Analysis of Asian countries' positions on the Russo-Ukrainian war
Brief description, influencing factors, recommendations (based on open sources, analysis of speeches at public and closed events, personal negotiations with politicians and experts).
Four months after the start of the war, it is now possible to summarize some observations on the position of Asian countries with regard to the war in Ukraine.
At this point, the geopolitically relevant Asian countries can be divided into three groups based on their attitude to the war:
Countries that support the position of the collective West and Ukraine. These countries are easy to identify due to the fact that most of them are invited to join the so-called "Ramstein Group," i.e., the coalition created by U.S. Secretary of Defense Austin to join efforts to support Ukraine and weaken Russia. These are Turkey, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and Israel. In addition, Ukraine is supported by Singapore. The position of another important player, Saudi Arabia, is ambiguous at the moment. This historical ally of the United States is currently "hovering" between informational support for Ukraine and practical neutrality against the backdrop of its already strained relations with the United States (in connection with the reaction to the murder of opposition journalist Khashoggi).
Countries that allow themselves some support or criticism of Russia/Ukraine, but in fact keep a neutral position. Such countries include primarily CSTO members Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, but also India and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in particular Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Within this group, there are exceptions, such as Singapore, which has taken a strong pro-Ukrainian stance, or the junta in Myanmar, which is equally unequivocally pro-Russia. In general, however, the differences of opinion here are minimal, ranging from "a little closer to the Ukrainian position" (Indonesia) to "a little closer to Russia" (Malaysia). Accordingly, at the UN, for example, these countries can vote to condemn Russia's aggression, but in general this is virtually the limit of their capabilities.
Countries that unconditionally support Russia. These include Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, China.
In what follows, the positions of a number of the countries listed above, which are both ambiguous and highly relevant to the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, will be examined in more detail. These are Turkey, India, China and former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
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