Last CSTO peacekeepers depart from Kazakhstan

Last CSTO peacekeepers depart from Kazakhstan

The last units of the Russian peacekeepers led by Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov have departed from Kazakhstan for Moscow to wrap up the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) peacekeeping mission in the Central Asian country, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Wednesday.

"Four Russian military transport planes with the peacekeepers aboard have departed from Nur-Sultan and Almaty airports of the Republic of Kazakhstan. These four planes of the Russian Defense Ministry will bring home the last units of the peacekeepers and the command of the peacekeeping contingent led by Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov," the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, the peacekeeping contingents of Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan left Kazakhstan.

As the Russian Defense Ministry reported, Il-76 and An-124 military transport planes have carried out over 100 flights from Almaty to bring home the peacekeepers to the airfields of Chkalovsky near Moscow, Ivanovo in central Russia, Ulyanovsk in the Volga area, Yerevan, Dushanbe and Minsk.

Protests erupted in several Kazakh cities on January 2, escalating into mass riots with government buildings getting ransacked in several cities a few days later. They were accompanied by attacks on the police, military and governance bodies in many cities of the country, primarily, in Almaty. Thousands of people were injured while the exact number of those killed in the mass riots is unknown yet.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) sent peacekeepers to the Central Asian country after Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to the Russia-led security bloc for assistance. Law and order, Kazakh authorities affirm, was restored to all of the country’s regions.