How will US and German tanks help Ukraine? | Russia-Ukraine war

From: Inside Story

Berlin and Washington are sending Leopard II and M1 Abrams fashions to Kyiv to assist its combat in opposition to Russia.

Each Germany and america have agreed to ship tanks to Ukraine.

Berlin will provide its Leopard 2 and Washington, the M1 Abrams.

After resisting for weeks, Germany lastly gave in to political stress.

It’s additionally agreed to permit different international locations reminiscent of Poland and Finland to ship Leopard 2 tanks from their arsenals.

They’re thought-about important for Ukraine, if it’s to take again territory captured by Russia early within the warfare.

However will such new weaponry change the course of the battle?

Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom


Pavel Felgenhauer, an unbiased defence and army analyst

Theresa Fallon, director on the Centre for Russia Europe Asia Research

Olaf Boehnke, Berlin director of Rasmussen World

Ukraine eyes fighter jets after tanks: ‘This is what we want’ | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine says it would now push for Western fourth-generation fighter jets such because the American F-16 after securing dozens of high-end battle tanks from NATO allies.

Ukraine received an enormous enhance for its troops as america and Germany introduced plans to supply heavy tanks for Kyiv on Wednesday.

“The subsequent huge hurdle will now be the fighter jets,” mentioned Yuriy Sak, who advises defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

“If we get them the benefits on the battlefield can be simply immense … It’s not simply F-16s, fourth-generation plane, that is what we would like.”

Ukraine’s air pressure has a fleet of ageing Soviet-era fighter jets that got here off the meeting line earlier than Kyiv even declared independence greater than 31 years in the past. The warplanes are used for intercept missions and to assault Russian positions.

Western navy help has been important for Kyiv and has quickly advanced through the struggle. Earlier than the Russian invasion, even the thought of supplying deadly help to Ukraine was extremely controversial, however Western provides have since shattered taboo after taboo.

“They didn’t wish to give us heavy artillery, then they did. They didn’t wish to give us HIMARS programs, then they did. They didn’t wish to give us tanks, now they’re giving us tanks. Other than nuclear weapons, there may be nothing left that we are going to not get,” Sak mentioned.

Not an opportunity

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned there was no probability of fighter jets being despatched to Ukraine.

“I made it clear very early on that we aren’t speaking about fight plane, and I’m doing the identical right here,” he mentioned within the Bundestag.

Scholz added, “We is not going to ship floor troops underneath any circumstances. I’ve mentioned there can be no direct involvement of NATO troopers within the Ukraine struggle. That has not been the case up to now and that won’t be the case sooner or later. And everybody can depend on that.”

Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia final February, has additionally mentioned it needs to obtain long-range missiles from the West.

Moscow reacted furiously on Wednesday after Germany authorized the supply to Ukraine of Leopard 2 tanks, the workhorse of armies throughout Europe, a call sure to gird Ukraine’s offensive energy.

‘Stopping struggle from escalating’

Scholz mentioned Western allies would preserve supporting Ukraine, however he additionally highlighted the hazard of additional inflaming the battle.

“We should at all times make it clear in every thing we try this we’re doing what is important and attainable to help Ukraine, however that on the similar time, we’re stopping the struggle from escalating right into a struggle between Russia and NATO,” Scholz mentioned.

Justin Bronk, a researcher on the RUSI assume tank in London, mentioned Ukraine’s air pressure would profit tremendously from NATO fighter jets by way of air-to-air and probably air-to-ground lethality.

However he mentioned on Twitter they’d nonetheless be at excessive threat from Russian surface-to-air missiles, forcing them to fly very low close to the entrance line, one thing that “would dramatically scale back efficient missile vary and restrict strike choices”.

A Ukrainian pilot codenamed Juice advised Reuters information company final month a lot of his friends have been taking English classes of their free time in anticipation that Kyiv would sooner or later obtain international plane, such because the F-16.


‘Additionally want assault helicopters’

Final week, allies pledged billions of {dollars}’ price of navy help together with a whole bunch of armoured preventing automobiles and troop carriers. These are seen as simpler for attacking enemy traces when used alongside tanks.

Ukraine sees the weapons as restoring its momentum in a struggle that has currently develop into a bloody, deadlocked slog.

Former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko advised Euronews the following important weapon system wanted from the West is fighter plane.

