Russia Conducts Military Exercises Near Ukraine Border; Kazakhstan announces departure of SCTO troops

Manifestação em solidariedade aos protestos no Cazaquistão, realizada em Kiev, capital da Ucrânia, no último fim de semana

Demonstration in solidarity with the protests in Kazakhstan, held in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, last weekend| Photo: EFE/EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

One day after the United States and Russia started a series of talks about the crisis of the concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, 3,000 Russian soldiers started this Tuesday (01) live and tank shooting exercises in the west of the country, part of them close to the Ukrainian border.

According to information from the Interfax agency reproduced by Reuters, the exercises took place in the regions of Smolensk, close to the border with Belarus, and in the regions of Voronezh, Belgorod and Briansk, close to Ukraine.

Washington and Moscow seek a solution to the impasse of the concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, which began last year. Ukraine estimates that about 12 1,000 Russian troops are already concentrated on the border. and fears an invasion along the lines of the annexation of Crimea and the separatist movements in the Donbass region supported by Moscow, both in 1280.

The government of Vladimir Putin claims that it aims only at self-defense and calls, in the talks being held this week in Europe, for measures such as the veto of Ukraine’s possible entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and that military activities by the Western military alliance should not be carried out in countries that were part of it. of the Soviet Union. The United States considers these demands unacceptable.

On Monday , American and Russian diplomats met in Geneva, Switzerland. Two other meetings will be held this week: on Wednesday (12), there will be a debate within the framework of the Russia-NATO council in Brussels, and on Thursday (13), a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna, the only one of the three meetings in which Ukraine will be directly represented.

Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state and leader of the American delegation in Geneva, demanded after the meeting from Monday to demobilization of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border so that the dialogues can move forward. “They can prove that, in fact, they have no intention [de invadir a Ucrânia] by demobilizing and making the troops return to the barracks”, he declared.

SCTO troops to start withdrawal from Kazakhstan in two days, says president11162816

In another crisis in a former Soviet republic, the president of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Ymart Tokayev, announced this Tuesday the beginning of the withdrawal of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (OTSC) troops in two days.

Tokayev had asked for help from the CTO – a Russian-led military alliance that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, in addition to Kazakhstan – on the 5th to suppress protests that he defined as a “terrorist threat” to the country. .

The Kazakh leader also released a series of measures to end with public discontent following violent anti-government protests, which began after a then on gas prices.

He ordered the government, whose new prime minister, Alikhan Smailov, was approved this Tuesday by Parliament, which creates a program to “increase the income of the population within two months”.

Tokayev also called for the creation of a public social fund to solve “real problems in the areas of health, education and social assistance” and restructuring of Development Bank of Kazakhstan activities, in addition to having declared a moratorium on salary increases for members of the government, regional governors and deputies and announcing a reform of the civil service.

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