Ukraine war strains ties between Kazakhstan and Russia

Ukraine war strains ties between Kazakhstan and Russia

International Deskdaily-bangladesh.com

Published: 22:04 24 June 2022  

Ukraine war strains ties between Kazakhstan and Russia

Ukraine war strains ties between Kazakhstan and Russia

Kazakhstan, which shares the world's longest continuous border with Russia, has long balanced its status as Moscow's most trusted ally in ex-Soviet Central Asia with attempts to maintain cordial ties with the West.

But Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, combined with Russian perceptions that the Kremlin secured the Kazakh regime during a political crisis earlier this year, have turned that balancing act into a high-wire walk, experts say.

The most recent sign of tensions came at an economic forum in Russia's second city Saint Petersburg last week, as Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev discussed world politics with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Tokayev reiterated his country's refusal to recognise what he called "quasi- state" entities in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has been advancing since invading in February.

The Kazakh president also criticised Russian politicians and commentators, whom he accused -- without naming names -- of sowing "discord" between the two countries by launching public attacks on Kazakhstan.

Arkady Dubnov, a long-time watcher of Russia's relations with Central Asian states, said Tokayev's comments were "impressive" given he was standing in front of Putin.

"Tokayev is the type of figure we are no longer used to seeing (in Russia). He did not fawn, he looked directly into Putin's eyes," Dubnov said in a Wednesday interview with the Russian media outlet Republic.

DailyBangladesh/SA