A Russia-led military alliance has begun withdrawing its forces from Kazakhstan after their deployment in response to anti-government protests in the Central Asian country.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, started pulling out more than 2,000 troops on Thursday. The move came three days after Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed that order has been restored in his country.
Tokayev told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation that the CSTO demonstrated its relevance and effectiveness as a reliable international organization.
Putin was briefed by Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, that the withdrawal will be completed on Wednesday.
Putin described Kazakhstan as Russia's "closest partner and ally." He said the leadership of Kazakhstan will now be able to "resolve socioeconomic and political problems in a dialogue with society in a calm atmosphere."
The protests flared across Kazakhstan earlier this month. Its government said they were acts of terrorism involving foreign militants.
The CSTO began sending troops to Kazakhstan last week at the request of its government. This is the first CSTO troop dispatch to any of its member states.
The government cracked down on the protests with the help of the CSTO contingent and detained roughly 10,000 people.
Analysts say Putin wants to increase Russian influence in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet nation, by stressing that Moscow played a major role in resolving the unrest.
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