Russia’s war in Ukraine has loomed in the background of Pope Francis’ trip to the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, a Muslim-majority country located between Russia and China. Kazakhstan and Russia share a 4,750-mile border, and the former Soviet country has historically been regarded as Moscow’s greatest ally after Belarus.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has tried to balance the country’s relationship with Moscow with openness to the West.
Pope Francis met with Tokayev at the Presidential Palace in Nur-Sultan before addressing the country’s politicians and diplomats.
China’s President Xi Jinping is also expected to meet the Kazakh president on Sept. 14 on the Chinese leader’s way to a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Central Asia later this week.
“Those who hold greater power in the world have greater responsibility with regard to others, especially those countries most prone to unrest and conflict,” Pope Francis…