‘Say no to Putin’: Ukrainians support protests in Kazakhstan
Demonstrators in Kyiv fly the blue and gold flag of Kazakhstan, where Russian troops have been sent to quell riots.
Kyiv, Ukraine – With their country’s fate being discussed at this week’s US-Russia talks, Ukrainians took to the streets over the weekend to defend their independence and champion an additional cause – that of Kazakhstan’s protests.
On Sunday, demonstrators in Kyiv and Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, held signs that read “Say no to Putin” and flew Kazakhstan flags alongside Ukrainian ones.
Kazakhstan’s blue and gold flag also appeared in the winter skies over Kyiv on Saturday, flown from a drone in an act of protest organised by Dronarium, an unmanned aerial vehicle enthusiast community known for political statements.
“Every nation has the right to protect their socioeconomic and political rights through peaceful protest,” said drone operator Vitaly Shevchuk.“We condemn violence in any form, but we also oppose foreign military intervention in Kazakhstan under the guise of a peacekeeping operation, which is more like punitive action and risks becoming an occupation.”
After a week of violent protests that began over a hike in fuel prices and quickly spread across the country – leaving at least 164 dead, 2,000 injured and almost 6,000 arrested – a Russian-led military alliance has now restored control of Kazakhstan to the government.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alliance of several former Soviet states, deployed about 2,500 troops to Kazakhstan to help quell the protest, including Russian paratroopers who are guarding “vital facilities and social infrastructure,” a Russian Defence Ministry statement said.