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Russia says its troops have returned from Kazakhstan

Over 2,000 CSTO troops were deployed upon Kazakhstan President's request

Kazakhstan Protesters Russian peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization guard an area in Kazakhstan, Jan. 12, 2022 | Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Russia's defence ministry says the troops that were deployed to Kazakhstan as violent demonstrations shook the country have returned home.

The troops were part of a force sent as peacekeepers by the Collective Treaty Security Organisation, a Russia-led alliance of six former Soviet states. The CSTO approved the force of more than 2,000 on Jan 5 at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The demonstrations started on Jan 2 to protest a sharp rise in fuel prices. They quickly spread nationwide and descended into violence within several days. Protesters stormed government buildings and set them ablaze, and dozens of people were killed in clashes with the country's security forces.

The Russian Defence Ministry said Saturday that all of its planes carrying troops had returned. It was not clear whether troops from other CSTO countries remain in Kazakhstan.

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