Tokayev says defeated ‘coup,’ vows Russian troops will leave

Leaders of ex-Soviet countries discuss Kazakhstan situation

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Monday that his country had defeated an attempted coup d’etat during historic violence last week, and insisted that Russian-led troops called in to help quell the unrest would go home “soon”.

During a video-conference of leaders from several ex-Soviet countries in a military alliance that sent in the troops, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin confirmed they would leave as soon as their mission ended.

The Central Asian country has been left reeling in the wake of the worst violence in its recent history, but life in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty appeared to be returning to normal on Monday, with Internet coverage restored as the nation observed a day of mourning for dozens killed in the clashes.

“As of January 10, 7,939 people have been detained,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Mr. Tokayev told the video-conference that “armed militants” had used the backdrop of protests to try to seize power.

“The main goal was obvious: the undermining of the constitutional order, the destruction of government institutions and the seizure of power. It was an attempted coup d’etat,” Mr. Tokayev said.

The Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) has deployed just over 2,000 troops and 250 pieces of military hardware, the Kazakh leader said, vowing that the detachment would leave the country “soon”.

Some have voiced concerns that Moscow could leverage the mission to shore up its influence in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning last week that “once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave”.

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