Tensions between the U.S. and Russia rose on Saturday as the Kremlin delivered a strong rebuke to Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — White House hits back at report on US forces Why the political violence and economic grievances engulfing Kazakhstan matter Kazakhstani president issues ‘shoot to kill’ order to quell protests MORE, who a day prior said, “it’s sometimes very difficult to get” Russians to leave “once [they] are in your house.”
Speaking before reporters on Friday, Blinken said of the recent unrest in Kazakhstan, “There are very particular drivers of what’s happening in Kazakhstan right now.”
“And what’s happening in there is different from what’s happening on Ukraine’s borders. Having said that, I think one lesson in recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” Blinken added.
Blinken’s comments were an apparent jab at Russia, after the Collective Security Treaty Organization — compromised of five former Soviet allies and Russia — sent troops into Kazakhstan as the country remains embroiled in political unrest.
“If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped,” Russia’s foreign ministry said on Telegram, saying the secretary of State’s comment was “typically offensive,” Reuters reported.
The foreign ministry, in its searing message, said that it had been “taught this” not by the United States’s recent past, but “by all 300 years of American statehood.”
The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.
Protests have ensued in Kazakhstan, first spurred by rising fuel prices and enduring as a broader rebuke to former longtime President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who some believe is still influential within the country.
The State Department issued an update to its travel advisory for the country on Friday, saying that it was allowing nonemergency U.S. government employees and families of all U.S. staff from the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty to leave if they want to.
“Demonstrations, protests, and strikes may occur. These events can develop quickly and without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, communication, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent,” according to the State Department’s travel advisory. “U.S. citizens in Kazakhstan should be aware that violent protests may severely impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens departing Kazakhstan.”