Session of CSTO Collective Security Council
Vladimir Putin took part in an emergency session of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation Collective Security Council.
The Republic of Armenia chaired the videoconference meeting, which was devoted to the situation in Kazakhstan and measures to normalise it.
Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Akylbek Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation Stanislav Zas.
English transcripts will be added when available.
President Putin’s Readout:
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, colleagues.
At this session we are discussing a truly serious issue of concern to all of us – the situation in Kazakhstan and ways to normalise it. And I agree with Mr Lukashenko that it concerns all of us.
Regarding the developments in Kazakhstan, all of us know that President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has appealed to the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation for assistance, because his country, a fraternal country and a CSTO member state, came across an unprecedented challenge to its security, integrity and sovereignty.
We know that the current threat to Kazakhstan’s statehood is not rooted in the spontaneous protests over fuel prices but in the fact that destructive internal and external forces made use of this situation. The people who protested over the situation on the fuel market and their goals are different from the people who took up arms to attack the state and their goals.
Actively used were ‘Maidan’ technologies of armed and information support for the protests. There were organised and controlled groups of fighters, as President Tokayev has pointed out just now, including people who had apparently received training in terrorist camps abroad, and their attack on Kazakhstan, as President Tokayev has noted – and it was essentially an attack on the country, on Kazakhstan – amounts to an act of aggression. I fully agree with him in this regard.
All of that called for an emergency response, and the appeal by the President of Kazakhstan was immediately supported by all heads of the CSTO member states and the Prime Minister of Armenia as the current Chair of the Collective Security Council.
Crucially, our organisation and its secretariat have been able to take all the necessary decisions in a swift and well-coordinated manner. In fact, we had very little time and had to act in a matter of hours to prevent the foundations of state authority in Kazakhstan from being undermined, and the situation inside the country from deteriorating, as well as to stop terrorists, criminals, looters, and other criminal elements.
The President of Kazakhstan has already told me during our telephone conversations that he has been receiving calls all the time from people asking and even pleading for him to protect them from these criminals and terrorists.
We coordinated our joint steps to help the brotherly people of Kazakhstan in the swiftest possible manner, fully engaging the CSTO mechanism. The CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces have been sent to Kazakhstan. I would like to note that it will stay there for a limited period, as long as the President of Kazakhstan, the head of state, decides. Make no mistake, once it fulfils its mission, the entire force will leave the territory of Kazakhstan. We have succeeded in completing the deployment of this force within quite a short period of time.
We view our joint actions as extremely timely and absolutely legitimate. The CSTO forces arrived in Kazakhstan following a formal request from the republic’s leadership and strictly in keeping with Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty of 1992. Under this article, in the event of aggression against any of the member states, all other countries shall immediately provide the affected member state, at its request, the necessary assistance and support, including military assistance. We have been witnessing an international terrorist aggression. Where did these armed groups come from? It is obvious that they were trained in foreign camps and acquired combat experience in hotspots around the world.
Our organisation has demonstrated its potential and the ability to take swift, decisive and effective action. Each of our allies contributed to fulfilling this mission within the CSTO forces: they include units from all member states without exception that are already there and are proactively carrying out their mission.
This shows that the CSTO’s long-term work, I would like to stress that it is truly long-term and painstaking work to establish an integral security system for member states, including, of course, the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces – this work is producing results. Colleagues, it is very important that our countries’ service personnel train under common programmes, and that they are issued standard or compatible weapons, equipment and communications systems.
We streamlined the deployment of peacekeepers during joint regular exercises. This was done for example during the CSTO’s recent Indestructible Brotherhood exercise, organised with due account of Russian service personnel’s combat experience in Syria. The exercise highlighted the impressive combat training levels, professionalism and cohesion of our service personnel and their ability to quickly accomplish counter-terrorism tasks and to protect the civilian population. It was precisely these purposeful joint combat training activities of CSTO countries’ forces that made it possible to promptly deploy peacekeepers to Kazakhstan and to ensure their most effective performance.
The CSTO contingent included the best-trained units of the Russian Airborne Forces, and all of them boast real combat experience. Colonel General Andrei Serdyukov, Commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, oversees the operations of the Collective Forces in Kazakhstan, and he knows what he is doing.
The peacekeeping contingent immediately took over key infrastructure facilities, and is ensuring that the Kazakhstani authorities alone have control over them. In turn, Kazakhstani law enforcement and security agencies directly conduct counter-terrorism and combat operations, they protect civilians and exercise policing functions whenever necessary. In effect, our service personnel have replaced them at local infrastructure facilities, allowing the President of Kazakhstan to make effective use of national forces and resources in order to reestablish law and order in the country.
As the speakers have already noted, the situation is being gradually normalised as a result of the measures implemented by the leaders of Kazakhstan with our support. Kazakhstan’s service personnel and law enforcement agencies have completely expelled terrorists and bandits from a number of vital installations, including the Almaty International Airport. I am confident that our joint efforts will make it possible to fully reestablish control over the situation nationwide and to stabilise it, and that peace and tranquility will, at last, be reinstated in Kazakhstan.
Of course, we understand that the events in Kazakhstan are not the first and certainly not the last attempt to interfere in the domestic affairs of our states from outside. I agree with the President of Belarus on this. The measures taken by the CSTO clearly show that we will not allow anyone to stir up trouble at home and will not permit the realisation of another so-called colour revolution scenario.
Everybody knows that by means of the internet and social media, attempts are still being made to involve our citizens in protests that will then be followed by terrorist attacks, as was clearly and precisely described by the President of Kazakhstan when he recalled the timeline of the events. This timeline is clear; we have all witnessed these developments. Moreover, the latest developments in Kazakhstan confirm that certain forces are not above using the online space and social media to recruit extremists and terrorists and to create sleeper cells of militants.
Therefore, it appears reasonable to instruct the CSTO Committee of Security Council Secretaries to present proposals – as part of the activities of their working groups on information security, countering terrorism and extremism – on the collective prevention of such attempts at destructive external interference in the CSTO’s area of responsibility.
Most importantly, we must make sure that events similar to the tragedy happening in the brotherly country of Kazakhstan will not catch us by surprise again and that we are fully mobilised and ready to push back against any new provocation.
I would like to note the bravery with which the President of Kazakhstan faced these events and took charge of the counteraction, consolidated society, the security forces and citizens of his country in order to confront the external terrorists.
I am certain that the leaders of Kazakhstan will do their best to restore normal operation of the country’s law enforcement agencies and the economy. I do not doubt that for a moment.
Finally, I would like to confirm that Russia intends to further prioritise strengthening the strategic alliance with all the CSTO member states. I am confident, of course, that the leaders and people of Kazakhstan (I want to stress this once again) will be able to handle this situation and respond to these serious challenges with honour.