Putin lost a powerful centre of support in Central Asia: Kazakhstan decided to follow a civilised path and cut off Russian tentacles from its statehood. For Putin, this became an "unexpected challenge" because the six-foot-tall dictator has devoted the last decades to making the country dependent on the Kremlin. To this end, Putin initiated the creation of joint military alliances and supported the leadership of Kazakhstan. Nevertheless, after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Nur-Sultan went its own way: it refused to recognise the independence of the occupied Ukrainian LPR/DNR, joined Western sanctions and cut itself off from Russia's oil and gas network.
"Kazakhstan has promised to enforce Western sanctions against Moscow, said it would boost oil exports to Europe via routes that bypass Russia, upped its defence budget and hosted a U.S. delegation meant to coax the Central Asian country closer to Washington's orbit," The Wall Street Journal.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that Russia and Kazakhstan have a common border of 7.600 kilometres. It is the longest shared border after Canada and the United States. Unexpectedly for Russia, it now has a border union not only with a NATO country but also with Kazakhstan, which already has the support of China and Turkey.
In April, China's defence minister Wei Fenghe arrived in Astana for joint talks with Kazakhstan's president Toqaev, and, according to Chinese news sources, the parties reached agreements on strengthening cooperation in the military sphere.
Qasym-Jomart Toqaev also enlisted the support of Turkey. It became known that the production of Turkish drones is planned to be launched in Kazakhstan. We remind you that Turkey is a pro-Ukrainian country, and the manufacturer of drones, Bayraktar stated that its products will never be delivered to Russia.
Kazakhstan, a witness to Russia's war against Ukraine, began to increase its defence budget by several billion dollars and also began to reform the army.
"Kazakhstan has also learned lessons from Ukraine's fierce resistance, the official added, namely that it must reform its army to be more mobile and adept at combating hybrid warfare, which employs a mix of conventional warfare and methods like cyberwar, disinformation and election meddling," The Wall Street Journal.
Russia underestimated Kazakhstan: this country perfectly understands that the Kremlin will always need territory to realise its sick ambitions. "Imagine if they don't have Ukraine to abuse. Are we going to be next?" a senior Kazakhstan informant for The Wall Street Journal.