“We additionally want assault helicopters and long-range missiles to achieve logistic bases and Russian commanding centres. We must always obtain these now earlier than Russia makes an attempt its nice spring offensive,” Poroshenko mentioned.

“The true recreation changer now could be the jet fighter. We must always instantly launch coaching programmes for Ukrainian pilots and put together to ship them to Ukraine.”

Two British volunteers confirmed dead in eastern Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

The lads have been trying a humanitarian evacuation from the city of Soledar once they have been killed, their households say.

Two British volunteers reported lacking in jap Ukraine have been killed as they tried a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar, based on a press release from their households.

Andrew Bagshaw, 48, and Christopher Parry, 28, went lacking earlier this month whereas heading in direction of Soledar, the salt mining city the place Russian and Ukrainian forces have been preventing an intense battle for management.

Parry’s household confirmed in a press release launched by the UK’s International Workplace that each males had been killed.

“It’s with nice disappointment now we have to announce that our beloved Chrissy has been killed alongside along with his colleague Andrew Bagshaw while trying a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar, jap Ukraine,” mentioned the assertion, which was launched on Tuesday.

Ukrainian police mentioned on January 9 that they’d misplaced contact with Bagshaw and Perry after the 2 males left Kramatorsk for Soledar on January 6.

Sky Information reported Bagshaw’s household as saying the 2 males have been killed whereas attempting to rescue an aged girl.

Christopher Parry in helmet and flak jacket walking outside a bombed out block of flats in Bakhmut. There is a mangled climbing frame behind him and the building is black where a missile hit
British volunteer Christopher Parry pictured in Bakhmut on January 5. The realm was the scene of heavy preventing and the goal of relentless Russian bombardment [File: Anna Kudriavtseva/Reuters]

The assertion gave no particulars on the circumstances of the lads’s deaths, including that Parry “discovered himself drawn to Ukraine in March in its darkest hour firstly of the Russian invasion and helped these most in want, saving over 400 lives plus many deserted animals”.

Britain’s International Workplace mentioned it was supporting the households. Bagshaw was additionally a nationwide of New Zealand the place he was dwelling when he travelled to Ukraine.

Does the battle for Soledar mark a new phase in the Ukraine war? | TV Shows

From: Inside Story

Ukraine has refuted Russian claims its forces have captured the jap city of Soledar.

Regardless of the reality, combating has been intense round what’s Europe’s largest salt mine in jap Ukraine’s Soledar.

Almost all 11,000 inhabitants of the small city have left and virtually all the pieces above floor is destroyed.

So why has the combating been so fierce, and does it sign a change in how this conflict is being fought?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Sergei Markov – Director of the Institute of Political Research in Moscow, former spokesman for President Putin.

Michael Bociurkiw – Senior fellow on the Atlantic Council.

Patrick Bury – Defence and safety analyst on the College of Bathtub, former British military officer and NATO analyst.

Ukraine rejects Putin’s Orthodox Christmas ceasefire proposal | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine has dismissed a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a 36-hour ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas, saying there could be no truce till Russia withdraws its forces from occupied land.

The Kremlin mentioned Putin had ordered a 36-hour ceasefire from noon (10:00 GMT) on Friday after a name for a Christmas truce from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the pinnacle of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Making an allowance for the enchantment of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Protection of the Russian Federation to introduce a cease-fire regime alongside all the line of contact of the events in Ukraine from 12.00 on January 6, 2023, to 24.00 on January 7, 2023,” Putin mentioned in a press release on Thursday.

“Continuing from the truth that a lot of residents professing Orthodoxy dwell within the areas of hostilities, we name on the Ukrainian aspect to declare a cease-fire and permit them to attend companies on Christmas Eve, in addition to on Christmas Day,” Putin mentioned.

A senior Ukrainian official shortly dismissed the proposal and mentioned a ceasefire may solely occur if Russia leaves occupied territory in Ukraine.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter that Russia “should depart the occupied territories – solely then will it have a ‘short-term truce’. Hold hypocrisy to your self.”

He mentioned that in contrast to Russia, Ukraine was not attacking international territory or killing civilians, solely destroying “members of the occupation military on its territory”.

Patriarch Kirill
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia conducts a service in a church in Moscow [File: Yulia Morozova/Reuters]

A ‘cynical lure’

Earlier on Thursday, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the pinnacle of the Russian Orthodox Church, known as for each side of the conflict in Ukraine to watch a Christmas truce so “Orthodox folks can attend companies on Christmas Eve and on the day of the Nativity of Christ”.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the most important within the Japanese Orthodox communion.

