The CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas in an interview with the agency MIA "Russia-Today" spoke about the number, tasks and legal grounds for sending the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces to the Republic of Kazakhstan06.01.2022
— Stanislav Vasilyevich, on what basis are the CSTO Peacekeeping Forces brought into the Republic of Kazakhstan?
— The grounds for sending the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces to the Republic of Kazakhstan are Articles 2 and 4 of the Collective Security Treaty, the Agreement on Peacekeeping Activities and, of course, the appeal of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev, for military assistance. This is what served as the basis for the decision by the heads of our states to conduct a peacekeeping operation. The second article of the Collective Security Treaty states clearly and understandable that in the event of a threat to the security, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty of a state, the CSTO member States immediately hold consultations to coordinate their positions and take and implement measures to provide assistance to this state. Which is what happened in this case in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The events that are now taking place there pose a real threat to the country's security, stability and even territorial integrity. Therefore, such an appeal was received, emergency consultations of the heads of state were held and an appropriate decision was made to use the CSTO peacekeeping potential in order to minimize and localize these threats there. This is to the question of what was the basis for the operation.
— For how long are the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces brought into the Republic of Kazakhstan?
— By the way, they have already begun redeployment. For how long? We expect that the period will be short. And in the CSC decision it sounds like this: "for a short period." What kind of short period - several days, or several weeks - it will depend on the situation that will develop in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and, of course, on the position of the leadership of the Republic. If it considers that the situation has stabilized and it is controlled by its own forces, without the help of all our states, then, of course, the operation will be completed, and all troops will be withdrawn.
— Who is part of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces, what is their total strength?
— All our states with their subdivisions have expressed their readiness to participate in the working order, and their transfer has begun. The advance group of the Russian part of the peacekeeping contingent is already in the Republic of Kazakhstan and has begun to fulfill the assigned tasks. In two or three hours, the first echelon of the Belarusian group will be there. Gradually, I think over the course of tomorrow, we will complete the redeployment of all our other peacekeeping units.
The total size of the grouping of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces may different. Now, in accordance with the decisions that have been made, there are about 2,500 people. We will proceed from the situation.
We have the entire list of units, formations included in the CSTO Peacekeeping Forces - about 3.6 thousand. Therefore, if necessary, we will strengthen the grouping in Kazakhstan.
— What divisions are included in the Collective Peacekeeping Forces?
— Different divisions, if we talk about all our states. Basically, these are, of course, mobile units and subdivisions. The units are called differently: Airborne Forces, Special Operations Forces, Special Forces. It's such a good backbone.
In the CSTO, the Peacekeeping Forces from the armed forces of the member States include precisely such units that are in constant combat readiness. They are ready to complete the task without any preparation.
— Participation in the Peacekeeping Forces of Russia's allies in the CSTO - is it significant or rather symbolic? There are different data on the size of the contingent, for example, the Armenian media reported that a unit of 70 people is participating from the Republic of Armenia.
— It's not about quantity. This is a gesture that means readiness to support the Republic of Kazakhstan supported by all the states of the CSTO. This is important to us.
— What is the geography of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces deployment? All main cities or only Almaty?
— I won't talk about geography yet. This will already depend on the decisions that will be made on the spot by the commander of this peacekeeping contingent in cooperation with the forces of law and order and the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan, where the efforts of our peacekeeping units are needed.
If we talk about the tasks that are assigned to them, then conditionally they can be divided into two main ones. The first is the protection of the most important state, strategic facilities. And the second task is to help maintain law and order so that people feel safe.
All the insinuations that now our units will disperse demonstrations and so on - no, this will not happen. Our CSTO CPF have other tasks. Come on jerking - about some kind of invasion or something else, even before the "occupation" agreed - this, excuse me, is generally complete stupidity.
To provide assistance and support to the Republic of Kazakhstan in this difficult period is the main motive for the decision of the Collective Security Council. As soon as the situation stabilizes, another decision will be taken, and the peacekeeping operation will be completed. Therefore, of course, it is very unpleasant to listen and read that they "took advantage of the situation" - this is complete nonsense. I say again: the sincere desire of all our states is to really help Kazakhstan in this difficult situation, to support an ally in this difficult period.
The State Duma called the events in the Republic of Kazakhstan an attempt at a "color" revolution.
— It is no secret that armed gangs are now operating in the Republic of Kazakhstan. If they attack an object that the Peacekeeping Forces are protecting, do the Forces have the authority to use weapons in return?
— Yes, in this case weapons will be used. The military personnel of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces have such rights.
— Who is appointed as the commander of the Peacekeeping Forces?
— I do not want to get ahead of myself yet, because the solution has not yet been formalized. The CSTO Council of Defense Ministers will decide on the appointment of the commander of the CPF. There is already a candidacy, but it has not yet been approved, so I don’t want to announce it either. The decision will be published later in the media.
— Could the transfer of CSTO peacekeepers lead to a turning point in the Republic?
— The situation is difficult, but it is already possible to draw a cautious conclusion - based on the events that took place at night and this afternoon, that a certain turning point is already being observed. For the better. As a result, we hope this trend will strengthen.
— Including with the CSTO help ?
— I would like to think that with the help of the CSTO as well. But now the Kazakh forces are coping there. It's hard for them, of course, so you need to help.