• Will Stewart
  • Sarah Grealish
  • 7:44 ET, Jan 6 2022
  • Updated: 11:56 ET, Jan 6 2022

KAZAKHSTAN has erupted in flames during a bloody uprising which has seen three cops BEHEADED by mobs in the street.

Russian “peacekeeping” tanks and troops are now being sent into the former Soviet state by Kremlin hardman Vladimir Putin to help crush the protests – which began on Sunday over a sharp rise in the price of fuel.

A burnt-out car is seen in front of the Almaty mayor's office where a fire rages out of control
A burnt-out car is seen in front of the Almaty mayor’s office where a fire rages out of controlCredit: Getty
Russian military vehicles including tanks are pictured preparing to leave for Kazakhstan to crush the protests
Russian military vehicles including tanks are pictured preparing to leave for Kazakhstan to crush the protestsCredit: AFP
Protests are spreading across Kazakhstan over the rising price of fuel
Protests are spreading across Kazakhstan over the rising price of fuelCredit: Reuters
Kazakhstan has declared a nationwide state of emergency
Kazakhstan has declared a nationwide state of emergencyCredit: AFP
Security forces are being used in a counterterrorism operation to stop mass unrest
Security forces are being used in a counterterrorism operation to stop mass unrestCredit: Getty

In total 13 police have been killed – and the Kazakh government said the severing of three officers’ heads proved that riots were of a “terrorist character”.

It is not yet known if the rioters decapitated the victims while they were still alive or mutilated their bodies after they died.

Some 353 law enforcement officers were wounded in flashpoint city Almaty.

And around 2,000 protesters have been detained today. 

Russia has sent 3,000 troops to Kazakhstan and around 500 to Belarus. 

One video shows protesters outside a hospital forming a “human shield” apparently angry that wounded police were getting priority over demonstrators.

They demanded “no treatment for cops”.

Another deeply shocking video shows the bodies of dozens of protesters killed in the bloody unrest.

The corpses in a mortuary in Almaty indicate the scale of the carnage.

A commentary on the macabre footage says: “The corpses, the bodies of the protesters.

“Different ages, young people. These are all protesters – adult, young. Very young.”

The camera shows one corpse up close. 

“This one had surgery, stitches can be seen, but he died despite this.”

Overnight, police spokesman Saltanat Azirbek admitted the slaughter of “dozens” of protesters.

“Extremist forces attempted to storm the administrative buildings, the police department of the city of Almaty as well as district directorates and police departments,” she said. 

“Dozens of attackers were eliminated, their identities are being established.”

Videos also show widespread looting in the city with seven hypermarkets totally empty of goods in the country’s worst-ever mass unrest. 

At least one gun shop was also looted and weapons were stolen when rampaging protesters overran the Almaty branch of the National Security Committee, the state secret service, equivalent of the Russian FSB. 

Meanwhile, Russia and other ex-Soviet states have started to answer a call by the Kazakh president for military reinforcements.

RUSSIAN TANKS

Russian paratroopers are on the ground in Kazakhstan in the role of “peacekeepers” from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation which comprises a number of ex-Soviet states. 

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last night said: “Today I appealed to the heads of CSTO states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat.