Russia sends more troops to Kazakhstan

Russia is sending 75 aircraft with "peacekeepers" of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to Kazakhstan, reports RIA Novosti.

Russian military transport aircraft are flying from airfields in the Moscow, Ivanovo and Ulyanovsk regions, reports Ukrainska Pravda.

"Units of the Airborne Forces from the Russian contingent of the CSTO peacekeeping forces are at the loading airfields Chkalovsky, Ivanovo-Severny, Ulyanovsk-Vostochny,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"Units from the Russian peacekeeping contingent, who had previously arrived on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, began to perform their tasks and ensure the arrival and deployment of the main forces of the peacekeeping contingent," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The first Russian military units arrived in Kazakhstan on the morning of January 6.

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin announced that Belarus is also sending its military to Kazakhstan as part of CSTO "peacekeeping" forces.

Other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, have also promised to send their troops.

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.

According to Tokayev, the Kazakh authorities will be assisted in tackling crisis by the peacekeepers from Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), who will provide "cover and support". Tokayev thanked the leaders of the CSTO member countries for quickly providing assistance through the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and separately Russian President Vladimir Putin, who "responded in a friendly, warm way" to the request for help.

  Kazakhstan, Tokayev, Russia