A Russia-led security alliance of ex-Soviet states will send peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan, Armenia’s prime minister said on Thursday, after the Kazakh president appealed for their help in quelling violent and deadly protests.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Facebook that an unspecified number of peacekeepers would go to Kazakhstan for a limited period to stabilise the situation after state buildings were torched and the Almaty international airport was seized.
Eight police and national guard troops were killed in the unrest on Tuesday and Wednesday, Russia’s state-owned Sputnik agency quoted the Kazakh interior ministry as saying on Wednesday. Russian news agencies, quoting Kazakh media, later said two soldiers had also been killed in what they described as an anti-terrorist operation at Almaty airport.
Initially sparked by anger at a fuel price rise, the protests have quickly spread to take in wider opposition to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who retained significant power despite quitting in 2019 after a nearly three-decade rule.