Kazakh soldiers in blue helmets: UN express ‘concerns’

NUR-SULTAN (dpa-AFX) – The United Nations have expressed concern about photos of Kazakh soldiers who apparently wore helmets with UN labels during the serious unrest. “We have conveyed our concerns to the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan in this regard,” said a UN spokeswoman at the request of the German Press Agency. Security forces from UN member states are only allowed to wear the so-called blue helmets as part of a UN peacekeeping mission, it said. That is not the case in Kazakhstan.

The photos appeared at the end of last week from the Kazakh metropolis of Almaty. How exactly the soldiers got the helmets and why they wore them was initially unclear. Kazakhstan is a member of the UN. Kazakh soldiers were involved in a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon until last year.

Kazakhstan, which shares borders with Russia and China, has been experiencing the worst unrest in years for more than a week. Displeasure over the rise in fuel prices at petrol stations in the oil- and gas-rich country turned into protests against the government. In addition to peaceful demonstrations, there were also violent riots, especially in the metropolis of Almaty. President Kassym-Shomart Tokayev had used soldiers against demonstrators and also called a Russian-led military alliance to help ./haw/DP/eas

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