Russia has sent airborne troops to Kazakhstan as part of "the peacekeeping force" from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), reports Interfax, citing the CSTO statement.
"The main tasks of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces will be the protection of important state and military facilities, assisting the law enforcement forces of Kazakhstan in stabilizing the situation and bringing it back to the legal plane," the CSTO said.
It is noted that the "peacekeepers" have already begun to perform their tasks.
In addition to Russia, other members of the CSTO – Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – have sent their troops to Kazakhstan amid mass protests in the country.
The protests erupted after a two-fold increase in the price of gas in the oil and gas-producing Mangystau region in western Kazakhstan. They quickly turned into calls for a change of power and the resignation of the current government.
On Wednesday morning, Kazakhstan's government resigned, but the protests continued, despite the imposed state of emergency, curfew and after the army was sent to reinforce the security forces fighting the protesters with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said he took over the post of the head of the Security Council.
Rallies continue today in different cities of Kazakhstan. On January 4, they escalated into mass clashes with the police, and on January 5, the most violent confrontations took place – people seized administrative buildings and clashed with the military and police.
Amid clashes between people and security forces, Tokayev turned to the CSTO for "help", and the organization decided to send its troops to the country.
There is no exact information about the victims and wounded on both sides. Only in the city of Almaty, where the so-called "anti-terrorist operation" is underway, dozens of killed have been reported. According to the Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs, at least 8 servicemen of the security forces were killed and more than 300 were injured.