Kazakh authorities have rejected a demand by Russia’s Foreign Ministry to expel Ukraine’s ambassador to Kazakhstan, Petro Vrublevskiy, over his comments in August about killing Russians, RFERL transmits.
Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov said on October 5 that the tone of Moscow’s request to expel the Ukrainian ambassador, made the day before, was “dissonant to the character of the allied mutual ties between Kazakhstan and Russia as equal strategic partners.”
Smadyarov also said that Russian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Aleksei Borodavkin was summoned to the Foreign Ministry later in the day over the situation.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on October 4 that Moscow was “outraged” by the fact that Vrublevskiy remained in Kazakhstan, adding that Kazakh Ambassador to Russia Ermek Kosherbaev had been summoned over the issue.
Smadyarov said that Astana and Kyiv had a “full understanding” of the situation and that a decision on the diplomat leaving Kazakhstan would be made solely by Kyiv.
Vrublevskiy found himself at the center of a scandal in August, after he said in an interview with noted Kazakh blogger Dias Kuzairov that “the more Russians we kill now, the fewer of them our children will have to kill in the future.”
Moscow and Russian organizations in Kazakhstan demanded Astana expel the diplomat for his controversial statement, but Kazakh authorities refused, though they did ask Kyiv to replace him.
On October 4, a court in the northern city of Pavlodar sentenced Kuzairov to five days in jail on hooliganism charges after he asked Russian citizens who fled to Kazakhstan to evade a mobilization to fight for Russia in the war it launched against Ukraine if they supported the conflict.
Kazakhstan, which has aligned itself as Russia’s economic ally, has not officially condemned Moscow’s military aggression against Ukraine since it was launched in late February.