Kuwait asks citizens to leave Kazakhstan amid turmoil

Non-essential US consular staff also cleared to leave city of Almaty after violent protests

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The Kuwaiti embassy in Kazakhstan has asked Kuwaitis to leave "for their safety" after violent protests in the Central Asian country over the past week.

Th embassy also urged Kuwaitis to postpone plans to travel to Kazakhstan because of the "emergency status" in the country, state news agency Kuna reported.

Protests caused by an increase in fuel prices on January 1 swelled into a broad movement against the government and former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev – widely regarded as the man who still holds sway over Kazakh politics despite handing power to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev three years ago.

Dozens of protesters and members of security forces were killed during two days of violent protests in Almaty, the largest city. The situation was reported to have been calmer on Friday after Russian troops arrived in Kazakhstan as part of a regional force.

Kuwaiti airline Jazeera airways suspended flights to Almaty on Thursday, along with flydubai and Air Arabia.

Meanwhile, the US said it approved the voluntary departure of non-emergency US government employees and family members from the consulate general in Almaty.

"US citizens in Kazakhstan should be aware that violent protests may severely impact the US Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to US citizens departing Kazakhstan," the State Department said on Friday.

Updated: January 08, 2022, 5:30 AM