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Kazakh Lawmaker Calls Duma Member's Remarks About 'Russian Territories' Unacceptable

A senior Kazakh lawmaker has sharply criticized a Russian legislator who reportedly called for the return of what he said were "Russian territories temporarily taken by Kazakhstan."

In a statement made public on February 6, the chairman of the Kazakh parliament's Committee for Foreign Ties, Defense, and Security, Maulen Ashimbaev, said that Russian State Duma Deputy Pavel Shperov's remark was "unacceptable."

Ashimbaev said that Shperov's remarks "regarding territorial claims on not correspond to the spirit of friendly and neighborly ties between Kazakhstan and Russia."

Media reports quoted Shperov, a member of the Duma committee on Eurasian integration, as saying on January 26 that the Kazakh-Russian borders "are not eternal, and...the territories that are indeed ours will soon be returned to us."

Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry has also expressed concern about the remarks. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Shperov was not authorized to make official statements on Russian foreign policy.

Calls for changes in the Kazakh-Russian border have been made frequently by some Russian officials and public figures, including late Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and support for pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine have raised concerns among Russia's neighbors that the Kremlin may have designs on parts of their territory.

With reporting by and Kazinform

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