Russia withdraws troops from Almaty – after bloody unrest

Calm is slowly returning: in Kazakhstan, the protests were bloodily suppressed by the authoritarian regime. The Russian soldiers are now to gradually leave the country, and the airport in Almaty is reopening.

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After the serious unrest in the authoritarian Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, the authorities have opened the airport in the city of Almaty, which was closed a week ago, to passenger traffic.

National and international flights are again possible daily between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (3 a.m. CET and 4 p.m. CET), the aviation authority in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan announced on Thursday. Air traffic was stopped last week after violent protests and the siege by radical groups.

The state of emergency continued to apply in Almaty. It was unclear when foreigners would be allowed to enter again. The Kazakh government had closed the borders of the ex-Soviet republic because of the tense situation in the country. The authorities restored control of the airport last week and used it to relocate military forces from Russia and other former Soviet republics.

Putin: Gradual withdrawal of troops

The Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization had carried out such a military operation at the request of a government for the first time ever. The soldiers, also from Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, were supposed to help restore constitutional order and protect state institutions from extremist groups. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev thanked Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin for the quick intervention. For this Thursday he announced the beginning of the gradual withdrawal of troops.

In the oil and gas-rich ex-Soviet republic on the border with China, which has been internationally praised for its stability for many years, there were protests at the beginning of the month against a doubling of the price of gas, which is used as fuel for cars. The demonstrations turned into brute force after a few days. Head of state Tokayev spoke of an attack by “terrorist gangs”. He had given the order to shoot. There were more than 100 dead, more than 10,000 arrested and hundreds injured. According to the leadership of the ninth largest country in the world, the situation is stabilizing.

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