While Western countries quickly joined in a chorus of criticism against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s allies reacted with softer tones as they find themselves walking a tightrope between security concerns and economic interests.
Ukrainians woke up on Friday with the sound of explosions as Russian troops press deep into the country for the second day of a ground, sea and air offensive that has so far killed more than 130 people and displaced at least 100,000 others.
Here’s a look at how Russia’s traditional allies reacted to the Russian military action:
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a day to call for “an immediate cessation of violence” after Russian President Vladimir Putin war foretold against Ukraine. In a phone call with Putin, Modi called for “concerted efforts from all sides” but took no action against India’s ally.
The two countries enjoy close economic ties, further strengthened by a historic meeting in December last year, when the two leaders signed a series of bilateral defense deals, including India’s acquisition of more than 600,000 assault rifles from Russia.
A declaration published On Thursday, after the phone call, he stressed that the diplomatic teams of the two countries would continue to be in regular contact “on current issues.”
The Indian leader reiterated “his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue.” Modi also expressed concern for the safety of the approximately 20,000 Indian students currently stranded in Ukraine.
Igor Polikha, the Ukrainian ambassador to India, expressed his “deep dissatisfaction” with India’s position. “This is not the time for protocol statements,” Polikha was quoted as saying by local media.
China has not officially taken sides as it enjoys good relations with Ukraine, cares about its business with Europe and has found an ally in Putin.
The ongoing invasion comes just weeks after Putin and his Chinese counterpart were parading in Beijing in a great show of unity ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics.
On that occasion, China reiterated that Russia security concerns were legitimateaccusing the United States of exacerbating tensions.
The two countries enjoy excellent trade relations, as well as what observers have called “a personal chemistry.”
China has said it will not provide military support to Moscow but has been boosting trade, such as increasing wheat imports from Russia on Thursday, a move critics have hailed as an economic lifeline for Putin.
However, China’s foreign minister stressed on Friday that each country’s sovereignty should be respected and called on the parties to return to the negotiating table.
“They [Russia and China] are needed, but for China this [the invasion] it is not in line with their idea of a stable world trying to create more exchanges, rather this is going to create more uncertainty,” Einar Tangen, a Beijing-based political analyst, told Al Jazeera.
Israel lukewarmly condemned Putin’s move. In a brief statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned Russia’s move as “a serious violation of the international order,” but also highlighted Israel’s “deep, long-standing and good relations with Russia and Ukraine.”
“There are hundreds of thousands of Jews in both countries. Keeping you safe and secure is one of our top considerations,” Lapid said.
Itamar Rabinovich, a senior fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for African and Middle Eastern Studies in Tel Aviv, said Russia had allowed Israel to “prosecute its war against Iran” inside Syria, without blocking archenemy Tehran “from continuing its war.” war against Iran. own ends” within Israel’s northern neighbor, where it backs the regime in Damascus.
Israel should not “jeopardize the delicate balance of our relationship with Russia,” Rabinovich told the AFP news agency.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Moscow’s military actions amount to a “strong punch” to regional peace and stability and reiterated Turkey’s “call for a resolution of the problems between Russia and Ukraine”.
However, the Turkish authorities have yet to use the words “condemnation” or “invasion” as they try to maintain good ties with the two countries, both neighbors across the Black Sea.
Turkey has long pushed for a diplomatic solution in a bid to defuse tensions between its fellow NATO members and Moscow.
“We cannot give up on any of the countries. We have political, economic and military relations with Russia, and we also have political, economic and military relations with Ukraine,” Erdogan said on Thursday.
While its NATO allies impose sanctions on Russia, analysts say Turkey is not expected to do the same, a situation similar to that of 2014 when it failed to sanction Moscow for its annexation of Crimea despite condemning the seizure of the peninsula, which is internationally recognized. like Ukrainian soil.
Central Asian neighbors
The leaders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan did not issue official statements.
Instead, as Russian troops advanced on the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Toqaev and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin met to discuss how to preserve economic and trade ties amid the crisis. . sanctions blitz imposed by the West.
One in 10 citizens from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan works in Russia. Remittances, mainly from Russia, make up 30 percent of Tajikistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), Kyrgyzstan’s 28 percent and Uzbekistan’s nearly 12 percent, according to the latest World Bank data.
Myanmar’s military government said on Friday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “justified” and demonstrated Moscow’s status as a world power.
Government spokesman Zaw Min Tun said Moscow’s military had “carried out what is justified for the sustainability of their country’s sovereignty.”
“Russia shows its position to the world as a world power,” he added in the statement, which was also published in Russian.
Moscow is a major ally and arms supplier to Myanmar’s generals and has repeatedly shielded the isolated country at the United Nations.
Last year, Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s military chief, met in Moscow with the head of Russia’s state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, to discuss “potential military technical cooperation.”
He later told Moscow Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Myanmar’s military had “become one of the strongest in the region” thanks to his country’s help, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Venezuela blamed NATO and the US for the crisis in Ukraine.
President Nicolás Maduro said Thursday that his government repudiated “the perverse plans that seek to encircle Russia militarily and strategically.”
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said that NATO and the US had violated the Minsk agreementsa 2014 deal aimed at ending a war in Donbas, a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its concern about the worsening of the crisis in Ukraine, and regrets the mockery and violation of the Minsk agreements by NATO, encouraged by the United States of America,” the ministry said in a statement. .
“The derailment of these (Minsk) agreements has violated international law and created strong threats against the Russian Federation, its territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as impeded good relations between neighboring countries.”
From Venezuela we repudiate the perverse planes that seek to surround Russia militarily and strategically. All support for President Putin and his people. We are sure that Russia will come out of this battle united and victorious, with the admiration of the brave peoples of the world. pic.twitter.com/tJaWOVr8II
– Nicolas Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 23, 2022
Translation: “From Venezuela we repudiate the perverse plans that seek to surround Russia militarily and strategically. All support for President Putin and his people. We are sure that Russia will emerge from this battle united and victorious, with the admiration of the brave peoples of the world.”
Cuba harshly criticized the US for imposing “the progressive expansion of NATO towards the borders of the Russian Federation” and called for a diplomatic solution to preserve international peace.
In a statement Tuesday night, Cuba’s foreign ministry said the United States had stepped up threats against Putin, deepening the crisis. The Cuban statement did not specifically mention Russian advances in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine.
“The US government has been threatening Russia for weeks and manipulating the international community about the dangers of an ‘imminent massive invasion’ of Ukraine,” the Cuban statement says. “It has supplied weapons and military technology, has deployed troops to several countries in the region, has applied unilateral and unjust sanctions, and has threatened other retaliation.”
We call on the US and NATO to seriously and realistically pay attention to well-founded demands for security guarantees by Russia, which has the right to defend itself.#Cuba calls for a diplomatic solution through a constructive and respectful dialogue.
– Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) February 23, 2022
Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega accused the United States and Europe of “using Ukraine to provoke Russia,” which he said simply “demanded security.”
Ortega was one of the first world leaders to endorse Russia’s position on Ukraine. On Monday Putin said did well to recognize two regions controlled by separatists backed by Moscow as independent.
“I am sure that if they do a referendum like the one that took place in Crimea, people will vote to annex the territories to Russia,” said Ortega, who has long opposed US influence in Central America.