It has round 100 million followers inside Russia and extra outdoors.

Nevertheless, Ukraine dismissed the request made by the patriarch, who had beforehand justified the conflict as a part of Russia’s “metaphysical battle” to stop a liberal ideological encroachment from the West.

Podolyak responded by saying that the Russian Orthodox Church is a “conflict propagandist” that had incited the “mass homicide” of Ukrainians and the militarisation of Russia.

“The assertion of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the ‘Christmas Truce’ is a cynical lure and a component of propaganda,” he mentioned.

Since November, Ukraine’s safety companies have cracked down on Mosow-linked church buildings and raided properties accused of partaking in anti-Ukrainian exercise and supporting Russia’s invasion.

In December, Ukraine positioned punitive measures towards seven senior clerics who had been allegedly amongst Orthodox leaders identified to have been sympathetic to Moscow.

Negotiations spurned

Earlier on Thursday, Russia and Ukraine made clear there could be no negotiations between them any time quickly, successfully spurning a proposal of mediation by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke individually to each Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Kremlin mentioned Putin had instructed Erdogan that Moscow was prepared for talks – however solely underneath the situation that Ukraine “keep in mind the brand new territorial realities”, a reference to acknowledging Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine’s Podolyak known as that demand “totally unacceptable”.

“The Russian Federation (Putin) underneath the phrase ‘talks’ gives Ukraine & the world to recognise ‘its proper to grab international territories’ & ‘to repair the absence of authorized penalties for mass killings on international territory,’” he wrote on Twitter.

Greater than 10 months after Putin ordered an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine and seized swathes of its land, Russia and Ukraine have each entered the brand new 12 months with hardened diplomatic positions.

After main battlefield victories within the second half of 2022, Kyiv seems more and more assured that it may well drive Russian invaders from extra of its land.

Putin, for his half, has proven no willingness to debate relinquishing his territorial conquests regardless of mounting losses amongst his troops, after he ordered the primary call-up of reservists since World Battle II.

Through the dialog between the Russian and Turkish presidents, Erdogan urged Putin to implement a “unilateral ceasefire”, in accordance with a press release from the Turkish president’s workplace.

The Turkish president additionally spoke a couple of doable ceasefire with Ukraine and mentioned they had been able to mediate “lasting peace”.

Erdogan has acted as a mediator previously, notably serving to to dealer a United Nations-backed deal that unblocked Ukrainian ports to ship grain. He has spoken by telephone to each Putin and Zelenskyy on the identical day a number of occasions, most just lately final month.

Belarus summons Ukraine envoy over stray air defence missile | Russia-Ukraine war News

Minsk says it downed a Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile amid a wave of Russian assaults on cities throughout Ukraine.

Belarus has protested to Ukraine’s ambassador after saying it had downed a Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile in a discipline, throughout certainly one of Russia’s heaviest aerial onslaughts because the begin of the battle.

The army commissar of Belarus’s southwestern area of Brest, Oleg Konovalov, performed Thursday’s incident down in a video posted on social media by the state-run BelTA information company, saying locals had “completely nothing to fret about”.

“Sadly, this stuff occur,” he stated.

Konovalov in contrast the incident to 1 in November, when an S-300 believed to have strayed after being fired by Ukrainian air defences landed on the territory of NATO-member Poland, triggering fears of an escalation that have been quickly defused.

However, the Ukrainian ambassador was summoned to the overseas ministry in Minsk to obtain a proper protest.

“The Belarusian aspect views this incident as extraordinarily severe,” Anatoly Glaz, a spokesman for the ministry, stated.

“We demanded that the Ukrainian aspect conduct a radical investigation … [and] maintain these accountable to account and take complete measures to forestall the recurrence of such incidents sooner or later.”

A Ukrainian army spokesman in impact acknowledged the missile was a Ukrainian stray, saying the incident was “nothing unusual, a results of air defence” and one thing that “has occurred greater than as soon as”.

Soviet-era defence system

The S-300 is a Soviet-era air defence system utilized by each Russia and Ukraine.

Belarus stated the missile had come down close to the village of Harbacha within the Brest area, some 15km (9 miles) from the border with Ukraine, at round 10am native time (07:00 GMT).

