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Nazarbaev: Astana Could Quit EES If Independence Threatened

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev speaks to Khabar television.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said his country could quit an economic alliance with Russia and Belarus if membership ever threatens its independence.

Nazarbaev told the Khabar television channel on August 30 that Kazakhstan "has a full right to revoke its membership" in the Eurasian Economic Union (EES) if "regulations agreed upon earlier are not fulfilled."

He said that "Astana will never be a member of an organization that imposes threat to Kazakhstan's independence."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on August 29 that Nazarbaev "managed to create a state on a territory that never had statehood."

Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine have raised concerns in the West and among Russia's neighbors that the Kremlin may seek control over other parts of the former Soviet Union.

The EES is based on an existing Customs Union and is to start functioning on January 1, 2015.

Based on reporting by, and and