Kazakhstan rejects Russian demand to expel Ukrainian ambassador

18:03 05 October Kyiv, Ukraine

On Wednesday, October 5, Kazakh authorities rejected a Russian demand to expel Ukrainian Ambassador Piotr Vrublevskiy over comments about Russian killings, chiding Moscow for what they called the inappropriate tone between "equal strategic partners."

It is reported by Reuters.

Tensions flared after Ukraine's ambassador to Astana, Petr Vrublevsky, told a local blogger in August, referring to Russians and the war in Ukraine, that "the more we kill Russians, the less our children will have to kill.". In response, Russia pressed Kazakhstan to expel the diplomat, but Astana asked Kyiv to replace him, saying his comments were unacceptable for a country with a large ethnic Russian minority.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Tuesday, October 4, said that Moscow was "outraged" that Vrublevsky was still in Astana and called the Kazakh ambassador.

Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiarov on Wednesday, October 5, called Zakharova's tone "not consistent with the nature of allied relations between Kazakhstan and Russia as equal strategic partners," adding that the Russian ambassador, in turn, would be summoned to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

Smadiyarov said that Vrublevsky would leave Kazakhstan when a new Ukrainian ambassador was appointed.