Isolated by the war in Ukraine, Russia continues to draw closer to its Central Asian neighbors. A new interpretation this Saturday, October 7, with a ceremony bringing together Russian, Kazakh and Uzbek leaders to celebrate the export of Russian gas to Uzbekistan via Kazakhstan.
«Permission granted“. Flanked by his Uzbek colleagues Shavkat Mirziov and Kazakh Kasim-Jomart Togayev, he holds hands, Vladimir Putin gives the kick-off in person from his residence near Moscow: the taps are open and Russian gas is flowing. Flowing to the new. Destination: Central Asia.
«Our gas will arrive in Uzbekistan via Kazakhstan, where the fuel will also be supplied», declares the Russian President. “This is the first time that gas produced in Russia will be transported to Central Asia. It will help ensure the energy security of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the entire region.»
«We are open for further cooperation», underlined Vladimir Putin. These are “Important, significant in the energy sector in general, not just in connection with gas supply“, he assured.
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Moscow’s continued influence in the former Soviet sphere
With the deal, Vladimir Putin also found new outlets for his significant gas reserves. Since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, its gas exports have fallen by more than 25%, according to official figures. The European Union, previously the largest customer of Russian gas, is notable It has drastically reduced its imports over the past year.
It also allows him to demonstrate Moscow’s continued influence in the former Soviet sphere. Such a deal may come as a surprise if we know that Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas.
Tashkent and Astana have sought to diversify their economic partners away from Moscow in recent months. But there are some benefits that are clearly undeniable.
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