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Kazakhstan does not want to be behind new iron curtain - deputy minister

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: People walk past a gaint Kazakhstan flag in Astana

BERLIN (Reuters) - Companies exiting Russia due to the war in Ukraine are welcome to move production to Kazakhstan, the country's deputy foreign minister told a German newspaper, saying Kazakhstan would not want to be on the wrong side of a new "iron curtain."

Countries should not come merely to avoid sanctions against Russia, "but all companies with a good reputation that want to move their production here are welcome," Die Welt on Monday quoted Roman Vasilenko as saying.

"If there is a new iron curtain, we do not want to be behind it," he said, referring to the Western term for a dividing line between eastern and western Europe during the Cold War.

A raft of Western companies are shuttering businesses in Russia in response to pressure from consumers to take a stand against the invasion of Ukraine.

Kazakhstan has avoided criticising Russia's move to invade a fellow ex-Soviet republic, but Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said this month that all countries must strictly adhere to the norms and principles of the United Nations charter.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan Editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Potter)