News   /   More

Israeli killed as East and West square up in Kazakhstan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Burnt cars are seen at a parking lot during riots in the city center of Almaty, Kazakhstan on January 6, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Israel's foreign ministry says an Israeli has been killed in the violent riots that have shaken Kazakhstan.

The 22-year-old was killed by gunfire in Almaty on Friday, the ministry said in a statement, adding he had been residing in Kazakhstan for the past few years.

Dozens of people have died and public buildings across Kazakhstan have been ransacked and torched over the past week in the worst violence experienced in the Central Asian nation since it became independent in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed.

The country is a major oil and uranium producer. Authorities have said the unrest is foreign-backed and aims to "undermine the security and integrity of the state by force, using trained and organized armed formations".

Israel has a history of meddling in Central Asia and the Caucasus in countries such as Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan is on the crossroads of China’s $1.5 trillion Belt and Road Initiative that has won over the support of developing countries all over the world, but ruffled feathers in the West which has been searching for an alternative.   

The Central Asian country is also part of the China-led eight-member bloc, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes Iran, Russia, Indian and Pakistan.

On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping lent strong support to Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, saying he has taken decisive and effective actions at a critical moment to quickly calm the situation.

In a message to Tokayev, published by the Xinhua news agency, Xi said China strongly rejects any attempt by external forces to provoke unrest and instigate “color revolutions” in Kazakhstan “as well as any attempt to harm the friendship between China and Kazakhstan and disrupt the two countries’ cooperation”.

The Chinese president said Tokayev has shown the “sense of responsibility as a statesman, and demonstrated a highly responsible attitude to the country and the people”.

Tokayev has said foreign-trained terrorists are responsible for the unrest.

“The militants have not laid down their arms, they continue to commit crimes or are preparing for them,” he said in a televised address.

On Saturday, authorities said the former head of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee, or KNB, had been detained on suspicion of high treason.

The security committee said in a statement that its former chief Karim Masimov and a number of other officials were detained on Thursday and placed in a temporary detention center.

Protests began in Kazakhstan on Sunday after a price hike on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which is widely used to fuel cars in the west of the country.

Dozens of people have been killed in clashes on the streets, with rioters torching and ransacking public buildings in several cities.

The unrest is seen as an attempt by foreign parties to provoke “color revolutions” in the ex-Soviet country, modeled on the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia and the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, which Russia has blamed on the West.

It has prompted Tokayev to appeal for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — a military alliance made up of Russia and five other former Soviet states — to restore peace and security.

The Kremlin said Saturday Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tokayev held a "lengthy" phone conversation to discuss the situation.

Tokayev informed Putin "in detail" about the situation in the country, "noting that it is developing towards stabilization", the Kremlin said in a statement.

"The presidents exchanged views on the measures taken to restore order in Kazakhstan," the Kremlin said.

The two leaders agreed to remain in "constant" contact and to hold a CSTO video conference meeting in the coming days, it added.

Russia also slammed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as "boorish" for saying Kazakhstan would be saddled with Russian presence after asking Moscow to send in troops.

"US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to make a funny joke today about the tragic events in Kazakhstan," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

"A boorish attempt, but then again not his first one," it said, adding that Blinken "ridiculed a totally legitimate response" of the CSTO alliance.

The alliance includes units from ex-Soviet states Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Media in Moscow have said the Russian contingent is expected to number less than 5,000.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Blinken said, "I think one lesson in recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave."

"If Antony Blinken is so into history lessons, here's one that comes to mind: When Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive, not being robbed or raped," the Russian foreign ministry said Saturday.

It mentioned "unfortunate peoples who had the bad luck to see these uninvited guests at their doorstep" -- naming Native Americans, Koreans, Vietnamese and Syrians among others.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku