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Kazakhstan backs China’s Ukraine plan before Blinken visit

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Russian ally Kazakhstan expressed support on Saturday for a Chinese initiative to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, days ahead of a visit by the US Secretary of State.

Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said it welcomed China’s position “on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.”

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In a statement, the ministry said the proposal “deserves support as contributing to the cessation of bloodshed.”

Kazakhstan, which shares a 7,500 kilometer (4,660 mile) border with Russia, on Saturday also emphasized the importance of “territorial integrity” in China’s plan.

Kazakhstan is part of various military and economic alliances with Russia but has refused to support the invasion of Ukraine or recognize the Kremlin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

At the same time, it has abstained or voted against UN resolutions condemning Russia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan next week before going to New Delhi for a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, also due to be attended by Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

China’s 12-point paper calling for a “political settlement” of the crisis has been greeted with skepticism by Western leaders but Ukraine and Russia have expressed cautious support.

Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Russia’s assault on Friday, the paper urges all parties to “support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible.”

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