Not all of Putin’s old allies are on Russia’s side in the war of aggression against Ukraine. One of Moscow’s allies now spoke at the International World Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk – referring to the right to territorial integrity.

Kazakhstan will not recognize the eastern Ukrainian separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Friday at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. The UN’s right to self-determination conflicts with states’ right to territorial integrity. That’s why they don’t recognize Taiwan, Kosovo, Abkhazia or South Ossetia. “And this principle obviously also applies to quasi-state areas like Donetsk and Luhansk.”

Tokayev thus contrasted with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, whose guest of honor he sat on the podium in St. Petersburg. Russia has recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and cites their defense as one reason for the war against Ukraine.

Although Kazakhstan is a close Moscow ally, Tokayev did not fully support the Ukraine war. “There are different opinions, we are an open society,” he said. Again he referred to the right of states to integrity.

The president of the oil-rich country also assessed the global economic situation differently than Putin, who saw the dominance of the West coming to an end. There is a crisis, Tokayev said, according to Russian agencies. “But at the same time you have to see that the US and the West are overall solid in terms of economic development.”