War in Ukraine: what are the reactions of the countries allied with Moscow after the offensive of the Russian army?



Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Thursday, February 24, many countries unite to sanction the armed way. But is Russia therefore isolated? What do its historical or more recent allies think of this conflict?

Some friendly countries have opted for military support, most for symbolic support. Others kick in touch, and do not react or little since the recognition of independence of pro-Russian separatist regions by Vladimir Putin, Monday, February 21.

>> Follow in our live the latest news of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Whereas Belarus welcomes talks between Kiev and Moscow, this Monday, February 28, franceinfo takes stock of the variable geometry attitude of Russia’s allies.

Belarus, an active ally in the offensive

Even before the invasion of Ukraine launched by Moscow, thousands of Russian soldiers had been deployed in Belarus for several weeks, officially for “exercises”. Since Thursday, the country has served as a launching pad for the operation, in particular for the attack on Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

The sanctions that have been implemented against Russia have spilled over into Belarus. Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, announced on Twitter on Saturday that 57 Belarusians would be sanctioned, in addition to “dozens of sanctions already imposed on the regime of Alexander Lukashenko”.

The president, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for nearly three decades, has grown considerably closer to Vladimir Putin in recent months. The latter has provided him with support, in particular financial, since a vast protest movement which rocked Belarusian power in 2020, before being repressed.

On Sunday, the power had the adoption by referendum of amendments to the Constitution allowing Moscow to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, which until now was a “nuclear-free zone”. Mid February, Alexander Lukashenko declared that his country was ready to welcome “not only nuclear weapons, but also supernuclear weapons” in case of “threatens”.

This February 28, Belarus has improvised itself as the mediator of this conflict in which it is nevertheless a stakeholder. DDirect talks began between Ukraine and Russia, on Belarusian territory, not far from the border with Ukraine, on the Pripyat River, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

North Korea and Syria, unwavering supporters

Ihe United States is “the root cause” of this crisis, estimated the North Korean government on Friday, the day after the invasion of Ukraine. Washington has pursued a policy of “military supremacy in defiance of Russia’s legitimate demand for its security”completes a message published on Saturday on the website of the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This declaration, signed with the name of a researcher, can be analyzed as an official reaction “discreet” of Pyongyang, according to Park Won-gon, professor of North Korean studies at Ewha University in Seoul (South Korea), interviewed by AFP.

North Korea is only supported by a few states, mainly China and Russia. Moscow has long opposed international pressure on Pyongyang over its weapons programs, and has even called for an easing of sanctions against that country.

>> Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Central African Republic: how Vladimir Putin’s Russia is extending its sphere of influence

Syria, historically linked to the Soviet Union until 1991 and then to Russia by military agreements, also clearly leans on the Russian side. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Friday called the invasion of Ukraine a “editing history” in a Facebook post. Since 2015, the Russia, which has two military bases in Syria, intervenes militarily in support of Bashar Al-Assad against the rebels and the jihadists. More than 63,000 Russian servicemen fought in Syria.

Venezuela, the unfailing ally in South America

“Venezuela is with Putin”, Nicol├ís Maduro said on Tuesday, before the invasion of Ukraine. The country has already supported Russia, the president recalled. His predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez (1999-2013), recognized the independence of South Ossetia in 2008 during the conflict with Georgia.

Nicolas Maduro himself benefited from the support of Russia, while his controversial re-election in 2018 was not recognized by part of the international community and in particular by the United States, which seeks to oust him from power.

Venezuela is a “strategic partner of Russia”. Before the start of the war in Ukraine, the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Ryabkov, had not ruled out a Russian military deployment in Venezuela and Cuba.

Cuba and Iran, supporters for whom “war is not the solution”

Several countries friendly to Russia refuse to condemn or sanction the attack on Ukraine, but call for a halt to military operations. Iran thus estimated on Thursday that “War was not a solution”, considering the eventual expansion of NATO as a “serious threat”.

This is also the case of Cuba, a traditional ally of Russia, which has asked for an end to the conflict “by peaceful means” while castigating the resolution presented Friday to the UN Security Council condemning “aggression” Russia in Ukraine, against which Moscow has vetoed. Just before the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Cuba had already called on the United States and NATO to respond to the “well-founded claims for security guarantees” of Russia, considering that it had the “right to self-defense“.

China, the discreet friend

China is on a diplomatic crest line on the Ukrainian file. Several Chinese state-owned banks have since the invasion limited the financing of commodity purchases in Russia, the agency reported. Bloomberg Saturday (paid article, in English). Chinese financial institutions take sanctions compliance seriously, says Ben Kostrzewa, legal consultant in Hong Kong, to Bloomberg: “They don’t want to be sanctioned themselves, they can’t lose access to US dollar transactions.”

>> War in Ukraine: Canberra accuses Beijing of complacency with Russia on the background of the wheat market

Yet China and Russia have strengthened their ties considerably since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and subsequent Western sanctions. At the beginning of February, theuring a visit to Beijing on the occasion of the Olympic Games, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed important agreements with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The two countries have particularly strengthened their cooperation in the financial sector and gas supply. Ia China is one of the main buyers of Russian gas and oil.

“So far there are partnerships between Russia and China, but there is absolutely no military alliance”emphasizes the researcher Anna Colin Lebedevinterviewed by Brut. “So to date, there is no reason for China to intervene in this armed conflict which is still very, very far from its borders.”

The Gulf countries, caution above all

In the past, the wealthy Gulf monarchies, long protected by the United States, would not have hesitated to line up behind the defenders of Ukraine. But today, the strengthening of their links with Russia in terms of energy, finance and security pushes them to find a new balance. The United Arab Emirates also abstained during the vote at the UN Security Council on Friday on a resolution co-written by the United States asking Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. For their part, Kuwait and Qatar remained very discreet, refusing to condemn the attack by the Russian army. As for Saudi Arabia, it preferred not to speak officially.



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