CSTO Security Council meeting: threat to Kazakhstan or the CSTO?
Decision to send CSTO peacekeepers to Kazakhstan was made taking into account the threat to the sovereignty of this country, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at an extraordinary session of the Collective Security Council.
The President of Kazakhstan once again stressed that a coup d’etat was being prepared in the country and the President of Russia assessed the events that unfolded in this country since the beginning of the year as an “act of aggression” to which it was necessary to react urgently.
On January 10, leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization took part in an online meeting which focused primarily on the settlement of the situation in Kazakhstan.
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The Collective Security Treaty Organization is a military bloc operating under the auspices of Russia. Armenia is a member of the CSTO; it also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In the autumn of 2021, Armenia took over the chairmanship of the organization and it was Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who announced the dispatch of a military contingent to Kazakhstan on the night of January 6 on his Facebook page.
The decision was made after the president of Kazakhstan appealed to the organization for assistance. A wave of mass protests in Kazakhstan began in early January due to the rise in prices for liquefied gas. However, even after the authorities agreed to lower the price and have the government resign, the situation did not calm down.
According to the most recent data, during the clashes in Kazakhstan, 164 people were killed, 2,265 were wounded, 719 were hospitalized and 83 are currently in a critical condition. The police detained approximately 8,00ճ people, and seized 116 weapons.
Armenian peacekeepers will not disperse protesters
There are 100 Armenian servicemen among the peacekeepers sent to Kazakhstan. The decision of the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan to send them to Kazakhstan caused a negative reaction in the society and sharp criticism in expert circles.
The CSTO sent peacekeepers to Kazakhstan, but did not respond to Armenia’s calls when Azerbaijani Armed Forces occupied its sovereign territory in May 2021. Armenia officially applied to the CSTO for help, but did not receive a positive response.
The prime minister was forced to clarify why, despite this, he decided to send Armenian peacekeepers to Kazakhstan:
“Given the rapid development of the situation – threats to the security, stability and sovereignty of Kazakhstan, it was decided by consensus to temporarily send peacekeepers to the country to protect its strategic facilities”.
It has also been reported that the Armenian military will not participate in the dispersal of the protests.
Nikol Pashinyan considers the situation in Kazakhstan alarming due to “the involvement of international terrorist groups”.
During the meeting of the Council, the Prime Minister stressed that not so long ago, Armenia faced the presence of foreign mercenaries in the region, recalling their transfer to Nagorno-Karabakh in the fall of 2020 during the 44-day war.
Pashinyan believes that the efforts of the CSTO will help restore normal life in Kazakhstan as soon as possible, and the military bloc itself will be able to establish and improve response mechanisms in case of excesses. According to Pashinyan, Yerevan pays special attention to this issue.
“The mechanism for dispatching peacekeepers is working”
CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas said that this is the bloc’s first attempt to send military aid to one of its member states, and it showed that the mechanism works.
According to Zas, the peacekeepers have been deployed to Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Almaty region and the deployment of troops has already been completed. The actions of the peacekeepers are coordinated by a task force. Currently, there are no problems requiring decisions at the level of the leaders of the CSTO member states.
On January 11, Stanislav Zas himself will go to Kazakhstan to assess the situation on the spot.
The Russian President also stressed that the CSTO, for the first time, “has shown its potential in practice, its ability to act quickly, decisively and effectively”. According to Putin, the latest actions of the CSTO have shown that the work carried out to create a common security system has yielded results.
As Putin stated, the attack on Kazakhstan was an “act of aggression” to which an urgent response was needed:
“The measures taken by the CSTO have clearly shown that we will not allow the situation to be de-stabilised at home and will not allow the scenario of the so-called color revolutions to be realized”.
The Russian president assured that the peacekeeping contingent will be withdrawn from Kazakhstan immediately after fulfilling its functions.
“Evidence of the involvement of terrorists will be presented”
During the videoconference, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also said that the large-scale anti-terrorist operation in Kazakhstan would be completed in the near future, in parallel with the CSTO mission.
He stated that terrorists and “foreign mercenaries” were involved in the unrest in the country. According to him, the evidence will be presented to the international community in the near future:
“It is no coincidence that terrorists attacked morgues at night and stole the bodies of their accomplices. They also took bodies from the battlefield. This is the practice of international terrorists of known origin. This is how they cover their tracks”.
According to Tokayev, all events that have taken place since the beginning of the year pursued one goal – to carry out a coup, and the investigation will show for how long this operation was being prepared.