“Fragments have been present in an agricultural discipline … the wreckage belongs to an S-300 anti-aircraft guided missile fired from the territory of Ukraine,” the nation’s defence ministry stated.

The incident occurred as Russia was launching its newest wave of missile assaults on cities throughout Ukraine.

BelTA revealed images and video of what it stated have been elements of an S-300 missile mendacity in an empty discipline.

Belarus allowed Moscow to make use of its territory in February as a launchpad for the invasion of Ukraine, and there was a rising flurry of Russian and Belarusian army exercise in Belarus in current months.

Minsk has, nonetheless, insisted that it’s not taking part within the battle, and won’t take part until its personal safety is threatened by Ukraine or Ukraine’s Western allies.

Whereas Kyiv has used the S-300 system to intercept incoming Russian missiles, Russia has appeared to make use of repurposed S-300 missiles to assault floor targets.

Ukraine deadliest for journalists as 67 killed worldwide in 2022 | Freedom of the Press News

Worldwide Federation of Journalists stated 20 extra journalists killed thus far this 12 months in contrast with 47 in all of 2021

Russia’s struggle in Ukraine, chaos in Haiti and rising violence by legal teams in Mexico have contributed to an increase within the variety of journalists killed doing their work in 2022, in response to a brand new report by the Worldwide Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The IFJ stated on Friday that 67 journalists and media staff have been killed world wide thus far this 12 months, up from 47 in 2021.

Extra media staff had been killed protecting the struggle in Ukraine – 12 in complete – than in every other nation this 12 months, in response to the IFJ. Most of them had been Ukrainian journalists however a number of international reporters additionally died, with many deaths occurring within the first chaotic weeks of the struggle.

The IFJ report additionally known as out the deadly capturing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed by Israeli forces on Might 11 as she was protecting an Israeli navy raid on a refugee camp in Jenin within the northern occupied West Financial institution. The Al Jazeera community this week formally requested the Worldwide Prison Courtroom examine and prosecute these chargeable for killing Abu Akleh.

The report, launched on the eve of the United Nations Human Rights Day, additionally exhibits that “political repression has reared its ugly head” in 2022. IFJ recorded at the very least 375 media professionals  –10 greater than final 12 months – at present in jail for doing their job.

Most of these jailed are in China, Myanmar, Turkey, Iran and Belarus.

With the variety of media staff killed on the rise, the IFJ and different media rights teams have known as on governments to take extra concrete motion to guard journalists in addition to media freedom.

“The failure to behave will solely embolden those that search to suppress the free move of knowledge and undermine the flexibility of individuals to carry their leaders to account, together with in making certain that these with energy and affect don’t stand in the way in which of open and inclusive societies,” IFJ Normal Secretary Anthony Bellanger stated in a press release.

The IFJ additionally stated “the rule by terror of legal organizations in Mexico, and the breakdown of legislation and order in Haiti, have additionally contributed to the surge in killings” and that 2022 has been one of many deadliest ever for journalists in Mexico, which is now thought of essentially the most harmful nation for reporters outdoors a struggle zone.

The Brussels-based IFJ, which represents 600,000 media professionals from commerce unions and associations in additional than 140 nations, additionally recorded 5 journalists’ deaths amid this 12 months’s political disaster in Pakistan. The organisation warned of latest threats to journalists in Colombia and continued hazard for journalists within the Philippines, regardless of new management there.

Ukraine to begin voluntary evacuation from Kherson: Deputy PM | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine will start to evacuate individuals who need to go away the not too long ago liberated southern metropolis of Kherson and its surrounding areas, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has introduced, citing injury to infrastructure by Russian forces that had made life extraordinarily troublesome for residents.

Information of the evacuation got here as Russian missiles have been reported to have struck an oil depot in Kherson on Saturday night, officers stated, the primary time a gas storage facility had been hit within the metropolis since Russia withdrew greater than per week in the past.

Vereshchuk stated on Saturday that quite a lot of individuals had expressed a want to transfer away from Kherson and the realm round Mykolaiv, about 65 km (40 miles) to the northwest.

“That is doable within the subsequent few days,” she advised a televised information convention in Mykolaiv when requested when the evacuations from Kherson would start.

Vereshchuck stated the federal government had already made the required preparations for the evacuation. Amongst those that wished to go away have been the aged and people who had been affected by Russian shelling, she stated.

