Ex-Soviet states to send peacekeepers to Kazakhstan

A security alliance of ex-Soviet states led by Russia is set to send peacekeeping forces into Kazakhstan.

Anti-government protests have entered the third straight day.

Armenia's prime minister said Thursday an unspecified number of forces would help stabilize the situation, after Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appealed for help.

Demonstrations were first triggered by widespread anger over a rise in fuel prices, but have expanded into wider opposition to Tokayev's predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Kazakh government resigned on Wednesday as police clashed with protesters, who torched state buildings and seized the airport in the country's largest city, Almaty.

In a televised speech, Tokayev denounced the protesters and claimed they were foreign-trained terrorists.

"We should consider that those terrorist groups are international in fact. They have undergone serious drills and those attacks against Kazakhstan may and should be considered as an act of aggression."

Nazarbayev, the main target of protestors' anger, ruled with an iron fist for three decades.

Though he stepped down in 2019, he retains significant power -- and it's believed his family still controls much of the country's oil-driven economy.

But younger generations have begun demanding liberalization, as seen in other former Soviet states.

Quoting the Kazakh interior ministry, Russian state media said eight police and national guard troops were killed in the unrest this week.

States of emergency have been declared across several provinces and the internet remains shut down.

After accepting the cabinet's resignation, Tokayev ordered a reversal of the fuel price rise.

The Kremlin has said it expects Kazakhstan, a close ally, to quickly resolve its internal problems, and warned other countries against interfering.

The U.S. has rejected Russian accusations that it instigated the unrest.

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