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Kazakh President Pledges Adherence to Sanctions Against Russia

By Nigar Bayramli September 30, 2023

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Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made an official visit to Germany on September 28, 2023, where he had arrived for a summit between Germany and the five Central Asian states. / Tengrinews.kz

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan has affirmed his country's commitment to adhere to the Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

“Kazakhstan has unequivocally stated that it will adhere to the sanctions regime. We have contacts with the relevant organizations to ensure compliance with the sanctions regime, and I believe there should be no concerns on the part of the German side regarding any actions aimed at bypassing the sanctions regime,” he said on September 28.

President Tokayev made this statement while on an official visit to Germany to participate in a summit between Germany and the five Central Asian states, as reported by the news website Tengrinews.kz.

However, in an interview with the Kazinform agency, the Kazakh president denied that his country is “anti-Russia" and further said that Kazakhstan “adheres to a course of comprehensive cooperation with Russia, with which we share the world’s longest border.”

“When it comes to sanctions, I have noted in recent sessions of the United Nations General Assembly and in other speeches that sanctions, as a form of confrontation, are entirely counterproductive from the perspective of revitalizing international relations, which have eroded as a result of the escalation of the global situation,” he added.

President Tokayev further said that “Kazakhstan also does not engage in so-called parallel imports into Russia.” According to him, “last year, the volume of Kazakh-Russian trade reached 25 billion dollars.”

On September 29, referring to the Kazakh president’s reassurance to adhere to the anti-Russia sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that “we do not interfere in the Republic of Kazakhstan's relations with third countries. At the same time, we operate on the understanding that there is a comprehensive set of agreements between Moscow and Astana that define our relationship as a strategic partnership and alliance.”

“We expect that, together with our Kazakhstani partners, we will continue to work effectively to prevent any negative external influence on our good neighborly relations, including the extensive trade and economic cooperation that is highly beneficial to both countries and fully serves the interests of their peoples,” the ministry added. 

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Kazakhstan Daniel Rosenblum hailed Kazakhstan’s “effective” measures to prevent Russia from importing goods that could be used for military purposes in Ukraine.

He said that “the United States and Kazakhstan have closely collaborated on the control and monitoring of goods that could be imported into Russia,” and added that “the government has the right intentions, specifically, the control over goods and services that could be used for military purposes.” 

The Kazakh president also dismissed concerns about Russian territorial claims, stating that Kazakhstan had officially completed the delimitation of its border with Russia, and both countries' parliaments had ratified the agreement. The border between Kazakhstan and Russia spans 7,591 km. The issue of Russia's territorial claims to Kazakhstan dates back to the early 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, some Russian nationalist politicians have called for the “return” of a large portion of territories in Kazakhstan’s northern regions, asserting that they have always belonged to Russia. In response, Kazakhstan tightened its laws on territorial integrity and arrested several citizens of Russian origin on charges of separatism for supporting territorial claims on social media.