Central Asian Kazakhstan has cancelled a concert featuring Russian singer Grigory Leps following a wave of outcry over his support of the invasion of Ukraine, local officials announced on Monday.
The ex-Soviet republic retains close ties with Moscow but tries to maintain diplomatic neutrality on Ukraine in an effort to keep good ties with both Russia and the West.
"Kazakhs are speaking out on social media against Russian singer Grigory Leps, who supports the Russian occupation of Ukraine. The group organizing the concert decided to cancel it," said officials from the southeastern Almaty region.
The decision to cancel came a few days after Leps promised to do everything possible to help Russia’s military.
"We’ll do everything we can for our military, whether that's singing or financially supporting our soldiers," he said during a forum in Saint Petersburg in mid-June, according to local media reports.
He also supported another artist’s proposal to give a million rubles ($12,000) for every Ukrainian tank destroyed in the conflict.
Vladimir Yuriupin, Leps’ manager, minimized the cancellation.
"It’s not a big deal. We can do without Kazakhstan. We support our country and will continue to do so," he said on Russian news website Gazeta.ru.
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