Kazakhstan Suspends Arms Exports Amid Sanctions On Russia

Kazakhstan on Saturday suspended exports of weapons and military products for one year.

A defense industry commission meeting was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, the president’s office said in a statement.

The proposal by the Industry and Infrastructure Development Ministry to suspend exports of weapons, military equipment and military products until the end of August 2023 was evaluated and it was approved by the commission members.

Kazakhstan, a neighbour and ally of Russia, has suspended all arms exports for a year, its government said on Saturday (27 August), amid conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Moscow.

The former Soviet republic – which also has active economic ties with Kyiv – has avoided taking sides in the Ukrainian crisis while calling for its peaceful resolution.

The Kazakh government did not give a reason in Saturday’s statement for the decision to halt arms exports.

Kazakhstan produces a wide range of military equipment including boats, armoured and artillery vehicles, machine guns, night visors, grenades, torpedoes and protective gear. The government has not said these items were being exported.

The Russian press carried publications alleging that Kazakhstan exported arms and ammunition to Ukraine via proxies, by order from the UK.

Arms trade to problematic clients is often done by proxies. EU member Bulgaria officially says it doesn’t export weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, but a lot of its military production ends up in Ukraine via proxies.

The President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 19 August. The short readouts from the meeting didn’t mention Kazakh arms trade among the issues discussed.

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