YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed hope that troops sent by Russia, Armenia and other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will help Kazakhstan end domestic unrest as he chaired a virtual summit of the Russian-led alliance on Monday, January 10.
“We hope that the efforts within the framework of the CSTO aimed at assisting friendly Kazakhstan will help restore the country normal life in the shortest possible time,” Pashinyan told the emergency video conference attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The purposefulness of our actions towards the earliest possible stabilization of the situation and the return of the country to normal life is obvious,” he said. ”This is a critical moment for ensuring basic living conditions for citizens and the security of strategically important facilities.”
Cities throughout Kazakhstan have been struck by protests that initially erupted in the western region of Mangystau on January 2 over the doubling in the price of subsidized liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Kazakh President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev asked the CSTO for urgent intervention on January 5 as mobs stormed government buildings and looted businesses in his country largest city, Almaty.
The military bloc responded by sending more than 2,000 mostly Russian peacekeeping troops. They are understood to have been deployed in and around Almaty.
Speaking at the CSTO summit, Tokayev said calmly has returned to Kazakhstan after days of violence described by him as “terrorist aggression” and “attempted a coup d’etat.”