Kazakhstan Refuses to Recognize Results of Russian Referendums in Ukraine

Dr. E.C. Beuck

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of KazakhstanRussian Government

After nearly seven months of conflict in Ukraine that has contributed to widespread destruction, displacement of the civilian population, and deaths in the tens of thousands, President Putin of Russia has pushed for the illegitimate authorities in the regions under occupation to move ahead with rigged voting efforts on their future. This is all to justify the annexation of large portions of Ukraine into Russia, something that has been prevented so far by the valiant efforts by the Ukrainian armed forces to push back the invaders.

Voting on referendums to secede from Ukraine to be annexed by Russia have been taking place since this past Friday in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the areas of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions under the control of the Russians. A core part of the new approach by President Putin to seize control over a large piece of Ukraine following disastrous military setbacks, the referendums have been hailed by many in the international community as a violation of international law. Though results are expected on Tuesday of this week, there are widespread expectations that the reported results will all highly favor joining Russia. After all, the Russian occupiers can report any result they want in the areas they have control over.

Many in the international community, the United States and Ukraine the foremost amongst them, have signaled they will refuse to recognize the results of the referendums. Even some of Russia’s allies have announced they will not recognize these results. Kazakhstan, one of the founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and a founder of the Eurasian Economic Union alongside Belarus, has announced that it will be taking the side of international law over the Russian referendums.

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has consistently called for the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine to be in line with the United Nations charter. Furthermore, Kazakhstan Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov has echoed this with statements that Kazakhstan recognizes the principles of territorial integrity of states, their sovereign equivalence, and peaceful coexistence. Further, Smadiyarov stated that they were ready at any time to assist in the establishment of dialogue towards the ending of the conflict, that stability in the region and beyond might be restored.

Though firm in their stance, Kazakhstan’s announcement that they will not recognize the results of the referendums is unlikely to impact the situation on the ground in Ukraine. What it does indicate, however, is that it is clear that should Russia follow through with annexing territory in Ukraine, it will not be recognized by most of the world, including some of its allies.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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