Casualties among Kazakh security officers Thursday rose to 18 dead and 748 wounded as authorities sought to quell unrest in the ex-Soviet country, Russian news agencies reported, citing the interior ministry.
Russia's Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies also cited the ministry as saying that 2,298 people had so far been detained after protests over fuel price hikes escalated into direct clashes with officers Wednesday.
Kazakhstan's armed forces have been called in to restore order and break up riots, but seem to have grown into general revolt, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said earlier on Thursday.
"Terrorist gangs" were engaged in a fight with paratroopers in Almaty, he said, adding that this is "not a threat, but an undermining of the integrity of the state."
A Russia-led military alliance of six countries, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said Thursday that it will dispatch peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan after the country’s president asked for help in controlling protests that escalated into violence, including government buildings being seized and set alight. In a Facebook post, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian confirmed that the CSTO will send peacekeepers to Kazakhstan at the country’s request.
A day after the pledge, Armenia sent some 70 soldiers to Kazakhstan as part of the contingent. According to Sputnik Armenia, the troops are expected to ensure the protection of objects of strategic importance.
Ershan Babakumarov, the deputy mayor of Almaty, reported that an occupation of the city's airport had ended. Multiple airlines had canceled flights to the city after people occupied it on Wednesday.