Russian-led troops to leave Kazakhstan in two days

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Jan. 11 (UPI) — Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said Tuesday that Russian-led troops will begin leaving in two days after initially being sent to help crack down on protests in that country.

Tokayev told the country’s parliament the withdrawal of the Russian-led military alliance would not take longer than 10 days.

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With the country’s government back in control, Tokayev said the troops’ peacekeeping mission “has been successfully completed.” He said all regions of the country are now stable.

Tokayev originally requested that troops be deployed last week, under the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The treaty organization is a military alliance in Eurasia made up of six former Soviet member states. Deployed troops included units from Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as well as Russia.

This comes a day after Tokayev called protestors in his country “terrorists” and accused them of attempting to overthrow the government. Tokayev declared a national day of mourning on Monday in honor of dozens of people killed during the unrest.

At least 164 people have died and thousands more have been arrested after protesting the country’s leadership after a rise in gas prices.

Tokayev said the foreign troops allowed his security forces in the capital Nur-Sultan to head to other regions in the country to quell the unrest and that the outside forces were not involved in direct clashes with Kazakh citizens.

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The president also promised reforms on Tuesday to the country’s government and economic problems, major causes of the protests.

Tokayev, who has been in office on an interim basis since 2019, also announced his picks on Tuesday for a new government, including a new prime minister.