Highlights

  • Political crisis in Kazakhstan amid ongoing violence
  • Almaty, most populous city, in disarray; internet shut
  • Putin: an act of aggression masterminded from abroad

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EJ Explains|Kazakhstan unrest a new flashpoint for U.S. & Russia

Over 160 people have died with nearly 6,000 people being detained with another 2,000 being injured during several days of violence

The central Asian nation of Kazakhstan has been witnessing protests that turned extremely violent, leaving over a hundred people dead and many injured, since the beginning of this year.

The protests sparked by the doubling of fuel price in western Kazakhstan were peaceful initially but quickly turned violent and swept the whole country like a wildfire.

Over 160 people have died with nearly 6,000 people being detained with another 2,000 being injured during several days of violence.

The clashes have set off a political crisis in the country with president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, describing the events as a coup attempt, calling the protestors 'terrorists' and even giving shoot at sight orders to the government forces.

The events have brought into action a regional alliance of several former Soviet states, Collective Security Treaty Organization, led by Russia.

The protests have left the country’s most populous city, Almaty, in disarray. Thousands of people had been swept up in what the government is calling an 'anti-terrorist' operation. Internet across the country was shut down along with government buildings set ablaze.

In the latest development, people were seen fleeing the violence-ridden country and crossing the Russian-Kazakh border on Sunday.

While taking stock of the situation through a virtual meeting on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the unrest in Kazakhstan 'an attack on the country' and 'an act of aggression' masterminded from abroad. Russia has sent some 2,500 personnel, the Russian RIA news agency has reported.

Also watch: Kazakhstan turmoil: President calls protesters 'terrorists', orders shoot at sight

The EU in veiled comments warned Russia against military intervention in Kazakhstan, the US has said it is closely monitoring the Russian troops in the central Asian country, and it will also be watching for any actions that may lay the predicate for the seizure of Kazakh institutions.

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