12 September 2022 17: 30
Headings: World Opinions Policy

The isolation of the Russian Federation is not total: where does Russia get help for the war with Ukraine?

Although Ukraine has received a huge amount of help from around the world since the Russian invasion, Russia's overt and covert support should not be discounted.

John Ruel
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The isolation of the Russian Federation is not total: where does Russia get help for the war with Ukraine?

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Kyiv has received enormous assistance - military and financial - from various sources, primarily from the United States. Despite calls to completely stop cooperation with the Russian Federation and stop providing any assistance to Russia, there are countries that openly or covertly support the Russian Federation. This is written by an Australian-American journalist John Ruel in material for AsiaTimes.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.

August 24, Independence Day of Ukraine, The United States has provided the country with a $3 billion military aid package.. This is in addition to more than $80 billion in support Kyiv has already received between January 24 and August 3, most of which was provided by the US, UK and the European Union.

In addition to receiving Western weapons systems, military data and training, the Ukrainian armed forces have been reinforced by foreign volunteers serving in the International Legion.

Because third parties caught aiding Russia are at risk of U.S. financial sanctions, open support for the Kremlin was largely provided only by rogue statesalready isolated from Washington and Brussels. The isolation of Russia was recorded in the UN resolution of March 2, when 141 countries voted to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, 35 abstained, and only four - Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Eritrea - backed the Kremlin.

Even most of Russia's key post-Soviet allies that are part of its international organizations - the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), avoid supporting Moscow.

For example, the Kazakhstan, a member of both organizations, moved in July to begin exporting its oil across the Caspian Sea, bypassing Russian-controlled oil pipelines. This directly undermines the Kremlin's strategy to limit oil supplies to Europe, which jeopardizes the energy security of the region.

Support for Belarus

The main exception among the post-Soviet states is Belarusb. Over the past decade, President Alexander Lukashenko sent Belarus further and further into the orbit of Russia. Attracted by cheap Russian oil and gas and lucrative transit fees for transiting those goods to Europe, Lukashenko is also increasingly relying on Russian security forces to enforce his rule, as became evident during the 2020 Belarusian protests.

Lukashenka's response to popular protests in 2020 essentially blocked all avenues for cooperation with the West. But growing Belarusian support for Russia over Ukraine has been evident over the years.

In 2017 year Belarusian authorities detained a 19-year-old Ukrainianwho arrived in Belarus and deported him to Russia to face charges of terrorism. Therefore, there was nothing surprising in the fact that Lukashenka allowed Russian troops to invade Ukraine from Belarusian territory in February 2022.

Belarus continues to help the Russian military, including allowing Russia “launch ballistic missiles from Belarusian territory, allowing the transport of Russian military and heavy weapons, tanks and military transporters, allowing Russian military aircraft to fly through Belarusian airspace to Ukraine, providing refueling points and storing Russian weapons and military equipment in Belarus”, - said the European Council.

Belarus has also conducted its own troop movements near the Ukrainian border on numerous occasions since the start of the Russian invasion to confuse Ukrainian forces. And while Belarus has not sent its armed forces to Ukraine, Russia has gained access to a stream of foreign volunteers, mostly from Europe, since Russia's first military actions in Crimea in 2014.

Mercenary Support

Russia's strategy for attracting volunteers has changed since the invasion of Ukraine began. While this is far from Western think tanks' estimates of 40 Syrian fighters who crossed into Russia in March, by April there were hundreds of mercenaries from Syria and Libya, where the Russian military is also involved. The rotation of the Russian military alleviates the Kremlin's need for more soldiers without resorting to conscription.

In addition, in June, the Syrian government recognized the independence of the Russian-backed LDNR.

The Iranian government, meanwhile, said in July that "supports Russia's war in the face of NATO aggression". Under heavy Western sanctions, Iranian forces have been fighting alongside the Russian military in Syria since 2015. Since the invasion of Ukraine, the two countries have also expanded bilateral relations through energy and arms deals, building on years of growing ties in both areas.

While Russia usually supplies weapons to Iran, Russian troops faced with a shortage of drones in Ukraine. In recent months, Russian officials have allegedly repeatedly visited Iranian airfields to inspect Iranian-made drones, with the first shipments of these drones from Iran arriving in Russia in August.

Chinese support

In March, Russia approached China for financial and material assistance, U.S. officials said, but those claims were rejected by Moscow and Beijing. Both Russia and Ukraine use Chinese drones to attack each other, prompting Chinese company Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), the world's leading manufacturer of civilian drones, to stop sales to both countries in April.

But Russians continue to use AeroScope, surveillance software used in DJI drones to locate Ukrainian DJI aircraft, as well as the location of the drone operator.

China has also provided significant assistance to the Russian military. along with electronic components and supplies of raw materials vital to sustaining the war in Ukraine. In June, five Chinese companies were accused of helping the Russian military and blacklisted by US officials.

Chinese military aid may speed up after US House speaker's visit Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on August 2, which caused a significant downturn in US-China relations.

In addition, Chinese loans and access to consumer markets, especially in the energy sector, have helped Russia cushion the blow from Western sanctions and falling exports.

Despite China's wariness about the threat of Western sanctions and comparisons between the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and its dispute with Taiwan, Beijing's cautious support for Moscow has been critical since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and continues to help Russia maintain a confrontation with the West.

Support for North Korea

North Korea has also given strong support to Russia: in July, Pyongyang recognized the "DPR" and "LPR".

August 15 President of Russia Vladimir Putin wrote a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with a proposal to establish closer ties. This could include sending additional North Korean workers to occupied areas of Ukraine "to help rebuild" and other industries.

For decades, North Koreans traveled to Russia primarily to work in highly competitive construction jobs in Siberia, and today there are about 20 North Korean workers living there. The recent skirmish between Washington and Pyongyang in the region has also raised the prospect sending North Korean soldiers to Ukraine to fight on the side of Russia. Like Syrian and Libyan mercenaries, they can be smuggled into Russia through private military companies.

North Korean military advisers have been present in Syria since the 1970s, and North Korean soldiers have been suspected of serving in Syria since the start of the country's civil war in 2011.

Support from the Global South

Venezuela, Sudan, Cuba, Nicaragua and other anti-US states reaffirmed their commitment to Russia after the invasion. But more covert displays of support are coming from around the world - even if countries remain careful not to incur Western financial sanctions and the perception that they harm Ukraine by supporting Russia.

35 abstentions at UN vote in March represent more than half of the world's populationand in the adoption of the second resolution to suspend Russia's membership in the Human Rights Council in April, 93 countries voted in favor, 58 abstained, and 24 voted against.

Distrust of the West and recognition of Russia's position as the world's main supplier of energy and food stimulate sustainable cooperation with Moscow throughout the world. India, for example, continues to buy weapons from Russiaand is also rapidly increasing energy imports from Russia.

Other Western partners and allies, including Turkey, have refused to take part in the sanctions against Russia, along with the countries of the Global South.

Inconsistency and lack of clarity among Western states, meanwhile, has hampered the effectiveness of Western sanctions, but organizations linked to the West are also deliberately complementing Russia's military efforts. In June, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted financial entities from several countries, including Lithuania and the UK, to help Russia circumvent sanctions and support its war effort.

The Russian military campaign would also not have been possible without the continued purchase of Russian energy by European countries from the very beginning of the invasion.

Thus, while countries opposed to the US order are more open about their support for Russia, the Kremlin continues to openly and covertly receive significant support from other states.

We have previously published the opinion that we live in a new world disorder, we need to "repair" society in the West.

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