Amu Region

French President Macron arrives in Kazakhstan amid Russia’s disapproving gaze

French President Emmanuel Macron landed in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, marking the initial destination on his journey through Central Asia. This region, traditionally considered Russia’s sphere of influence, has garnered heightened attention from Western nations since the eruption of the conflict in Ukraine.

The oil-rich nation of Kazakhstan has stepped up as an alternative supplier of crude for European countries seeking to reduce their reliance on Russian resources. Furthermore, it plays a pivotal role in the newly established China-Europe trade route that circumvents Russia.

During his meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Macron commended Astana for not aligning with Moscow’s stance on the Ukraine issue. He also announced that the two countries intended to formalize substantial business agreements.

Russia has consistently expressed apprehension regarding increased Western diplomatic activity in the former Soviet Central Asian countries. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated last week that the West was attempting to lure away Russia’s “neighbors, friends, and allies.”

Kazakhstan, as well as Uzbekistan, Macron’s subsequent destination, have steadfastly refused to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories. Both nations have also pledged to adhere to Western sanctions against Moscow, while simultaneously designating Russia and Western countries such as France as their strategic partners.

In addition to its oil reserves, Kazakhstan is a notable uranium exporter, with France’s Orano already operating a joint venture alongside the state nuclear firm Kazatomprom. The Kazakh government disclosed that the discussions between the two nations would encompass topics related to energy cooperation, trade, and regional and global affairs.

“Your visit can be deemed historic and of great importance,” President Tokayev expressed to Macron.