“That is solely a voluntary evacuation. Presently, we’re not speaking about compelled evacuation,” Vereshchuk stated.

“However even within the case of voluntary evacuation, the state bears duty for transportation. Folks should be taken to the place the place they’ll spend the winter,” she stated.

The federal government had a number of evacuation choices, considered one of which was to make use of Mykolaiv as a transit level earlier than sending individuals additional west into safer areas of the nation, she added.

In August, Vereshchuk stated Ukraine deliberate to increase the variety of front-line districts the place civilian evacuations can be obligatory, as these areas might be occupied and would additionally face issues with heating in the course of the Ukrainian winter months.

Two missiles hit a gas depot on Saturday in Kherson, firefighters on the scene advised the Related Press information organisation.

Anton Gerashchenko, a authorities adviser and a former deputy minister at Ukraine’s minister of inner affairs, posted a brief video on Twitter apparently exhibiting thick smoke billowing after highly effective explosions have been reported in Kherson on Saturday.

“Russia continues its every day terror,” he wrote.


Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian troops of destroying Kherson’s important infrastructure earlier than retreating earlier this month.

Native authorities additionally advised the Related Press that when Russian forces left the Kherson metropolis space, they stole hearth vehicles and ambulances, and firefighters stated they have been now scrambling for assets to answer missile and different assaults.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and different officers have accused Russia of making an attempt to destabilise the nation by destroying energy stations in an try to freeze the inhabitants into submission and pressure tens of millions of Ukrainians to flee westward, making a refugee disaster for the European Union.

Ukraine’s power ministry stated on Saturday that the nation’s electrical energy provides have been below management regardless of the continuing wave of Russian assaults on power-generating infrastructure.

Russian missile raids have crippled virtually half of Ukraine’s power system and Kyiv authorities stated on Friday {that a} full shutdown of the capital’s energy grid was doable.

Lviv city centre in the dark and without electricity after critical civil infrastructure was hit by a Russian missile.
A view exhibits Lviv metropolis centre with out electrical energy after important civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile assaults in Ukraine on November 15, 2022 [Vladyslav Musiienko/Reuters]

“We guarantee you that the scenario with the power provide is troublesome, however below management,” the power ministry stated in a press release.

Authorities throughout the nation have scheduled blackouts to assist the restore effort, the ministry stated, urging households to chop their power consumption by not less than 25 p.c.

Maxim Timchenko, the top of DTEK, the nation’s largest non-public power firm, stated the armed forces, the power trade and particular person Ukrainians have been working miracles to take care of provides and folks mustn’t flee the nation.

“That’s the reason there isn’t a want to go away Ukraine at present,” an organization assertion cited him as saying on Saturday.

Additionally on Saturday, the primary practice in 9 months to journey from Kyiv to Kherson arrived within the metropolis after departing the Ukrainian capital on Friday evening — a journey solely made doable by the Russian withdrawal.

Ukraine’s state rail community, Ukrzaliznytsia, stated 200 passengers travelled on board the practice, dubbed the “Prepare to Victory”, which had been painted in eclectic designs by Ukrainian artists. Tickets have been offered as a part of a fundraising marketing campaign.

Wagner denies involvement after mercenary killed in Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the mercenary group, accuses the US of executing Yevgenny Nuzhin, who reportedly switched sides to hitch Ukrainian forces.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the top of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, has denied it had any involvement within the execution of considered one of its fighters in Ukraine.

Final week, a social media account linked to Wagner shared unverified footage of a person recognized as a former mercenary being killed after declaring that he had switched sides in September to “battle in opposition to the Russians”.

Within the footage, the person, who gave his title as Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was proven together with his head taped to a brick wall. He stated he was kidnapped in Kyiv on October 11 and got here round in a cellar.

“I bought hit over the top and misplaced consciousness and got here round on this cellar,” he stated. “They instructed me I used to be to be tried.”

As he stated these phrases, an unidentified man in fight clothes behind Nuzhin was seen smashing a sledgehammer into the aspect of his head and neck.

Nuzhin collapsed onto the ground and the unidentified man delivered one other blow to his head.

The video appeared on the Gray Zone Telegram channel, considered one of a number of that Russian media has stated was linked to the Wagner group. The footage was posted underneath the title, The hammer of revenge.

