Putin: Russia intends to strengthen support for Kazakhstan

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his intention to boost military and other forms of support for Kazakhstan with the apparent aim of increasing Moscow’s influence in Central Asia.

Putin met with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev in Moscow on Thursday.

It was Tokayev’s first visit to the Russian capital after last month’s massive anti-government protests in Kazakhstan killed or injured scores. He had asked for help from a Russian-led military alliance to quell the protests, which he called “acts of terrorism”.

During the meeting, Putin justified sending alliance troops. He said that “Without exaggeration, Kazakhstan has been a victim of some international groups who have used the difficult situation in the country to their advantage”.

Tokayev expressed his gratitude for the deployment of what he called “a peacekeeping contingent”.

After the talks, Putin expressed his intention to provide Kazakhstan with full support in military training, energy and other areas. He told reporters that Russia would do everything possible to support the president of Kazakhstan.

Putin is at odds with the United States and European countries over the Ukraine crisis. Analysts say he could use Russia’s involvement in Kazakhstan to boost his influence in Central Asia, which Moscow sees as its backyard.