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Russian troops to begin withdrawal from Kazakhstan following deadly riots

Russian troops will begin leaving Kazakhstan Thursday, The New York Times reports.

In a Tuesday speech, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the withdrawal would take "no more than 10 days," meaning that all Collective Security Treaty Organization troops should out of the country by Jan. 23.

Around 2,500 CTSO troops, mostly Russians, arrived in the country Saturday to help quell riots that engulfed the nation after the government announced an increase in the price of liquified petroleum gas.

If Russian troops do in fact depart, it will assuage the concerns of many who suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin might seize the opportunity to permanently increase his country's power over the former Soviet republic.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that "once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave," and Andrew Higgins wrote in The New York Times that "such assistance is seldom offered free of charge."

Protesters, who also aired grievances against Kazakhstan's authoritarian political system, burned the presidential residence and stormed the country's largest airport. At least 26 demonstrators and 18 law enforcement officers were killed, an internet blackout was implemented, and more than 5,000 people were reportedly detained.

A former two-time prime minister was dismissed from his role as intelligence chief and charged with treason, and former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the authoritarian leader who ruled Kazakhstan from its independence in 1991 until 2019 and remained influential behind the scenes, was removed from his powerful position on Kazakhstan's Security Council.