Officials in Kazakhstan have denied reports that a “military biological laboratory” has been seized during widespread unrest in the nation that was sparked by rioters this past week over soaring fuel prices.
Kazakhstan Pres. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called the rioters “a group of terrorists” and authorized the Russian military forces to “fire on them without warning” on those behind the riots after declaring the nation under attack.
Russian news highlighted reports that the US-funded lab near Almaty had been compromised, which resulted in a possible dangerous leak of pathogens.
The mayor’s office, airport and secret services buildings briefly fell to rioters during a surge of protests that were backed by shadowy armed cells.
The secret bio-lab funded by the United States defense dept. – which has connections to Chinese and Russian scientists – was also compromised during the disturbances, according to several social media claims that it had been seized.
Official Russian media agency TASS had highlighted the alleged social media reports that it was taken over by “unknown people’” and “specialists that were wearing chemical protection suits was working close to the lab so a dangerous pathogen leak could have occurred.”
The lab’s existence has been controversial and in 2020 the nation formally denied that it was being used to produce biological weapons.
Erica Marat, said that Tokayev’s move to depend on Russia to help put an end to the violence meant that he has “traded his nation’s sovereignty to Russia for the interests of kleptocratic elites and his own power” and that the move “is mostly about making Kazakhstan a more loyal, submissive partner” to “Russia against the West in global and geopolitical matters.”
“The chaos has threatened to undermine Russia’s sway in the region during a time when they are trying to assert its geopolitical and economic power throughout countries like Belarusand Ukraine,” The NY Times reported.
The instability in the nation is also a threat to United States interests from an energy perspective.
“Kazakhstan also matters to the U.S., as it has become an important country for American energy concerns, with Chevron and Exxon Mobil having invested billions of dollars into western Kazakhstan, the region where the unrest started this month,” The NY Times added. “Even though it has close ties with Russia, consecutive Kazakh governments have also remained close to the U.S., with oil investments seen as a counterweight to the influence of Russia.”