KYIV -- Ukraine has voiced concern over Kazakh President President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev's description of Russia's takeover of Crimea, when he said it wasn't an annexation.
"Ukraine has always viewed Kazakhstan as its partner and friend," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on December 4.
"The principles of mutual trust, respect for independence, state sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders...as well as steady observance of generally recognized norms of international law, underlie the interstate relations between Ukraine and the Republic of Kazakhstan."
The statement was in reference to an interview that Toqaev gave to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which was published the same day.
In the interview, Toqaev said the "accession" of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 to Russia wasn't an annexation.
"We don't call that which happened in Crimea an annexation," the Kazakh president said. "That which happened, happened. Annexation is too heavy of a word to apply to Crimea."
Toqaev is on an official visit to Germany on December 5-6 for the first time as president.
Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said in its statement that "Kazakhstan reiterates its commitment to the fundamental principles of international law in accordance with the UN Charter" and that in Kazakhstan "they treat the decision of the Russian Federation with understanding".
International organizations, including the UN, have condemned the occupation of Crimea by Russia.
The United States, EU, Canada, Japan, as well as other countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia over Crimea.
Russia calls its annexation of the peninsula a "restoration of historical justice."
Ukraine has said it will issue an official note of protest to Kazakhstan over Toqaev's statement.