Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – from September 24 to September 30, 2022

Central Asia geoplitical watch team : Sophie Marc, Aliya Yechshanova, Paul Dza

09/26/2022 : Kazakhstan announces its refusal to recognise the referendums held in Ukrainian territories occupied by pro-Russian forces – Paul Dza –

On 29 September, Kazakhstan announced through its Foreign Ministry spokesman that it would not recognise the results of consultations on the attachment of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions to the Russian Federation. These referendums took place from 23 to 27 September in areas occupied by Russian and pro-Russian troops in Ukraine, and deemed illegal by Kiev and its Western allies.

This statement is in line with the position previously expressed by the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokaev, who had already stated in June that “the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk were ‘quasi-states’, which Kazakhstan would not recognise”.

09/26/2022: Kazakhstan conducts military exercises within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) – Aliya Yechshanova-

On 26 September the strategic exercise “Aibalta-2022″ began in the Zhambyl and Almaty regions of southern and southeastern Kazakhstan as part of a series of operational and tactical exercises until 8 October. The troops are carrying out combat training tasks based on decisions taken by the commanders-in-chief and commanders in charge during the first phase. These include the CSTO exercises “Interaction-2022”, “Search-2022” and “Echelon-2022”, which are linked by a single concept. These manoeuvres are conducted annually on the territory of a CSTO country.

“Interaction-2022″ is aimed at refining the preparation and conduct of a joint operation to localise an armed conflict in the Central Asian region of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

“Search-2022” focuses on the organisation and conduct of reconnaissance by the intelligence agencies of the CSTO member states in the interest of the CSTO’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force.

The special exercise “Echelon-2022” focuses on the logistical support of troops. Rail transport, fuel and ammunition supplies, repair of weapons and equipment in the field, clothing, food and medical support have already been organised.

It is not only the armed forces that will be participating in the exercise. Representatives from the special forces formations of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Emergency Situations troops, which are part of the Collective Rapid Reaction Force, will be involved.

The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

09/28/2022: High Russian immigration to Kazakhstan since the announcement of the partial mobilisation in Russia – Sophie Marc –

In a statement dated 28 September, Aslan Atalykov, a senior official in Kazakhstan’s Ministry of the Interior, said that 100,000 Russian citizens had arrived in the country since 21 September – when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation for the war in Ukraine. This second wave is in addition to a first wave of Russian immigration that took place in February when the war in Ukraine was announced. Some of these immigrants use Kazakhstan only as a transit country, but most of them decide to stay.

Reactions to this high level of immigration are mixed. Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev said: “In recent days we are receiving many people from Russia, most of whom are forced to leave because of a hopeless situation. We have to take care of them and guarantee their safety. It is a political and humanitarian issue. He also said that these Russians “will not have privileges” and that in his country “there is no crisis or panic” before mentioning that “negotiations” were underway with Moscow, to “solve this [migration] problem in the interests of Kazakhstan”.

The country is not currently considering closing its borders to Russian citizens, but it is still facing difficulties in receiving them all: hotels and hostels are reportedly full and rent prices are rising. The Interior Ministry this week published a proposal to amend immigration rules that would require Russians to have a passport if they stay longer than three months.

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