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Kazakhstan Unrest: Blinken Questions Russian Troop Deployment

Russian officials say the 2,500 strong force will only remain in Kazakhstan temporarily

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has questioned Kazakhstan’s decision to seek Russian military aid to deal with an ongoing wave of violent unrest.

Dozens of people have been killed in protests triggered by a rise in fuel prices, but Mr Blinken said the US believes that the Kazakh government can deal with the protests itself.

He told reporters that it was unclear why the deployment was happening.

The first of about 2,500 Russian-led troops have arrived in Kazakhstan.

Officials in Moscow have emphasised that the deployment of its forces under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Eurasian military alliance of five former Soviet republics and Russia, is temporary.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made the request for assistance after protesters stormed the mayor’s office in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, and overran the city’s airport.

Meanwhile, the US has authorised the departure of some non-essential staff from its consulate in Almaty amid safety concerns over the ongoing protests.

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