UpdateKazakh authorities have detained the former head of the National Security Committee, Karim Massimov, on suspicion of treason. Massimov was arrested earlier this week, along with several other senior officials. Germany has temporarily restricted arms exports to Kazakhstan.
Parts of Kazakhstan have been restless for days after the price for LPG was increased. In the city of Almaty, large-scale riots broke out against the government, burning government buildings and looting shops. Dozens of police and protesters lost their lives and hundreds were injured in the riots. Thousands of arrests have reportedly been made.
It is unclear what the current situation is in Kazakhstan. According to state television, security forces cracked down on demonstrators in several cities during the night from Friday to Saturday. A local news site reports that shootings took place in at least two places in Almaty. There were also explosions and eyewitnesses spoke of a burning car.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a televised address Friday morning that he has ordered the military to fire without warning if the disturbances continue. He said he would not negotiate with the protesters and that those who do not surrender “will be destroyed”. According to Tokaev, Almaty is threatened by ‘20,000 bandits’.
The Russian-led military alliance CSTO has sent troops to Kazakhstan. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed his concerns about this. According to him, the Kazakh authorities are perfectly capable of dealing with the protests in a humane way. “It is not clear why they need outside help,” he said.
Arms export Germany
Germany has temporarily restricted arms exports to Kazakhstan due to the unrest in the country. According to the DPA news agency, the German government has taken the necessary steps to prevent arms from being delivered. Last year, Germany issued 25 licenses for arms supplies to Kazakhstan. Together they were good for 2.2 million euros.
The US has now allowed non-essential government personnel working at the consulate in Almaty to leave on a voluntary basis.
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