Putin discusses Kazakhstan situation with CSTO leaders

Kazakhstan is rocked by days of deadly protests sparked by fuel price hike.

Putin discusses Kazakhstan situation with CSTO leaders

Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed recent developments in Kazakhstan in phone talks with leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Kremlin said on Friday.

"Yesterday and today, President Putin held a number of telephone conversations with the leaders of CSTO member states. Talks were held with President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, as well as with the prime minister of Armenia (Nikol Pashinyan)," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

He said Putin has also spoken to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev many times in recent days.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has also been reporting to Putin on the progress of the transfer of CSTO peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan, and the fulfillment of the assigned tasks, the spokesman added.

Kazakhstan has been rocked by days of deadly protests sparked by a fuel price hike.

Demonstrations that started in the oil-rich Mangystau region on Jan. 2 spread rapidly to other parts of the country, including the commercial hub and former capital Almaty, where thousands took to the streets.

Tokayev initially declared a state of emergency in Almaty and Mangystau from Jan. 5-19, before expanding it nationwide.

His Cabinet also resigned earlier this week, while the government has introduced price controls on liquified petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, and basic food products for 180 days.

Tokayev has declared that the government has been able to restore order in the country.

In a statement, he blamed foreign-trained “terrorists” for the violence and said security forces have been ordered “to fire without warning to kill the terrorists.”

On the deployment of peacekeeping troops from the CSTO, he said the forces will be in Kazakhstan for “a limited time to fulfill the function of protecting and guarding strategic places.”

The CSTO is a military alliance of six former Soviet republics and Russia.

Hüseyin Demir