Lukashenko: Offering Kazakhstan as 'gift' to NATO, US won't happen
As protests in Kazakhstan brew, Lukashenko reveals that extremists have seized airports in the country to block the deployment of Russian troops to contain protests.
Today, Thursday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko revealed that extremists seized airports in Almaty and Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan.
The extremists, according to Lukashenko, seized the airports to prevent the deployment of the Collective Security Treaty Organization's forces. The CSTO is a post-Soviet military alliance that includes Russia.
"They set on fire everything they could, they seized the airport and did this on purpose. Both in Almaty and Nur-Sultan there was an attempt to seize the airport. This was a deliberate act," Lukashenko said, according to the BelTA news agency. "That’s because they understood that military forces would be deployed there, first of all of Russia and [other] CSTO states."
The Belarusian President also mentioned that consultations were held the entire night in Kazakhstan while also monitoring the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Kazakhstan cannot be abandoned as a gift like Ukraine to the US and NATO," Lukashenko said. He went on to say that although we are aware of the events that are happening in Kazakhstan, and what is more concerning to Belarus is that "everything was planned in advance."
Today, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the events in Kazakhstan are a foreign attempt to destabilize the country by force.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia affirmed its adherence to the obligations of the allies within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and supported the adoption of urgent measures regarding the rapid deterioration of the internal political situation and the escalation of violence in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan appeals to CSTO for help
Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said he had appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help in quelling protests across the country that he said were led by "terrorist gangs".
"Today I appealed to the heads of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat," Tokayev said on state television early Thursday.
"In fact, this is no longer a threat," he added. "It is undermining the integrity of the state."
Tokayev stressed that “terrorist groups which received extensive training abroad" are "currently rampaging" across the country.
"They are seizing buildings and infrastructure and, most importantly, are seizing the premises where small arms are located," he said.
Kazakhstan's President added that they had also seized five planes at the airport in the country's biggest city Almaty.
"There's currently a battle ongoing near Almaty with the air forces of the defense ministry, a stubborn battle," Tokayev stated.
The original cause of the protests was a spike in hydrocarbon-rich LPG prices in Mangystau. A government initiative to lower rates was unsuccessful in calming protesters.
According to state agency Khabar, most protesters evacuated the main city center where they protested by Wednesday.
Mangystau relies on relatively inexpensive LPG for car fuel, and price increases would have impacted food costs, which have sharply risen since the pandemic began.
In an effort to thwart protests following the hike in oil prices, the Kazakhstani President dismissed the country's cabinet on Wednesday.
Then Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed into law a decree declaring a state of emergency in the west of the country and Almaty, the country's largest city, and the western province of Mangystau in light of demonstrations over surging gas prices.
Since then, violent confrontations have erupted between security forces and protesters that were infiltrated by terrorist gangs and rioters seeking the destabilization of the country.