Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday the commencement of gas supplies to Uzbekistan via Kazakhstan. This move is seen as a support to Russia’s industry, which has been impacted by a series of Western sanctions related to its actions in Ukraine. Despite having abundant natural resources, including gas, Uzbekistan has encountered energy shortages.
Moscow meanwhile relies heavily on energy revenues but has seen export plummet amid since the offensive.
“This is the largest trilateral energy project” between the three ex-Soviet countries, Putin said, after formally launching the shipment.
He was hosting a meeting in Moscow with his Uzbek and Kazakh counterparts, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
“The timely implementation of such… project shows that Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are capable of tackling the most complex and ambitious tasks,” Putin said.
“Kazakhstan will be able to solve the issue of gasification of its northern and eastern regions” while Uzbekistan will “gain another source of energy”.
Putin added that the leaders would during the afternoon discuss further cooperation in the energy sector.
Russia’s offensive against Ukraine has rattled nerves in Central Asian nations, including Kazakhstan, which has sought to distance itself from Moscow.
But the former Soviet states retain close political and economic ties with Russia.
Russian gas exports decreased by 21.5 percent in 2022 as the European Union, once the largest buyer of Russian gas, drastically reduced imports.