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Russian and Ukrainian crisis: which countries support each side? USA, China, North Korea...

Tensions have been at boiling point for over a week as countries have been declaring where their loyalties lie should fighting begin.

Ukrainians commemorate people killed during the pro-European Union protests in Kyiv
Umit BektasReuters

Dubbed what could be the 'biggest war in Europe since 1945' by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russian troop movements on the border with Ukraine have been causing a serious stir for the first two months of 2022. The US has claimed war has been imminent for the last two weeks, and many other countries have advised citizens to leave Ukraine for fear of invasion.

Ukraine has tried its best to be a calming influence on proceedings, but NATO and Russia continue to knock heads. Fighting recently resumed in the two eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, prompting cause for a ceasefire, while markets have tumbled in the last week as hopes for a diplomatic solution have fizzled away.

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Both Ukraine and Russia are supported by their traditional allies, at least traditional in what can be considered the Realpolitik of the 21st century. A clash would be terrible for the world, and the myriad actors should hope that it does not come to war.

Supporters of Ukraine

Since the 2015 Ukrainian Revolution, the country has been on a firm path to closer NATO integration. Current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously stated his intention to get Ukraine into NATO in April 2021 and although this has yet to transpire, NATO have been stalwart in their support for Ukraine.

It makes sense, NATO was set up after the Second World War to fight the Soviet Union; Russia is the largest successor state. That is not to say the alliance has been united, some countries have been very vocal about their fears for war, such as the US and UK, while others like France and Germany have vowed to continue searching for a diplomatic answer to the crisis.

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Supporters of Russia

An aggressive attack by Russia would be unlikely to have many allies supporting them. However, there is an expectation that China could support Russia in places like the UN. Russian President was recently a guest at the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, while China's foreign ministry has blamed the US for 'spreading false information' over the situation in Ukraine.

Russia also has two minor allies in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. They are two breakaway states in Ukraine, only recognized by Russia. On Friday they both announced an evacuation of civilians and a general mobilization of troops.

Fighting has resumed between the Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian security forces. France and  Russia announced they are trying to broker a ceasefire on Sunday.


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