Vladimir Putin sends thousands of ‘Spetsnaz’ special forces troops int…

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The elite soldiers are being sent in presumably as part of a Moscow-led regional peace-keeping force from former Soviet countries but have a reputation for aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin is sending special forces troops into Kazakhstan

Russian President Vladimir Putin is secretly sending thousands of “Spetsnaz” special forces troops into Kazakhstan to try and smash deadly protests.

Many of the 2,500 already sent are Spetsnaz or attached to the feared GRU military intelligence and another 5,000 soon to be sent are also special forces or airborne troops.

The elite soldiers are being sent in presumably as part of a Moscow-led regional peacekeeping force from former Soviet countries but have a reputation for aggression.

It came as President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev claimed foreign-trained terrorists were responsible for the unrest, paving the way for a ruthless clampdown.

He warned on Friday that he has given a “shoot to kill” order to his police and military, more than 20 of whom have been slaughtered, three of them beheaded, in rioting.

Russian military vehicles waiting for loading to a military cargo plane to depart to Kazakhstan at the airport of Ivanovo
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Image:

Russian Defence Ministry/AFP via)

It is feared scores of protesting civilians have been killed by a security clampdown as Moscow-loyali Tokayev has bowed to Putin’s offer of help.

He said: “The militants have not laid down their arms, they continue to commit crimes or are preparing for them.

“Whoever does not surrender will be destroyed.

“I have given the order to law enforcement agencies and the army to shoot to kill, without warning.”

On Friday in Almaty gunfire could nevertheless be heard.

Russian paratroopers boarding a military cargo plane to depart to Kazakhstan
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Image:

Russian Defence Ministry/AFP via)

Buildings have been ransacked and torched in the worst violence in the country’s 30 years of independence.

Moscow said more than 70 planes were ferrying Russian troops into Kazakhstan, and that these were now helping control Almaty’s main airport,
recaptured on Thursday from protesters.

displays that began as a response to a fuel price hike have swelled into a general movement against the government and ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev ,81, the longest-serving ruler of any former Soviet state.

Demonstrators clash with law enforcement officers during a protest triggered by fuel price increase in Aktobe, Kazakhstan
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Image:

via REUTERS)

He turned over the presidency to Tokayev three years ago but his family is widely believed to have retained influence in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that produces his name.

Moscow’s rapid deployment demonstrated Putin’s readiness to use force to continue influence in the former Soviet Union, at a time when he has also alarmed the West by massing troops near Ukraine, whose Crimean peninsula Russia seized in 2014.

The mission falls under the umbrella of the Collective Security Treaty Organization – the CSTO – comprising Russia and five ex-Soviet allies.

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