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US needs to better protect our allies while fighting Russia, especially in Central Asia

Kamran Bokhari

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Russia’s war on Ukraine has been one of those globally disruptive events with the geo-economic fallout reverberating across the planet. The past year has been especially tough for the countries in Moscow’s strategic eco-system. These states have been trying to walk between the raindrops: avoiding the sanctions fallout, while preserving difficult relations and vital economic ties with the Kremlin. President Biden needs to remember that.

It is particularly challenging for Kazakhstan, which for decades has been trying to enhance relations with the West. The Central Asian nation supports the much-needed international sanctions to compel Russia to end its aggression against Ukraine. However, Astana is geopolitically tethered to the Kremlin, and was rocked by unprecedented social unrest only weeks before Moscow launched its war against Kyiv.

The Feb. 16 phone call between President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky is just the latest in how Kazakhstan is trying to maintain a balancing act between Russia and the United States and Europe. Tokayev re-emphasized the urgent need for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in keeping with the U.N. charter and international law.

Read more in The Hill.