Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Tuesday. Putin emphasized the importance of the two countries maintaining a close relationship.
Putin's visit comes after his controversial remarks in August, when he suggested that Kazakhstan was only a state under its current president. At the time, Putin said that Nazarbayev "created" Kazakhstan's statehood, The Associated Press reports. His remarks caused concern in Kazakhstan, where people thought Putin's statements seemed to "question its future as an independent state," AP notes.
At today's meeting, Putin said Russia and Kazakhstan are "connected historically and today by a thousand threads, which unite us and help us develop, supporting each other."
AP notes that the conflict in Ukraine has "strained ties" between Putin and Nazarbayev, and trade between the two countries has dropped in recent months.