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Kazakhstan Won't Help Russia to Bust Sanctions – President

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Kazakhstan's leader said Thursday his country would not help Russia circumvent Western sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine, amid suspicions that Moscow is still receiving vital goods via Central Asian nations.

"Kazakhstan has unambiguously stated that it will follow the sanctions regime," said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev following talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"We have contacts with the relevant organizations to comply with the sanctions regime, and I think there should not be any concerns on the German side about possible actions aimed at circumventing the sanctions regime."

Moscow's invasion of Ukraine has rattled nerves in Central Asian nations, including Kazakhstan, which has sought to distance itself from Moscow's assault.

Astana has not recognized east and southern Ukrainian regions occupied by Moscow as part of Russia.

But the close economic and military ally of Russia, with which it shares a 7,500-kilometer border, has been repeatedly accused of helping its larger neighbor obtain goods in violation of sanctions.

In their 11th sanctions package, the EU sought to crack down on re-exports of sensitive goods by third countries to Russia with a measure allowing it to restrict certain exports to states that don't cooperate.

At the same time, Western nations have been seeking increasingly to seek a bigger role in Central Asia at a time when some in the region are questioning their long-standing ties with Russia.

Besides Tokayev, Scholz will be also hosting the leaders of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan for joint talks on Friday.

The meeting with the five Central Asian leaders would be the first joint gathering of its kind with an EU country.

Germany also has an interest in the energy-rich region as Berlin has been seeking alternative sources of power after its supplies from Russia dried up.

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