Requested to touch upon the execution video, Prigozhin stated on Sunday in remarks launched by his spokeswoman that the video must be known as, “A canine receives a canine’s dying” and labelled Nuzhin a “traitor”.

“Nuzhin betrayed his folks, betrayed his comrades, betrayed consciously,” stated Prigozhin, who has been sanctioned by america and European Union for his position in Wagner.

However on Tuesday, the 61-year-old denied Wagner’s involvement and accused US intelligence providers of being behind the killing, with out offering proof to help his declare.

“I requested Wagner staff whether or not they kidnapped Evgeny Nuzhin and in the event that they participated in his torture. None supplied data of taking part in his abduction or torture,” Prigozhin stated in a letter addressed to Igor Krasnov, Russia’s prosecutor common, and revealed on Russia’s VKontakte social media service.

“For me, it is extremely clear that Nuzhin was kidnapped and violently killed by brokers of the US intelligence providers,” he added, and known as for Krasnov to open an investigation into the killing.

The Russian rights group, Gulagu.web, which advocates for prisoners in Russian detention, has stated that Nuzhin was in jail in Russia earlier than being recruited by Wagner to battle in Ukraine.

Prigozhin, an in depth ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been accused of personally taking part in a recruitment drive by providing contracts at Russian prisons, pledging that those that give up or are captured can be killed.

In September, he disclosed for the primary time that he had based the Wagner group in 2014.

Initially staffed by veterans of the Russian armed forces, Wagner’s mercenaries have fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali and Ukraine, amongst different nations, in recent times.

Earlier this month, the group opened its first official headquarters in Russia’s second metropolis of Saint Petersburg.

Russia’s war in Ukraine challenges old comrades in Southeast Asia | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has oozed an informal resentment when describing the “irreversible and even tectonic adjustments” that he says have led the West to develop into a spent pressure on the planet.

“Western international locations are striving to keep up a former world order that’s useful solely to them,” he advised attendees on the Jap Financial Discussion board within the Russian metropolis of Vladivostok in September.

These days have been numbered, he insisted.

The long run was within the “dynamic, promising international locations and areas of the world, primarily the Asia Pacific area”, he mentioned. Putin was adopted on the rostrum by Myanmar coup chief Min Aung Hlaing – the symbolism was not misplaced on shut observers of regional politics.

This week Putin was invited to attend the Group of 20 assembly, which opens on Tuesday on the Indonesian island of Bali. It seemed to be the proper venue for him to double down on his overtures to the Asia Pacific, significantly in Southeast Asia — one of many world’s most economically dynamic areas.

However it was to not be.

Putin skipped his second within the Balinese solar resulting from undefined “scheduling” causes.

With Putin a no-show, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a captive viewers when he addressed the summit just about on Tuesday after his invitation to attend by the summit’s host, Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Putin’s absence from the G20 additionally undercuts “discuss of a Russian pivot to Asia”, wrote Susannah Patton of the Lowy Institute, an Australian suppose tank.

Now with the Russian military retreating in elements of Ukraine and worldwide sanctions biting deeply into Russia’s financial system, some outdated mates in Southeast Asia seem like avoiding direct eye contact as Putin seems to be east. Others are actively wanting the opposite approach, and Myanmar appears to be Moscow’s final true good friend within the area.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing shake hands and pose for a photo during their meeting on the sideline of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Myanmar’s Senior Basic Min Aung Hlaing meet on the Jap Financial Discussion board in Vladivostok, Russia, in September 2022 [File: Valery Sharifulin/Sputnik/Kremlin pool via AP]

Previous comrades, quick recollections

Russia has no main strategic pursuits in Southeast Asia, however Soviet-era relations run deep and Moscow has lengthy political and emotional connections to the previous nations of Indochina: Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Hanoi, specifically, remembers Russian help in the course of the struggle in opposition to the US-backed regime in South Vietnam within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies — a struggle from which it emerged victorious in 1975.

Vietnam and Laos abstained from UN resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the annexation of Ukrainian territory, and voted in opposition to suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

In Monday’s vote on a decision requiring Russia to pay reparations for the harm brought about to Ukraine, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have been among the many 73 members of the meeting that abstained. Amongst international locations within the area, solely Singapore and the Philippines backed the decision.

