MINSK, 6 January (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko shared the details of his overnight talks on the situation in Kazakhstan and the decision to deploy the peacekeeping forces in that country as he hosted a government meeting to discuss Belarus' historical policy on 6 January, BelTA has learned.
"You know what is happening in Kazakhstan. We are very concerned about the pre-planned nature of the events. We were in consultations all night. We were following the developments together with Vladimir Putin. We talked over phone several times," the president said.
According to him, the situation in Almaty was very disturbing: "They set on fire everything they could. They seized the airport. They did it purposefully. There were attempts to seize the airports in Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Those were purposeful actions. Because they knew that the armed forces, primarily those of Russia and the CSTO countries, would be deployed there. They wanted to take control over the airports to make sure no one could land there. Fortunately, 40km away from Almaty, there is a military airfield controlled by the military. The attempt to seize the airport in Nur-Sultan failed at the time of my conversation with Tokayev."
"The riots in Kazakhstan are very much the same as they were in Belarus: mostly former convicts, the resentful and others," the Belarusian leader said.
In this regard, Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the previous events in Kyrgyzstan: "We must not forget what happened to my friend Bakiyev in his homeland as well. There are professional soldiers of the revolution there, more than one thousand... They keep silent to a certain point. Then they spring into action. Developments in Afghanistan, other countries are not encouraging either."
"But, most important is that events were coordinated and planned in many cities. The distance is thousands of kilometers. In terms of territory, Kazakhstan is probably larger than the whole of Europe. Or Western Europe, that's for sure. Huge distances, freezing weather, and so on and so forth. But nevertheless, everything happened synchronously. Everything was pre-planned. In terms of coordination, the external interference is obvious," the head of state said.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the information that the CSTO would provide assistance to Kazakhstan had an effect on the situation. “They did not even attempt to approach the residence in the morning. The CSTO already issued a statement that it would provide support,” he said.
“We, the CSTO heads of state, were in consultations during the night. There should be a consensus. We made a decision during the night,” the Belarusian leader said. “We will set up reserves. If we need to redeploy troops, we will do it. These peacekeeping forces – the CSTO troops which are meant for that – were making preparations during the night. We decided to deploy troops there.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, he also asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide aircraft for that purpose. “We need to transport our hardware and other things. We agreed that we must embark on this peacekeeping mission and help people.”
“Therefore, the troops are currently being redeployed to Kazakhstan from Moscow by train. Our peacekeepers will go there from Minsk by air. Our peacekeeping unit is meant for work in such conditions. They have had enough training and exercises,” the president said.
“We understand that we cannot give Kazakhstan away. Even our journalists said that we cannot give it away as it will be such a great gift… Like Ukraine for the USA, NATO. Therefore, I want you to understand the exact reasons for deploying peacekeepers there,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.