Kazakhstan turmoil killed 225, wounded 4,500: prosecutor's office
According to the CSTO chief, the peacekeeping forces had no hand in the injuries that came after 2 weeks of violent protests in Kazakhstan.
The wave of riot-turned demonstrations that took place in Kazakhstan in early January has led to the death of 225 people and the injury of thousands of others, according to the head of the Kazakh criminal prosecution service at the Prosecutor General's office.
"Bodies of 225 deceased people were brought to morgues… There were 19 police and service personnel among them," Serik Shalabayev told a news conference on Saturday.
According to the official, authorities identified 4,578 people as victims of the two-week-long violent unrest. He also said this figure included 4,353 wounded people, 3,393 of which were security service personnel.
Riots started in Kazakhstan in early January, when thousands of demonstrators took to the street to protest against the surging gas prices in the Central Asian nation. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev then declared a state of emergency in the west of the country and Almaty.
The protests shortly took a violent turn, and President Tokayev appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help in quelling protests across the country, which he said were led by "terrorist gangs."
No confrontations between CSTO and locals
The CSTO peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan did not have any confrontations with local citizens, and they were acting within their legal framework, CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas told Belarusian broadcaster Belarus 1 during an interview that aired on Saturday.
"Throughout this mission, there was not a single confrontation between peacekeepers and local residents," Zas assured.
"Everyone treated peacekeepers with understanding and tried to help," he added, highlighting that the peacekeeping forces will have completely withdrawn by January 19.
Less than a week after the protests began, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the mission of the Russian-led peacekeeping troops in Kazakhstan would soon come to an end.
Three days after President Putin's announcement, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the first units of the Russian landing forces within the CSTO forces left Alma-Ata airport to their point of permanent deployment.