Vietnamese communist soldiers moving forward under covering fire from a heavy machine gun during the Vietnam War.
Vietnamese communist troopers transferring ahead underneath overlaying fireplace from a heavy machine gun in the course of the Vietnam Conflict, circa 1968 [File: Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

Vietnam’s determination to abstain on the UN is completely authorized, argued Huynh Tam Sang, a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh Metropolis College of Social Sciences and Humanities. However it’s also “morally questionable” as Vietnam had did not defend the “rules of sovereignty and territorial integrity”, he writes. That’s no small oversight for a rustic whose profitable liberation struggles in opposition to overseas occupiers — China, France, and the USA — is a defining nationwide motif.

“Vietnam’s transfer is geared toward avoiding criticism and potential retaliation from Moscow,” mentioned Huynh Tam Sang, mentioning the fabric behind the fraternal: commerce hyperlinks between Hanoi and Moscow amounted to nearly $2.5bn within the first eight months of this yr, and Russia is a major investor in Vietnam’s oil and fuel sectors.

Russia can also be Vietnam’s largest arms provider.

“It isn’t in Vietnam’s pursuits for Russia to be weakened,” Carlyle A Thayer, emeritus professor on the College of New South Wales Canberra, advised Al Jazeera in a latest interview.

Historic threads

Vietnam’s help for Russia must be understood by way of Hanoi’s historically fraught relationship with neighbouring China. Vietnam fought its personal border struggle with China in 1979 and has usually relied on its relations with Moscow as a counterweight to strain from its historic rival.

Neighbouring Cambodia, nevertheless, with its Putin-esque authoritarian chief Hun Sen who has held energy for 37 years, has proven shocking insubordination to its former Soviet-era help donor and political supporter.

The then Soviet Union was one of many earliest international locations to assist rebuild Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge regime when the federal government in Phnom Penh — put in by Vietnam — confronted near-total Western sanctions. One in every of Phnom Penh’s hottest markets continues to be often called the “Russian Market” owing to the big inhabitants of Russian diplomats and technical assistants from Soviet states who frequented its stalls in the course of the Nineteen Eighties.

Simply final yr, Hun Sen obtained Russia’s Order of Friendship medal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen during their meeting at the ASEAN-Russia summit in Sochi, Russia.
Vladimir Putin shakes palms with Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen throughout their assembly on the ASEAN-Russia summit, within the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, in 2016 [File: Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool/AP Photo]

However that has not prevented the Cambodian chief from taking a “surprisingly hard-line stand” in opposition to Moscow over the struggle in Ukraine, in line with Ian Storey, a senior fellow on the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

Hun Sen has not simply referred to as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an “act of aggression”, however he has additionally questioned Russia’s potential to emerge victorious, and expressed a willingness to absorb Ukrainian refugees, Storey notes.

Hun Sen’s pro-Ukraine stance appeared to immediate the Russian ambassador to remind him in a tweet that it was Moscow who got here to Cambodia’s help “in probably the most troublesome interval in its historical past” following the Khmer Rouge.

Cambodia was unmoved by the Russian reminder.

Phnom Penh has been a cosponsor of condemnatory UN resolutions on Russia’s invasion — though it has abstained on some Ukraine-related votes — and extra not too long ago, Hun Sen invited Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to deal with by video hyperlink final weekend’s summit of the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh. The invitation was apparently torpedoed by the necessity for consensus among the many ASEAN leaders.

Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have been extra cautious of their public pronouncements on the struggle, with G20 host Indonesia cautious to protect its conventional non-aligned stance.

However, Indonesia’s Widodo did go to Kyiv first and Moscow the subsequent day in late June when he went to debate the worldwide meals disaster with Zelenskyy and Putin, and presumably prolong private invites to the Bali summit.

Russian marketplace for arms

Russia’s arms business is the “single largest provider of main weaponry to Southeast Asia”, in line with the Stockholm Worldwide Peace Analysis Institute (SIPRI).

Russia accounted for greater than 1 / 4 of all main weapons deliveries to the area over the previous 20 years, in line with SIPRI, and when Moscow can’t promote its weapons for laborious money, it has been keen to do barter offers or present loans as an alternative.

The Indonesian authorities deliberate to purchase 11 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter plane from Russia in a deal that concerned fee of half the price with the equal in agricultural and different produce, in line with stories.

Within the Philippines, Russia mentioned in 2018 that it was “greater than keen” to supply a tender mortgage in order that Manila may purchase its first-ever — however Russian-built — submarine, the nation’s Philippine Information Company reported.

