Media reports say that the US and UK envoys told reporters in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, on April 25 that Kazakhstan may face consequences if it continues helping Russia evade Western sanctions. 

“The Kremlin has tasked its intelligence services with finding ways” to dodge the sanctions, by setting up shell companies or middlemen in third countries, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, US Department of the Treasury, Ms. Elizabeth Rosenberg, was cited as saying.

If Kazakh companies participate in these schemes, this will expose them and the country to the risk of secondary sanctions, Ms. Rosenberg said.

Kazakh companies “can keep their ties to the world’s most important markets, or they can be active participants in the Russian war effort by facilitating, or turning a blind eye to, the provision of goods that make their way to the battlefield,” Rosenberg added.

She was in Astana with Deputy Commerce Secretary Matthew Axelrod and UK Foreign Office representative David Reed.

Axelrod, for his part, insisted that the Western embargo has “disrupted Russia’s military-industrial supply chains and weapons procurement,” while Reed cited “open source trade information” to claim Kazakhstan is exporting goods sanctioned by the UK to Russia.

According to the Western envoys, their governments are working with Kazakhstan to stop the delivery of goods and services to [President Vladimir] “Putin’s war machine.”

Some media outlets reported on April 25 that after Kazakhstan, U.S. officials intend to travel to Uzbekistan for the same purpose.  The main task is to strengthen the implementation of sanctions and to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, the US Treasury reported.