The military mission by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), unofficially known as “Russian NATO,” to Kazakhstan will be headed by Russian General Andrei Serdyukov. Serkyukov is known for having led the operation to occupy Crimea in 2014 and leading the Russian military intervention in Syria in 2019.
This was announced by the representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov, Interfax reported. Serdyukov is the commander of the Airborne Troops of the Russian Armed Forces, holds the rank of colonel general.
According to Konashenkov, the term of the “peacekeeping mission” in Kazakhstan is limited, but no specific dates have been announced yet.
It is currently known that 75 Russian military transport planes — IL-76 and An-124 — are involved in the transfer of the Russian military to Kazakhstan, and the transfer takes place around the clock.
Units of the 45th Brigade of the Russian Airborne Forces, the 98th Airborne Division of the Russian Airborne Forces and the 31st Separate Brigade of the Russian Airborne Forces have been sent to Kazakhstan. According to Konashenkov, all of them “have undergone special training and have real combat experience.”
“The Russian military personnel who arrived in the Republic of Kazakhstan immediately began to fulfill the assigned tasks. By now, together with the law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Alma-Ata airport has been taken under full control. The security of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation located in the city and others important objects,” Konashenkov was quoted as saying.
According to NV.ua,
- in the spring of 2014, Andrei Serdzukov he led the operation to invade and seize Ukrainian Crimea;
- Serdyukov was also the head of the formation and deployment of the Russian occupation forces in Donbas (pseudonym “Sedov”);
- under his leadership, the Territorial Forces Center of Russia’s Southern Military District was established to manage the operation against Ukraine.
Kommersant reported, citing its own sources, that during April-September 2019, Serdyukov was charged with leading the Russian military group in Syria.
Protests have been taking place in western Kazakhstan since January 2. Mass protests began in the city of Zhanaozen after a jump in liquefied gas prices, which fuel most cars in the region.
As protests spread to other cities, police stepped up security and detained activists and media representatives. On the morning of January 5, the Kazakh government was dismissed. On January 5, the President of Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency in the capital Nur Sultan.
On 7 January, the Kazakhstan army was instructed to shoot at the protesters whom President Kasim-Zhomart Tokayev called “bandits and terrorists.”
After the arrival of the Russian military, the Kazakh authorities said that they had almost suppressed the protests and restored “order.”