US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he will seek “clarification” on why Kazakhstan sought assistance from the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) amid outbreaks of violence across the country.
Speaking about Nur-Sultan’s decision to call in allied peacekeepers, Blinken told CNN that Washington had “real questions” about “why they felt compelled to call in this organization that Russia dominates,” insisting “we’re asking for clarification on that.”
However, he said, “What’s imperative now is that all of this be dealt with in a peaceful manner that respects the rights of those who are trying to make their voices heard.”
He clarified earlier that he was referring to “peaceful protesters,” though video of the chaos unfolding in Kazakhstan has shown protests escalating into looting, arson, and other forms of violence.
Blinken also didn’t comment – nor was he asked by CNN – about reports of attempts by organized armed groups to storm police buildings and airports amid chaos in the streets.
However, America’s top diplomat had plenty to say about how he felt Nur-Sultan should treating the rioters, insisting “The authorities in Kazakhstan should be able to deal with the challenges that they’re facing peacefully, to make sure that the rights of those who are protesting peacefully are protected, to protect the institutions of the state and law and order but to do so in a way that is rights-respecting.”
Earlier, he warned the former Soviet republic that “recent history” should have taught them that “once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” a comment he did not elaborate on but for which Russians suggested he lacked self-awareness.
“Indians of the North American continent, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Panamanians, Yugoslavs, Libyans, Syrians and many other unfortunate people who are unlucky enough to see these uninvited guests in their ‘home’ will have much to say about this,” Moscow replied.