The gradual withdrawal of Russian-led peacekeeping troops from Kazakhstan has been completed, the Central Asian nation's Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday.
“The withdrawal of units of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) from Kazakhstan has been completed,” the ministry said in a statement.
The last units of the peacekeeping forces -- consisting of nearly 2,500 soldiers and 250 pieces of equipment -- from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan left the airport of the former capital Almaty aboard an Il-76 aircraft of the Aerospace Forces of Russia, it added.
“This operation will go down in the history of the CSTO not only as an example of the practical application of the mechanisms worked out in the course of many years of cooperation, but also as a real confirmation of the allied spirit and military fraternity of our states,” according to Col. Olzhas Khusainov, head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Defense Ministry.
On Jan. 2, massive protests broke out in Kazakhstan over a rise in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices in the city of Zhanaozen in Mangystau, which later turned into clashes with the police, with the most violent developments in Kazakhstan's former capital Almaty.
Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev then requested help from the CSTO allies and in a short period, the peacekeepers arrived in the country and backed the Kazakh law enforcement in restoring order.
The end of emergency measures in Kazakhstan as of midnight Tuesday brought life back to normal, especially in the capital Nur-Sultan, the country's largest city Almaty, and the regions of Atyrau, Jambyl, Kyzylorda, and Mangistau.
Security measures on the streets and a curfew imposed at certain hours were lifted. Restrictions on travel into and out of cities were also removed.