Kazakhstan’s ex-security chief arrested as government cracks down on unrest

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Kazakhstan‘s erstwhile quality main has been arrested connected suspicion of treason, the authorities information bureau said connected Saturday, arsenic the erstwhile Soviet republic cracks down connected a question of unrest and starts to delegate blame.

The detention of Karim Massimov was announced by the National Security Committee which helium headed until helium was fired by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev connected Wednesday aft convulsive protests swept crossed the Central Asian nation.

Tokayev’s bureau said helium had told Russian President Vladimir Putin successful a telephone telephone that the concern was stabilizing.

“At the aforesaid time, hotbeds of violent attacks persist. Therefore, the combat against coercion volition proceed with afloat determination,” it quoted him arsenic saying.

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The Kremlin said Putin backed Tokayev’s thought to convene a video telephone of leaders from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), nether whose umbrella Russia and 4 different erstwhile Soviet republics person sent troops into Kazakhstan to assistance reconstruct order. It was not wide erstwhile this would instrumentality place.

Dozens of radical person been killed, thousands person been detained and nationalist buildings crossed Kazakhstan person been torched implicit the past week successful the worst unit experienced successful the lipid and uranium shaper since it became autarkic successful the aboriginal 1990s arsenic the Soviet Union collapsed.

 'Protesters killed successful  Kazakhstan information    crackdown arsenic  unit   escalates' 1:47 Protesters killed successful Kazakhstan information crackdown arsenic unit escalates

Protesters killed successful Kazakhstan information crackdown arsenic unit escalates

Tokayev has ordered his troops to sprout to termination to extremity what helium has called attacks by bandits and terrorists.

He said connected Friday the authorities had “slept through” instigators’ preparations to motorboat attacks connected the biggest city, Almaty, and crossed the country. Massimov’s apprehension indicated moves were nether mode against those deemed responsible.

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Apart from heading the quality bureau that replaced the Soviet-era KGB, Massimov was doubly premier curate and worked intimately with erstwhile President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s ruler for 3 decades until helium turned implicit the presidency to Tokayev successful 2019.

There were nary details of the treason allegations. The information work said different officials were besides detained, but did not sanction them.

On Friday, a pro-government person said connected tv helium had accusation that the information forces had been ordered to wantonness Almaty airdrome truthful protesters could instrumentality it over. He said they had near a information gathering successful the metropolis undefended, enabling radical to prehend weapons.

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It was not instantly imaginable to verify this account. The airdrome remains closed but is present nether the power of Kazakh information unit and Russian troops, according to Russia’s defence ministry.

 President Tokayev gives shoot-to-kill orders amid protests' 2:38 Kazakhstan crisis: President Tokayev gives shoot-to-kill orders amid protests

Kazakhstan crisis: President Tokayev gives shoot-to-kill orders amid protests

Sporadic gunshots

The demonstrations began arsenic a effect to a substance terms hike but swelled into a wide question against Tokayev’s Russian-backed authorities and 81-year-old Nazarbayev.

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Tokayev removed Nazarbayev connected Wednesday arsenic caput of the country’s Security Council, a relation successful which helium had continued to wield important influence. Interfax quality bureau reported connected Saturday that the council’s lawman caput had besides been fired.

In Almaty, wherever information forces person reclaimed power of the streets since Friday, a Reuters newsman said occasional gunshots were heard connected Saturday.

Some businesses began to reopen successful the metropolis of astir 2 cardinal radical arsenic radical ventured retired to bargain supplies, and queues formed astatine petrol stations.

Security forces patrolled the streets. The lawman politician was quoted by Russia’s RIA quality bureau arsenic saying operations to purge the metropolis of “terrorists and bandit groups” were inactive nether mode and citizens were advised to enactment astatine home.

In the superior Nur-Sultan, Reuters filmed constabulary stopping drivers astatine a checkpoint with a equipped soldiers nearby.

 Violence erupts arsenic  Russian paratroopers brought successful  to quell uprising' 3:39 Kazakhstan protests: Violence erupts arsenic Russian paratroopers brought successful to quell uprising

Kazakhstan protests: Violence erupts arsenic Russian paratroopers brought successful to quell uprising

The interior ministry said much than 4,400 radical had been detained since the commencement of the unrest. Tokayev announced a nationalist time of mourning for Monday to commemorate those killed.

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Access to the internet, which was been mostly unopen down successful Kazakhstan for days, was inactive heavy disrupted connected Saturday.

The deployment of the Russia-led CSTO subject confederation astatine Tokayev’s invitation comes astatine a clip of precocious hostility successful East-West relations arsenic Russia and the United States hole for talks adjacent week connected the Ukraine crisis.

Moscow has deployed ample numbers of troops adjacent its borderline with Ukraine but denies U.S. suggestions it is readying an invasion, saying it wants guarantees that NATO volition halt its eastward expansion.

Washington has challenged the justification for sending Russian troops to Kazakhstan and questioned whether what has been billed arsenic a ngo of days oregon weeks could crook into a overmuch longer presence.

“One acquisition of caller past is that erstwhile Russians are successful your house, it’s sometimes precise hard to get them to leave,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said connected Friday.

Russia’s overseas ministry called the remark violative and said Blinken should bespeak connected the U.S. way grounds of subject interventions successful countries specified arsenic Vietnam and Iraq.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov and Mariya Gordeyeva successful Almaty and Tamara Vaal successful Nur-Sultan; Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber successful Moscow; Writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Pravin Char and Timothy Heritage)

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