Kazakh president seeks help from Russia-led security bloc

1 minute read

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev attends a session of the Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan November 28, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo

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NUR-SULTAN, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday that he had appealed to a Russia-led security bloc to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming what he called a "terrorist threat".

Tokayev made a second televised speech in the space of a few hours as the Central Asian republic faces the worst unrest in more than a decade, initially triggered by a fuel price rise.

He said what he described as foreign-trained terrorist gangs were seizing buildings, infrastructure and weapons. They had taken control of the airport in the biggest city, Almaty, and five aircraft there, including foreign planes, he said.

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"It is actually no longer a threat, it is an undermining of the integrity of the state and most importantly it is an attack on our citizens who are asking me... to help them urgently," Tokayev said.

"Almaty was attacked, destroyed, vandalized, the residents of Almaty became victims of attacks by terrorists, bandits, therefore it is our duty... to take all possible actions to protect our state."

Tokayev said he had appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

He did not say what response he had received.

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Reporting by Tamara Vaal and Olzhas Auyezov, Writing by Maxim Rodionov and Mark Trevelyan Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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