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Moscow calls unrest in Kazakhstan an ‘externally incited’ insurrection by ‘trained and organized armed formations’

Russian officials view this week’s protests in Kazakhstan as an “externally incited” attempt to undermine the security and integrity of the state, diplomats in Moscow announced in a statement published on the Foreign Ministry’s website on Thursday.

The ministry also confirmed Russia’s support for the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s decision to deploy peacekeepers to Kazakhstan in accordance with the military alliance’s obligations between member states Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

“We view the recent events in this friendly nation as an externally incited attempt to undermine the security and integrity of the [Kazakhstani] state by means of force, using trained and organized armed formations,” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

The ministry also stated that Russia will continue consultations with its CSTO allies to develop “further effective steps” to assist Kazakhstani law enforcement in “counterterrorist operations” and to ensure security in the country.

Protests and riots erupted in Kazakhstan on January 2 in response to suddenly doubled fuel costs after the government abandoned fixed prices. The unrest began in western Kazakhstan and quickly spread across the country.

Characterizing the protesters and rioters as “foreign trained terrorists,” Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asked the CSTO for emergency military assistance on Wednesday. The alliance soon agreed to send a peacekeeping contingent that will reportedly help guard military infrastructure and other facilities, including the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan. Russia has already deployed airborne troops.

On Wednesday, hours before Tokayev’s appeal to the CSTO, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Kazakhstan’s protests are a domestic issue. “We are confident that our Kazakhstani friends can resolve their internal problems on their own,” he told reporters.

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