As SIPRI factors out, gross sales of Russian weaponry to Southeast Asia are “an necessary aspect of Russia’s whole export revenue and important to sustaining the financial viability of the Russian arms business”.

However with US sanctions imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and alleged interference within the 2016 US presidential election, some regional governments have already begun to maneuver away from Russia.

Manila didn’t purchase the Russian submarine, and Jakarta introduced in December that the Sukhoi fighter deal was useless.

Now, with a plethora of Ukraine war-related sanctions awaiting these coping with Moscow, Russia’s export arms business seems to be set to really feel the collateral harm of Putin’s Ukraine invasion.

Take the Philippines, for instance.

Over fears of sanctions, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr mentioned final month that his nation would supply navy helicopters from the US after scrapping a $215m deal to purchase 16 heavy-lift helicopters from Russia.

The federal government of Marcos Jr’s predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, had signed the take care of Russia in November 2021. However even Duterte needed to place distance between himself and Putin, whom he had as soon as described as his idol, after the Ukraine invasion.

“Many say that Putin and I are each killers,” Duterte mentioned three months into the invasion in Could.

“I’ve lengthy advised you Filipinos that I actually kill. However I kill criminals, I don’t kill youngsters and the aged,” he mentioned, evaluating his brutality to that of Putin in Ukraine.

“We’re in two completely different worlds,” he added.

’Twenty first-century imperialism’

The Southeast Asia outlier is military-ruled Myanmar, which has thrown its full help behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Already heat relations between Russia and Myanmar have deepened additional because the invasion of Ukraine and final yr’s coup by the navy that toppled the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Because the Worldwide Disaster Group notes, the Myanmar navy has positioned itself as “Russia’s most uncritical post-invasion associate in Asia”, and Russia has backed the navy regime by way of offering worldwide diplomatic cowl and superior weaponry.

Ian Storey of the ISEAS sees three components at work: “Diplomatic validation, arms gross sales and vitality cooperation.”

Moscow moved shortly to recognise the Myanmar generals after they seized energy, and the generals have reciprocated by endorsing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Navy chief Min Aung Hlaing has declared Russia to be Myanmar’s “endlessly good friend”, as compared with China being described merely as a “shut good friend”, as Storey notes.

Just like Vietnam, Myanmar’s navy additionally wants Russia as an alternate provider of weapons and a counterweight to China. Myanmar introduced in September it will purchase Russian oil and pay in roubles.

However the Russia-Myanmar relationship is greater than an odious alliance, it’s also a timebomb for ASEAN.

Storey notes that Moscow’s arms shipments are driving the Myanmar regime’s potential to wage a sustained struggle in opposition to its inhabitants and armed ethnic teams, which undermines the potential for peace talks and a negotiated settlement, which ASEAN needs to see achieved.

Smoke rises from a village in Myanmar's Kayah State after it was bombed by the military.
On this picture taken from drone video supplied by Free Burma Rangers, black smoke rises from burning buildings in Waraisuplia village in Kayah State, Myanmar, in February 2022, the place the navy focused civilians in air and floor assaults [Free Burma Rangers via AP]

Gregory Poling, director of the Southeast Asia Program on the Centre for Strategic and Worldwide Research (CSIS) in Washington, DC, mentioned Southeast Asia’s relationship with Russia is advanced.

Russia does, historically, maintain attraction for these with anti-Western sentiment within the area, and Putin’s hyper-masculine picture chimes in a area with a historical past of personalist, strongman politics.

Nevertheless, Southeast Asia’s expertise with Western colonialism, and the dedication by nations within the area to the preservation of their sovereignty, permits international locations to recognise neo-imperialism when it seems within the invasion of Ukraine, Poling advised Al Jazeera.

Nations within the area “look and see a resurgent Russian empire, and that that is imperialism within the Twenty first Century,” Poling mentioned.

That sentiment was articulated in a speech by Singapore’s overseas minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, condemning Russia’s invasion and saying sanctions on Moscow in February, Poling mentioned.

“Ukraine is far smaller than Russia, however it’s a lot larger than Singapore,” Bakakrishnan mentioned on the time.

“A world order primarily based on ‘may is true’, or the place ‘the sturdy do what they will and the weak endure what they need to’, such a world order could be profoundly inimical to the safety and survival of small states,” he mentioned.