Blinken holds talks with Central Asian nations
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Central Asia Tuesday (28 February) to meet officials from all five former Soviet republics following the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Today I’m embarking on a trip to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and India. It will be my first time as Secretary visiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan — and I look forward to advancing our Central Asian partnerships. From there, I’ll head to India for the #G20 Ministerial. pic.twitter.com/ut18nMTy9j
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 27, 2023
Leaders in the region have been emboldened to stand up to Russia by their new-found leverage as Moscow looks to their markets and trade routes in a bid to circumvent Western sanctions.
In Astana on Tuesday, Blinken told Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi that Washington supports the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Kazakhstan, which won independence from Moscow in 1991.
Blinken will also meet Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who was re-elected in a landslide in November and has pushed back publicly against territorial claims made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.