Ukraine: Russian troops forced out of key areas in Donbas

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The Kazakhstani Ministry of Defence gave the official reason for the cancellation as budget savings and “other issues”.

However many believe it serves as a clear sign to Moscow, given the importance of the celebration to Russia and post-Soviet unity.

Political science professor Taras Kuzio wrote on Twitter: “Russia has lost support in its own backyard.

“Only Lukashenka [President of Belarus] still sits in Putin’s pocket (for now).”

The central Asian nation was part of the USSR and declared independence on December 16 1991, yet it has maintained links with Russia through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of which they are both members along with China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The Kazakhstan government has expressed their disapproval of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with first deputy chief of staff of the Kazakhstani presidency Timur Suleimenov calling it a “war” and not a “special military operation” at an event in Washington DC.

The Atlantic Council described this statement as “meaningful” coming from a senior Kazakhstani official while in the US.

Kazakhstan has also sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and has refused to recognise the Russian-separatist states in the Donbas.

Anti-war protests have taken place amongst citizens in the country’s most populous city Almaty, with five thousand individuals congregating to voice their anger on March 6.

However, Kazakhstan has stopped short of outright condemnation of the war and it was one of a number of central Asian countries that abstained in a UN General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

It also did not vote for a US-sponsored resolution which would have enabled Russia to be suspended from the UN Human Rights Council.

Prominent Russian figures have spoken out at Nur-Sultan’s decision to not support the invasion, with Russian TV presenter Tigran Keosayan threatening the nation with a “Ukrainian scenario”.

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This puts Kazakhstan in a difficult position as they seek to show their support for Ukraine without angering their powerful neighbour and official ally.

According to Reuters, at least 46,000 people are thought to have perished in the war so far, with at least 400 people missing and at least 14 million displaced.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson travelled to Stockholm and Helsinki this week to sign agreements with Sweden and Finland, saying that the UK will come to their aid if they are attacked by Russia and vice versa.

The two Scandinavian countries have recently been considering joining NATO as a response to Putin’s ongoing aggression.

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