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5 Jan, 2022 22:10

US denies role in Kazakhstan uprising

White House says ‘crazy Russian claims’ of US instigating civil unrest in Central Asia are ‘absolutely false’
US denies role in Kazakhstan uprising

President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman has denied that the US government is behind the violent protests that have rocked Kazakhstan this week, claiming that unnamed “Russians” have falsely accused Washington of triggering the tumult.

The White House is monitoring the protests in Kazakhstan and supports “calls for calm, for protesters to express themselves peacefully and for authorities to exercise restraint,” Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.

“There are some crazy Russian claims about the US being behind this, so let me just use this opportunity to convey that is absolutely false and clearly a part of the standard Russian disinformation playbook,” she said.

Psaki didn’t specify who in Russia has alleged a American role in the Kazakhstan unrest. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said that it’s closely monitoring the protests and has called for a peaceful solution. The Kremlin has warned against foreign interference in the conflict and said Kazakhstan can handle its own problems. Neither of the statements mentioned the US.

However, late on Wednesday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asked the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help in stabilizing the situation, saying that “foreign-trained terrorists” were overrunning strategic facilities. His government declared a nationwide state of emergency.

Protests over surging prices for liquefied petroleum gas began on Sunday and escalated with demonstrators torching police cars, storming government buildings, setting a presidential palace on fire, and seizing the international airport in Almaty, which has since been retaken. Tokayev has vowed a “tough” response, initially blaming the violence on “financially motivated plotters” and organized “bandit elements.”

The situation comes ahead of US-Russia talks next week. When asked about the talks, Psaki accused Moscow of creating the European security threats that it has been raising concerns about.The status of Ukraine is supposed to be the focus of the talks, and Psaki said the US will continue to provide “defensive assistance” to Kiev.

President Vladimir Putin is meanwhile looking for a security pact with the US-led NATO bloc, specifically guarantees of no further expansion to the east.