33 Ukrainians evacuated from Kazakhstan to Kyiv, two more flights planned next week

10 January 2022, 12:25 AM

An evacuation flight from the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan with 33 Ukrainians on board has landed in Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a post on his Twitter account on Jan. 9.

He wrote that the next evacuation flights from Nur-Sultan were scheduled for Jan. 13 and Jan. 16.

“We are working on arranging evacuation flights for all Ukrainians who submitted a request, particularly from Almaty. Our unwavering principle is “no Ukrainian left behind,” posted Kuleba.

Kazakhstan is currently experiencing unrest as a result of anti-government protests throughout the country. Troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSO), of which Kazakhstan is a part, have arrived in the country to perform what they term “peacekeeping” actions to suppress the protests.

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Previously, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told NV in a comment that over 100 Ukrainian citizens were stranded in Kazakhstan against the backdrop of CSTO military operation. Nearly 120 Ukrainians are unable to leave Almaty, where the local airport is held by Russian and Kazakh armed forces.

The ministry said that there was currently no threat to the lives and safety of Ukrainian citizens in Kazakhstan, and that they had been provided with temporary accommodation and food. The Ukrainian embassy in Nur-Sultan is in touch with all the Ukrainian citizens, the ministry said.

In early January, protests against a price spike in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas, a common gasoline substitute, broke out in Kazakhstan. The protests soon gained an anti-government character, with some protesters demanding an end to the political rule of Nursultan Nazarbayev, a dictator who has held power since the end of the Soviet Union. He has been in power for nearly 30 years, first as president until 2019, and later as head of the country’s security council.

One of the passengers on the Jan. 9 flight told Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne that he had originally been planning to travel back to Ukraine on Jan. 6, but the flight had been delayed.

He said the situation in Nur-Sultan was stable and things had been “blown out of proportion.” At the same time, he said that there was indeed fighting in the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city, and that people were not able to leave.

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