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Russia warns West against undermining its relations with Central Asia

Moscow will not stay quiet if the West forces Central Asian countries to undermine their relations with Russia, the Russian foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Addressing the press after a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Murat Nurtleu in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov said Russia’s Eurasian partners “know what we are talking about.”

In late February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Astana, where he participated in a meeting of C5+1 group, and Tashkent. The so-called platform is made up of the US and the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The State Department said the ministerial meeting was to focus on “enhancing economic, energy and environmental, and security cooperation” between the US and the five Central Asian states.

Lavrov said Russia supports the idea of Eurasia’s participation in a wide-ranging integration process, noting that the Eurasian Economic Union has already established relations with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

He added that similar relations established between the Commonwealth of Independent States and SCO, and the SCO and Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

“So such a network of cross-contacts and connections is already being formed, and I am convinced that these processes will make it possible to transfer contacts into achieving real, practical, material benefits for all participants in these processes,” he said.

The minister argued he does not see any changes in the West’s position on Ukraine, saying it continues to maintain a “confrontational line.”

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