Blinken eyes US inroads in Central Asia as Ukraine rattles nerves

SECRETARY of State Antony Blinken is heading to Central Asia hoping that greater US engagement will reassure former Soviet republics rattled by the Ukraine war, although Russia’s historic clout limits the extent of cooperation.

Days after the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion, the top US diplomat will hold talks Tuesday in Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan and meet jointly with foreign ministers of all five ex-Soviet Central Asian states in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.