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Russians back home after Kazakh peace role

By REN QI in Moscow | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-18 10:11
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Russian members of the CSTO peacekeeping force are welcomed on Sunday at the Chkalovsky airfield, near Moscow, after returning from Almaty, Kazakhstan. VADIM SAVITSKY/RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY/TASS

Nineteen military planes carrying Russian peacekeepers returned home on Sunday after the Collective Security Treaty Organization successfully accomplished its mission in Kazakhstan.

According to Russia's Defense Ministry, 18 of the Russian Air Force's Il-76 military transport aircraft and an Antonov An-124 Ruslan aircraft from the Russian Aerospace Forces landed at the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow on Sunday.

The troops were part of a force sent as peacekeepers by the CSTO, a Russian-led alliance of six former Soviet states. The organization approved the deployment of more than 2,000 troops on Jan 5 at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The troops protected socially significant facilities in the Central Asian country hit by unrest, and it has been stabilized in general.

"Today, military transport planes continue to deliver to the Chkalovsky airport personnel and equipment of Russian Airborne Forces units after fulfilling peacekeeping tasks," the ministry said in a statement. "Prior to the departure at the Almaty airfield in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Russian peacekeepers loaded military equipment into planes."

With the participation of the Airborne Forces, a meeting of paratroopers was organized at the airfield. Upon its completion, personnel began unloading weapons and military equipment and marched to the point of permanent deployment.

The withdrawal of the contingent from Kazakhstan began on Thursday. The Defense Ministry said the first Russian peacekeepers returned to Russia from Kazakhstan by four Il-76MD planes on Thursday.

Stanislav Zas, secretary-general of the CSTO, said the peacekeeping contingent's collective forces will be withdrawn by Wednesday.

There were no open clashes between the peacekeepers and "armed bandits or terrorists" during their deployment in Kazakhstan.

"People accepted the deployment of our peacekeeping contingent to this country with understanding. They must have understood that they had arrived to help them in this difficult situation. So, they showed the corresponding attitude to the peacekeepers," Zas said.

Other servicemen

Kyrgyzstan's Defense Ministry said its servicemen had finished the peacekeeping mission and returned home on Friday.

According to the press service of the Kyrgyz presidency, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov and Tokayev had a telephone conversation on Thursday evening and discussed a number of priorities in bilateral relations and regional cooperation.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko praised the role of the CSTO forces on Saturday, while greeting Belarusian servicemen participating in the operation.

Lukashenko said this was the first time the CSTO peacekeeping forces had participated in an operation to ensure the security and stability of a member state of the organization.

The measures taken by the CSTO and the deployment of peacekeepers saved Kazakhstan from the most unfavorable situation and prevented a "color revolution", he said.

The joint efforts of the CSTO peacekeeping forces have also demonstrated the close ties of member states, he added.

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