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Kazakhstan Rejects Russian Proposal Of Joint Response To Western Sanctions

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Pankin said the Eurasian Economic Union was working on a "consolidated response" to Western sanctions.

Kazakhstan has rebuffed a proposal floated by a senior Russian official of a joint response to Western sanctions against Moscow and its allies such as Belarus by the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) trade bloc.

Besides Russia and Kazakhstan, the EEU consists of three other ex-Soviet states -- Armenia, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Pankin said this week the EEU was working on a "consolidated response" to Western sanctions against some of its members.

However, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry on June 5 issued an unusual statement saying that the energy-rich Central Asian nation was against "politicizing" the trade bloc.

"In the context of discussing initiatives which are beyond the scope of the EEU Treaty, including those related to responding to sanctions imposed by third parties, we assume that Western sanctions are politically motivated and target individual nations rather than the EEU as a whole," the statement said.

"We would like to point out that the Republic of Kazakhstan is not involved in any talks on 'consolidated measures' by EEU nations in response to sanctions imposed by other countries."

Kazakhstan has close political and economic ties with Russia, but it is also pursuing close relations with the West and China.

Washington earlier this year slapped sanctions on Russia including curbs to its sovereign debt market, in response for interfering in last year’s U.S. election, hacking, bullying Ukraine, and other alleged malign actions.

This week, the European Union banned Belarusian airlines from flying over EU territory or having access to its airports, after Minsk forced a Ryanair jet to land in Minsk and arrested opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend.

With reporting by Reuters
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