As we commemorate one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, it’s important to reflect on the global response and the subsequent impact on the international community.
Following the invasion, the West formed what appeared to be an overwhelming global coalition with 141 countries supporting a U.N. measure demanding Russia’s unconditional withdrawal, while only four backed Russia and rejected the measure. However, 47 other countries abstained or missed the vote, creating a fragmented response from the international community.
Many of the neutral nations have since provided crucial economic or diplomatic support for Russia, and even some countries that initially agreed to denounce Russia, such as Brazil, have moved towards a more neutral position.
While some countries have maintained their position against Russia’s invasion, a vast middle has viewed the conflict as primarily a European and American problem, focusing on protecting their own interests amid the economic and geopolitical upheaval caused by the invasion.
Russia has utilized the global fragmentation to its advantage, managing the effects of Western sanctions while exports to Russia from other countries are now well above pre-war levels. Some countries, such as Turkey, have tried to straddle the divide by selling weapons to Ukraine while opening up an increased flow of goods to Russia.
Recently, the U.N. General Assembly endorsed another resolution demanding Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine’s territory. However, countries such as China, South Africa, and India continued to abstain, highlighting the continued fragmentation within the international community.
As we reflect on the one-year mark since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s clear that Russia’s strategy is to wait until Western unity disintegrates. The impact of this conflict on the international community and Ukraine itself will continue to unfold in the years to come.