Top Russian Officials Meet With Central Asian Leaders As West Imposes Sanctions

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko have held talks with leaders of three Central Asian states as the West imposes sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin's press service said on February 25 that Putin held telephone talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev to discuss bilateral ties and the ongoing situation in Ukraine, where Russian military forces continue attacks on units of the Ukrainian armed forces that they started a day earlier.

"Shavkat Mirziyoev expressed understanding for the actions undertaken by the Russian side," the press service said.

Hours earlier, the Kazakh presidential press service said on February 25 that Toqaev and Mishustin discussed, among other issues, "joint efforts to prevent the decrease of trade volume between the two nations amid the escalation of the situation in Ukraine and the international sanctions being imposed on Russia."

Mishustin arrived in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, a day earlier to take part in a session of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.

Also on February 25, Matviyenko discussed trade and economic ties with top officials of Tajikistan in Dushanbe.

Matviyenko said that in 2021 the trade volume between the two countries increased by 45 percent and reached a level higher than it was before the pandemic.

Matviyenko also said that Russia will impose sanctions against the West in a reciprocal manner as "the West also has many sensitive sites."

According to Matviyenko, Putin was expected to pay an official visit to Dushanbe soon. She did not give exact dates.

The talks between Russia and the three Central Asian countries were held as European Union leaders have agreed to impose additional sanctions against Russia that they say will have "massive and severe consequences" in response to Putin's "barbaric" invasion of Ukraine.

The day before, U.S. President Joe Biden, announced another round of harsh U.S. sanctions against Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.

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