The U.S., U.K. and certain E.U. nations like France, Sweden, Italy and Germany are fighting an uphill battle to get the world to sanction Russia for its special operations in Ukraine. The U.S. has dished out sanctions threat to the rest of the world, even China and India, if they cooperate with Russia. It is working, but to what extent?
Sanctioning smaller countries like Iran has worked for the old world power block in the past as Iran is not a significant world player, and the world could ignore it. However, Russia is the other pole of the world that balances Western power with Eastern.
Here is a list of how the rest of the world is standing up to the old world powers given Russian sanctions.
A divided Europe
Almost all European countries came out to support the sanctions except Serbia, which has declared non-alignment with anti-Russian measures. The President of the country, Aleksandar Vučić, acknowledged that the E.U. and the U.S. are putting tremendous pressure on Belgrade in this matter. The country has long wanted to join the E.U., and now Brussels demands that it support the pan-European course. So far, however, the sympathies of the Serbian population are clearly on the side of Russia. On March 4, a crowded rally in support of Moscow was held in the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina did not support the sanctions either due to the position of the Bosnian Serbs.
Hungary, which has imposed restrictions against Russia as part of a joint E.U. decision, also demonstrates some independence from Brussels. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that “unlike Germany and Italy”, his country would not send weapons to Ukraine. The transit of weapons for Kyiv is also closed through the Hungarian territory.
Norway says it has sanctioned Russia to show solidarity with the E.U.
Other than U.K, France and Sweden, the rest of the countries are reluctant participants in the sanctions.
Not a single country from the Soviet Union era has imposed sanctions against Russia. Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov called the recognition of the DNR and LNR the sovereign right of Russia and supported the special operation in Ukraine. Other countries, such as Kazakhstan, declared their neutrality and continued trade with the Russian Federation.
Although not friendly to Russia, Moldova and Georgia have renounced anti-Russian sanctions. Russia still has no diplomatic relations with Georgia after the war in South Ossetia in 2008. Neither Tbilisi nor Chisinau intend to impose sanctions against Moscow.
Of the Asian countries, sanctions against Russia were supported only by Japan and Singapore. They and Taiwan cut off Russian banks from SWIFT and imposed a ban on technology exports.
Other Asian countries are in no hurry to join the sanctions. These are India, China, the states of ASEAN and the Middle East. India is planning to buy ‘cheap’ oil from Russia. Recep Erdogan’s spokesman said that Turkey does not intend to impose sanctions against Russia to maintain a channel for dialogue. Saudi Arabia, the closest ally of the United States in the Middle East, even announced that it could cut investment in the American economy. “I don’t care what Biden thinks about it,” Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman said. “We have no right to lecture you in America,” he added. “However, you also have no right to lecture us.” The U.K. Prime Minister could not get the UAE to open its oil wells to stabilise the world oil prices.
“The Ukrainian crisis is rooted in NATO provocations,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian wrote on his Twitter account on the day of the Russian special operation in Ukraine. Tehran has repeatedly stressed that it “does not consider war a solution.” “Ukraine has become a victim of a crisis created by the United States,” Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei said. “If the U.S. can’t create a crisis, then arms companies can’t operate at their best. They need to create crises to secure the interests of this mafia.”
Another ally of the U.S., South Korea, also banned the export of strategic materials to the Russian Federation and will disconnect several Russian banks from SWIFT. The Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the country had withdrawn almost all high-tech industries from the U.S. sanctions against Russia. It will also affect Korean electronics L.G. and Samsung, and even Korean “dual-use” chips. It means that access to Korean household appliances in Russia will be open.
The Korean company Samsung has suspended deliveries to Russia. But, they told the RIA Novosti agency that all service centres in Russia are working, and the company promises to resume normal operations soon: “Now we are working on finding solutions to restore our supplies to Russia.”
Initially, the Latin American countries supported the Western sanctions. The United States and Canada initiated a discussion of an anti-Russian resolution in the Organization of American States but failed to get support for the text of the resolution by all countries. Now the Latin Americans refuse to join the sanctions.
“No sanctions or condemnation of President Putin,” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced. He stressed that his country would not vote for anti-Russian resolutions at the U.N. The same decision was made by Argentina, where they ignored the indignation of the Ukrainian ambassador on this matter.
Bolivia, El Salvador and Uruguay took a benevolent position towards Moscow. Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are traditionally the friends of Moscow. Western countries are inciting xenophobia towards Russians, said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. “They are persecuting Russians all over the world. A wonderful conductor was removed from managing a philharmonic orchestra in one of the European countries just because he is Russian. This is called xenophobia, racism, persecution, violation of human rights,” the Venezuelan leader said.
Although they voted for the U.N. resolution condemning Russia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are also in no hurry to impose sanctions.