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Putin meets with other leaders who have troops in Kazakhstan

Russian troops go to the city of Almatí. / afp

The authorities admit that the clashes have already caused 164 deaths and 2,000 wounded, in addition to 6,000 arrests.

A telematic meeting of the heads of state of the six countries that make up the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB in its acronym in Russian), Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, will take place this Monday. The main objective is to discuss the measures to be adopted in the future to try to stabilize the situation in Kazakhstan, where the revolt has decreased somewhat in intensity, but has not yet been quelled.

This was stated on Sunday by the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinián, president of the ODKB, the group of countries that agreed last week to send its troops to Kazakhstan to help suppress the protests at the request of the Kazakh authorities. The meeting is held at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who on Saturday proposed the idea to his Kazakh counterpart, Kasim-Zhomart Tokáyev.

Deputies of the Duma (Lower House of the Russian Parliament) suggest that the contingent of troops currently deployed in Kazakhstan could stay there permanently to “reinforce the security” of the Central Asian country. The co-president of the Fair Russia party, Sergei Mironov, has expressly requested it, according to information released by the Russian agency Interfax.

“The ODKB forces could become the basis for the formation in Kazakhstan of a system to combat extremism, including the protection of the population of Russian origin,” said Mironov. In his opinion, “the permanent presence of the ODKB military would guarantee peace and tranquility for years to come.”

According to the Kazakh channel Jabar-24, the disorders that broke out in the country on January 2 have already caused 164 deaths, about 2,000 injured and around 6,000 arrests. Most of those figures are for Almatí, Kazakhstan’s main economic center and the epicenter of the unrest. The revolt, according to the municipal authorities of Almatí, tends to subside although clashes with the forces of order and sporadic shootings continue to take place.

Former head of the Kazakh secret services arrested for

More dismissals

Meanwhile, Tokayev dismissed two other vice presidents of the Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB) on Sunday, Marat Osipov and Daulet Ergozhin. Tomorrow, according to sources in the Kazakh Presidency, the head of state will undertake the appointments in the new government, whose previous composition was dismissed last week. On Saturday, the former head of the KNB, Karim Masimov, was also fired and arrested for “high treason.”

The appearance on the Kazakh channel Jabar-24 of images with the bruised face of Vikram Ruzajúnov, a Kyrgyz pianist detained by the Kazakh police for alleged disorders, has caused enormous outrage in Kyrgyzstan, the neighboring country with which Kazakhstan borders. The Kyrgyz authorities presented a protest note, summoned the Kazakh ambassador and a group of activists mounted a picket in front of the Kazakh embassy in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital.

The head of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, Kamchibek Tashiev, attended the small rally, denying that Ruzajúnov is a “terrorist”, as they maintain in the neighboring country. “He is a decent person, a musician,” he assured. In his words, “he did not even participate in the demonstrations. The information on the television channels of Kazakhstan is incorrect, our neighbors must change their rhetoric.

Refusal of the order to shoot

The bloody incidents in the Central Asian republic continued to draw attention for another day. While Pope Francis called for the opening of a “dialogue” to solve the crisis, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, showed his rejection of the order of the Government of Kazakhstan to shoot to kill against the protesters.

“It is something that I absolutely reject. The order to shoot to kill, as it is raised, is wrong and must be rescinded, “said the head of White House diplomacy. “We have been clear that we expect the Kazakh government to treat protesters in a way that respects their rights, while at the same time moving away from violence,” Blinken added.

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