The silent reaction of the Central Asian countries to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine provoked mixed reactions in post-Soviet countries, including Central Asia. In some countries, the level of this reaction can only be judged by social networks. In other countries, the reaction against Moscow’s actions has even reached demonstrations and demonstrations. At the same time, the presence of a large number of supporters of Vladimir Putin who support the attack of Russian troops on the territory of a neighboring country is impressive. However, at the official level, all countries in the region are in a precarious position until the end of the conflict.

SILENCE IS GOLD?

The day after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began, Federal Council President Valentina Matviyenko arrived in Tajikistan to attend an interparliamentary forum. In a meeting with the President of the Majlisi Milli, Rustam Emomali, son of the President of Tajikistan, said that he informed the country’s leadership about the crisis in Ukraine. “Tajik colleagues, our friends are watching closely and everyone knows,” Matvienko said.

The press service of the President of Tajikistan disseminated information about the results of the meeting between Emomali Rahmon and Valentina Matvienko, without mentioning the situation in Ukraine: “During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the rapidly changing political situation in the world. the escalation of conflict in some areas, the political situation in Afghanistan and the struggle against the threats and challenges of the modern world. “

No official statements have been made by the presidential administration, politicians or members of parliament regarding the events in Ukraine. On February 24, the state-run Khovar news agency quoted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as saying that Russia’s military operation in Donbas was in violation of UN principles. However, the news was deleted shortly after it appeared on the state news website.

Parviz Mullojanov, a Tajik political scientist, believes that the countries of the region are pursuing a policy of neutrality over events such as the military conflict with Georgia in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, which other countries in the world have not done. recognize.

“The common position of the countries is to maintain their relations with Russia and at the same time, in the face of harsh sanctions, not to damage their relations with the West,” Mullojanov said. However, according to the expert, the current crisis is much more difficult than the previous ones. And so Moscow can demand a clearer position from its allies.

Inconsistencies in statements

Probably because of this, serious disagreements arose between the Kremlin press services and the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. On February 26, the Kremlin announced a conversation between Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov. The Putin government has said that the Kyrgyz leadership has backed Russian operations in Ukraine. However, the press service of the President of Kyrgyzstan published only a brief report on the telephone conversation.

“Today, February 26, a telephone conversation took place between the Presidents of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and Russia Vladimir Putin. The leaders of the countries discussed current issues of the current agenda of Kyrgyzstan-Russia cooperation. “and regional security issues, including the emerging situation around Ukraine,” said Kyrgyzstan’s spokesman.

A day earlier, on February 25, the Russian press service reported that in a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and the President of Uzbekistan, the latter stated that he understood Russia’s actions. However, Sergei Asadov, a spokesman for the Uzbek president, said in a telephone interview that “Uzbekistan is pursuing a balanced and neutral policy regarding Russian military operations in Ukraine.”

“For security reasons

Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev has not yet commented on the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian media reported at the beginning of the Russian military operation that Kazakhstan refused to send its troops to Ukraine and recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk republics.

However, Maulen Ashimbayev, chairman of the Kazakh Senate, said Russia had not asked for help. The Kazakh politician noted that “according to the charter, Kazakhstan can send its peacekeeping forces out of the territory of the CSTO countries under the auspices of the UN. The CSTO peacekeeping forces can only be used in the territory of the participating countries. The conflict zone is not included in the territory of the participating countries.

On February 22, Tokayev and Putin had a telephone conversation, during which the Russian President “informed the President of Kazakhstan about the position of the Russian leadership on Ukraine.” However, the messages on the website of the President of Kazakhstan during this period focused only on reducing the negative effects of the Ukrainian crisis on the economy of Kazakhstan and did not cover the relations between the two countries or their leaders.

Ashgabat, as always, is silent.

“The reaction of the countries of the region to Ukraine is expected and shows that the issue is very sensitive and controversial. All countries know that they do not really recognize the reasons for the start of hostilities in Ukraine. At the moment, they are all very close and dependent on Russia and can not speak negatively about the situation in Ukraine, “said Emil Juraev, a professor at the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan.

While the authorities refrain from commenting on the events in Ukraine, the citizens of the region are more active. Conflicts between supporters of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and supporters of Putin on social media stand out for their sharp belligerence.

In Almaty and Bishkek, dozens of young activists demonstrated in front of Russian diplomatic missions against the war in Ukraine.

On the night of February 24, Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarizing and demilitarizing” Ukraine. Explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkov, Odessa, Kramatorsk and Berdyansk, and rocket attacks began. The Ukrainian Border Guard Service reported on military operations in the border sections of the Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr regions, as well as on the Crimean side.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and other countries are imposing new and tougher economic sanctions on Moscow. After EU countries began supplying weapons to Ukraine, Vladimir Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on “special alert.”

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