As it happenedended1641496820

Kazakhstan protests: Russia sends in troops to stop deadly uprising as Almaty hit by street gun battles

Country gripped by violence since new year

Matt Mathers
Thursday 06 January 2022 19:20 GMT
Kazakh president asks for help from Collective Security Treaty as unrest continues

Twelve police officers and dozens of protesters have been killed in violent protests in Kazakhstan as Russian troops were sent to the country in a bid to stop the fighting.

Explosions and gunfire were heard in Almaty, the country's largest city, on Thursday in another day of unrest. Government buildings were stormed and set ablaze as protests against soaring energy prices escalated.

One of the deceased officers was found beheaded in a deteriorating situation which poses a growing challenge to authoritarian rule in the Central Asian nation.

After breaking into the presidential residence and the mayor’s office in the country’s largest city Wednesday, demonstrators continued to try to storm more buildings overnight. Several dozen people are believed to be dead and many more injured.

“Dozens of attackers were liquidated,” police spokeswoman Saltanat Azirbek told state news channel Khabar-24, using a term common to describe the killing of people thought to be extremists.


Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of unrest in Kazakhstan.

We’ll bring you updates throughout the day as the Central Asia country is gripped by another day of violence.

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 13:30

12 police officers and dozens of protesters killed

Dozens of protesters and 12 police officers died during extraordinarily violent demonstrations in Kazakhstan that saw government buildings stormed and set ablaze, authorities said Thursday.

More below:

Dozens killed in Kazakhstan unrest, police say

A police official in Kazakhstan’s largest city said Thursday that dozens of people were killed in attacks on government buildings

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 13:32

Explainer: What’s behind the violent unrest?

Protests began on the weekend over anger at a spike in fuel prices but morphed into calls for reform, my colleagues Rory Sullivan and Alisha Rahaman Sarkar report.

Read the full piece here:

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 13:38

Explosions and gunfire heard in Almaty as military vehicles move in

People on the ground in Almaty have heard gunfire and explosions near Almaty’s main square.

It is unclear at this stage if there have been any further casualties or deaths.

Military vehicles have been seen moving in as authorities attempt to quell the violence.

Troops are seen at the main square where hundreds of people were protesting against the government

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 13:47

Foreign minister denies suspending entry of foreigners

Kazakhstan's foreign ministry denied a media report on Thursday that the entry of foreigners into the country had been suspended, the Sputnik news agency quoted it as saying.

Earlier, the RIA news agency had quoted the Kazakh embassy in Uzbekistan as saying that Kazakhstan had temporarily suspended entry for foreigners amid widespread protests.

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 14:10

As Kazakhstan protests turn deadly, president ditches diplomacy for tough talk

Kazakhstan’s deadliest rebellion in 30 years of independence has forced a sharp change in rhetoric from the Central Asian country’s hand-picked president, a linguist who built his career on diplomacy rather than tough talking, Robin Paxton writes.

Read Robin’s full piece here:

Amid protests, Kazakh president ditches diplomacy for tough talk

President Tokayev has responded to the protests with language reminiscent of his strongman predecessor

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 14:20

Russian troops arrive in Kazakhstan to quell unrest

Russian paratroopers have arrived in Kazakhstan after the country’s president asked for help in controlling violent protests that initially erupted over fuel prices but grew into calls for wider political reform.

Moscow’s “peacekeeping forces” were sent to quell the unrest in the oil-rich country by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a partnership between Russia and former Soviet states, including Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

My colleagues Lamiat Sabin and Rory Sullivan have the story:

Russian troops arrive in Kazakhstan to quell unrest as police say officer beheaded

Dozens of police and civilians have reportedly died in violent clashes

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 14:45

China won’t get involved in Kazakhstan

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin appeared to dismiss any possibility of China becoming involved in the current crisis, in line with Beijing strict official non-interventionist policy.

"What is happening in Kazakhstan is the country's internal affair (and) we believe that the Kazakh authorities can solve the issue properly," he said.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Kazak president, has imposed a two-week state of emergency for the whole country, including an overnight curfew and a ban on religious services. That is a blow to Kazakhstan’s sizable Orthodox Christian population who observe Christmas on Friday.

Matt Mathers6 January 2022 15:04

Shots fired at protesters in central Almaty

Soldiers are firing at protesters and cars on the main square of Almaty, Kazakhstan‘s largest city, Russia’s TASS news agency reports.

Russia’s Sputnik news service also reported that shots were fired as police surrounded one group of about 200 protesters in the city.

So far, 2,000 people have been arrested, the Interior Ministry said. 

Tom Batchelor6 January 2022 15:23

UK foreign secretary comments on Kazakh violence

The UK foreign secretary has said she condemns acts of violence in Kazakhstan.

Asked about Russian troops in Kazakhstan, Liz Truss said the country “has a sovereign choice on who it chooses as its allies”.

She added: “Any forces deployed must have a clear mission and act proportionately in any use of force to defend the legitimate security interests in Kazakhstan.”

Tom Batchelor6 January 2022 15:43

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