withdrawal must be completed in ten days, according to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the CSTO.
Dozens of deaths
Kazakhstan was rocked last week by violence never seen since its independence in 1991. It left dozens dead and hundreds injured, prompted the deployment of the peacekeeping contingent led by Russia and brought to the United States. arrest of at least 12,000 people.
The most serious violence took place in Almaty with exchanges of fire, the looting of shops and the burning of the town hall and the presidential residence. The riots were qualified as a “terrorist” aggression by the authorities, who however did not provide concrete evidence to this effect. They erupted after demonstrations against rising fuel prices, against a backdrop of declining living standards and endemic corruption in this ex-Soviet state.