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Russian troops return from Kazakhstan

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s Defence Ministry said 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 Organization (CTSO), a Russia-led alliance of six former Soviet states. The CSTO approved the force of more than 2,000 on January 5 at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The demonstrations started on January 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 yesterday that all of its planes carrying troops had returned. It was not clear whether troops from other CSTO countries remain in Kazakhstan.

Russian peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization withdrawing at an airport outside Almaty, Kazakhstan. PHOTO: AP