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Russian-led troops begin withdrawal from Kazakhstan

The withdrawal comes only a week after the troops were deployed to the ex-Soviet nation on the request of its president, who was seeking to quell extremely violent mass protests over a hike in gas prices.

Over 2,000 Russia-led troops have begun withdrawing from Kazakhstan after being deployed when peaceful protests over an energy price hike turned into unprecedented violence claiming dozens of lives.

The “collective peacekeeping forces … are starting to prepare equipment and materiel” for the departure Russia’s defence ministry said on Thursday.

They will be loaded “into the planes of the military transport aviation of the Russian aerospace forces and returning to the points of permanent deployment,” the ministry added.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said the phased withdrawal of the foreign troops would take no more than 10 days.

Concern had mounted that Moscow could leverage the mission to shore up its influence in Kazakhstan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier warned that “once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave”.

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