The CSTO peacekeeping force will be stationed in Kazakhstan on a strictly temporary basis and will leave the country as soon as the situation stabilizes at the first request of the Kazakh side, Trend reports citing the statement of Kazakh Foreign Ministry. The ministry said that Kazakhstan was compelled to seek help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which has deployed a peacekeeping force totaling approximately 2,500 personnel to assist in the stabilization of the situation. “The mandate of the peacekeepers includes the guarding of strategic facilities and providing cover-up for Kazakhstan’s forces. It is important to note that the main combat operations against terrorist groups are conducted by the law enforcement agencies and armed forces of Kazakhstan,” the statement said. Kazakhstan’s government announced late Jan. 4 that it was restoring some price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, after the rare protests reached Almaty following a sharp rise in the price of the fuel at the start of the year.
Many Kazakhs have converted their cars to run on LPG, which is far cheaper than gasoline as a vehicle fuel in Kazakhstan because of price caps. But the government argued that the low price was unsustainable and lifted the caps on Jan. 1. After the price of the fuel spiked, big demonstrations erupted on Jan. 2 in certain parts of the country. Public protests are illegal in the country unless their organizers file a notice in advance. Following the development of the situation, the government declared a state of emergency all over the country. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the government initiated anti-terrorist operations to deal with the ongoing riots. Also, the divisions of the united peacekeeping contingent of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) arrived in Kazakhstan to assist in restoring order and help protect strategic objects of the country.