US officials don’t understand what’s happening in Kazakhstan, so instead they resort to platitudes and cliches when discussing the crisis-hit Central Asian country, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed on Sunday.
American statements on the crisis, which has seen the country gripped by violent protests since the New Year, exhibit “desperation and [a] lack of arguments; or desperation due to lack of arguments,” spokesman Maria Zakharova insisted during her appearance on the ‘Soloviev Live’ channel on YouTube on Saturday.
White House officials become “baffled” when they’re being asked by journalists about the situation in the Central Asian country, she added. “They don’t know what to say. Just look at this baby babble and nonsense that they’re uttering,” Zakharova pointed out.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that Moscow might have some ulterior motives in leading the peacekeeping effort by the CSTO alliance in Kazakhstan. “I think one lesson in recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” he said. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already slammed Blinken for his controversial claims. “When Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive, and not to be robbed or raped,” and North American Indians, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Syrians, and others can confirm that, it pointed out.
Moscow hits back at Blinken’s ‘Russians in your house’ comments
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had asked fellow members of CSTO for help after the worst day of violence on Wednesday, which saw angry crowds storming government buildings in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty and elsewhere across the country. Tokayev described the riots, in which some protesters were armed with guns, as an attack by “terrorists,” who had allegedly received training abroad and were assaulting Kazakh statehood.
When asked to comment on this development, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “we have questions about the nature of this request and whether it was a legitimate invitation or not. We don’t know at this point.”
Zakharova responded in the same interview that the CSTO mission was “an absolutely legitimate reaction to the equally legitimate request by the democratically elected president of Kazakhstan.” The peacekeepers were sent to the country only after all internal means of settling the crisis were exhausted and facts of an “external threat” to Kazakhstan emerged, she said.
The CSTO is a security treaty between six former Soviet states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, It runs along similar lines to the US-led NATO bloc. Azerbaijan was an original member of the organization upon its foundation in 1994, but withdrew in 1999. Kyrgyzstan came close to asking for the deployment of peacekeepers 2010, during clashes between the country’s ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations, but on that occasion the alliance did not agree to provide military assistance.
The deployment of troops from Russia and other CSTO nations to Kazakhstan started on Thursday. Their mission is to guard key infrastructure, leaving it to local security forces to restore order. In the first days of 2022 people took to the streets in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau to decry the doubling of the price of liquefied petroleum gas, which had previously been subsidized by the government. Despite the authorities promising to keep the price under control, the protest quickly spread across the country, leaving scores of people dead and injured.