Kazakh leader thanks Putin for help during January unrest

MOSCOW: Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev thanked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday for helping end violent unrest in the Central Asian nation last month, which both leaders blamed on international "bandits" and "terrorists".

Putin said Kazakhstan, Moscow's close ally, was now firmly standing on its feet and expressed hope the two countries would continue their cooperation.

A Russia-led security bloc sent troops to Kazakhstan last month amid the worst unrest in the former Soviet republic's post-Soviet history which Nur-Sultan and Moscow have both described as a coup attempt.

Tokayev sidelined his former patron, ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev, during the unrest and has since removed a number of his relatives from prominent positions in the government and state companies.

In his first visit to Moscow as a full-fledged leader, Tokayev oversaw the signing of an agreement under which Russian nuclear firm Rosatom will train Kazakh nuclear power engineers.

Kazakhstan has no nuclear power plants, but plans to build at least one, and the choice of a training partner could indicate that Rosatom was likely to build the plant as well.

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