President Tokayev declares an end to "attempted coup d'etat" in the energy-rich Central Asian country, and promises Russian-led troops deployed to quell unrest will go home "soon."
Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said his country has defeated an attempted coup d'etat during historic violence last week, blaming foreign militants for the violence and promising foreign troops deployed to stabilise his country will vacate "soon".
Tokayev said on Monday that Russian-led troops called in to help quell the unrest were in the country to only protect strategic facilities and would go home "soon".
The Central Asian country is reeling in the wake of the worst violence in its recent history sparked by fuel price hike, but life in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty appeared to be returning to normal on Monday as the nation observed a day of mourning for dozens killed.
Tokayev said in a video conference with leaders from several ex-Soviet countries that "armed militants" had used the backdrop of protests –– which began with rallies over a fuel price hike –– to try to seize power.
"It was an attempted coup d'etat," he said.
Speaking with European Council President Charles Michel later Monday, Tokayev said militants from Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Middle East were behind the unrest.
No 'colour revolutions'
Kazakhstan and neighbouring Moscow have repeatedly blamed the unrest on forces outside the country.
In a separate call Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi discussed Kazakhstan, stressing "their concern about the intervention of external forces", Moscow said.
The ministers said "foreign mercenaries" were involved "in attacks on civilians and law enforcement officials, the seizure of state institutions and other facilities", according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Following a request from Tokayev, the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) deployed troops and military hardware to the country.
Concerns have mounted that Moscow could leverage the mission to shore up its influence in Kazakhstan.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last week that "once Russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave".
Putin told Monday's meeting of ex-Soviet leaders that "a contingent of CSTO peacekeeping forces has been sent to Kazakhstan –– and I want to emphasise this –– for a limited time period."
He said measures taken by the CSTO showed that its members would not allow "so-called colour revolutions" to break out in Russia's backyard.
Large protests, Putin added, were "used by destructive forces from outside and inside the country".
READ MORE: A who’s who of the unrest in Kazakhstan
Tokayev said in the meeting that his country's security personnel "have never fired and will never fire on peaceful demonstrators".
On Sunday, the information ministry retracted a statement that said more than 164 people had died in the unrest, blaming the publication on a "technical mistake".
Officials previously said 26 "armed criminals" had been killed and that 16 security officers had died.
In total, nearly 8,000 people have been detained for questioning, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
On Monday, US said Kazakhstan should respect the legal protections and fair trial guarantees for those detained during the unrest.