Ukraine removes ambassador to Kazakhstan after row with Moscow

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Ukraine has removed its ambassador to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, according to a decree published on the presidential website, after remarks he made about Russia spurred condemnation from Moscow.

Russia's foreign ministry had urged Kazakhstan to expel Petro Vrublevsky after he gave an interview in which he made comments about “killing” Russians.

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He later apologized for the remarks.

Astana had said it communicated the “unacceptability” of Vrublevsky's statement to Kyiv and an agreement had been reached for his recall.

The decree published by Ukraine's presidency on Tuesday evening did not specify why the ambassador was relieved of his duties and did not appoint a replacement.

In early October, Kazakhstan's foreign ministry summoned Russia's ambassador in the ex-Soviet country for a “serious talk” following Moscow's demands to expel the country's Ukraine envoy.

Ties between Russia and Kazakhstan have been strained since the launch of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, with the Central Asian country seeking to balance ties with the West and ally Moscow.

Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has publicly disagreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine.

He also assured the safety of thousands of Russians fleeing to Kazakhstan after the announcement of Moscow's military call-up in September.

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