Prepared by the researcher : Mona Gamal Sholkamy – Bachelor’s degree in political sciences from Beni Suef University, specializing in political affairs
Democratic Arabic Center
Given the Chinese problem regarding the Ukrainian crisis, as well as the Chinese-Russian relations in light of the Russian attack on Ukraine, despite the rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, the latter was not aware of the timing of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and criticized the American administration’s warnings regarding Russia’s readiness to attack, describing the United States as The United States says it is adopting “war rhetoric” and engaging in media misinformation.
Following the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, on February 24, many Chinese officials seemed surprised by the rapid Russian military steps, stressing that they hope that all parties will be able to return to dialogue and negotiations. Despite this surprise, Beijing has avoided describing the military operation. Russia called the “invasion”, and did not directly criticize the Russian government, and the Chinese Foreign Minister stressed during the Munich Security Conference the importance of diplomatic negotiations.
It can be drawn to the fact that China has previously announced that Russian security concerns are legitimate, and that NATO’s expansion must stop. It also called for the need to return to the Minsk agreements, which are a series of agreements aimed at ending the war in the Donbass region, and it does not The United States of America participates in it, in a clear indication of China’s aspiration to prevent the United States from interfering in the Ukrainian crisis, and despite the Chinese President’s description of President Vladimir Putin as his “best friend,” it is a friendship surrounded by caution, and it is clear that it stems only from a belief US President Joe Biden said that each of them is a competitor to the United States of America.
Despite Beijing’s claim of neutrality towards the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, it is expected that Washington will consider Beijing a common ally with Moscow, and thus Chinese companies, especially in the field of technology, may be exposed to numerous economic damages. In this regard, President Biden’s pledge “By depriving Moscow of half of its imports of advanced technological products, it will undermine Russia’s strategic ambitions, which will push President Putin to turn to China to ease the severity of these sanctions, which may represent a source of concern and embarrassment for Beijing.
On the other hand, it can be drawn to the fact that the Russian military operation in Ukraine raises other concerns for Beijing, which is that it may work to promote the building of new partnerships between the West and the countries of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic region, which constitutes a threat to China, which wants to build a world… Multipolar. This is in addition to the perceived comparisons between the situation of Ukraine and Taiwan, and the fear that Beijing will follow Moscow’s example in Taiwan.
In a different context, China is currently facing a real dilemma with regard to the Ukrainian crisis, especially since it is considered the main potential supporter of Moscow to help it alleviate the severity of Western economic sanctions on it, and thus it is likely that Beijing will think seriously about the feasibility of its friendship with Russia.
Regarding the Iranian position, the statements showed Iranian support for the Russian military operation in Ukraine. She explained that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was one of the first presidents to praise this process during a phone call between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Raisi stressed that the expansion of NATO to the east represents a serious threat to the security and stability of the countries of the region, in addition to that the Iranian government media and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Iranian authorities, avoided describing the Russian attack on Ukraine as a “war” or “invasion.” , considering it a “military operation,” adding that the Iranian official media’s strategy is based on blaming what they describe as “NATO provocations” as well as “Western imperialism,” while turning a blind eye to the massive human losses and mass displacement that resulted from the Russian military operation. unprecedented in Eastern Europe, and the violation it represents of the principles of international law.
In this context, Tehran seeks to exploit the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to demonstrate the failures of Washington and the Western powers in managing this crisis, with the aim of confirming that American policies constitute a threat to international peace and security, and are responsible for the crises of the region and the entire world. Iran’s support for the Russian military operation was motivated by With its desire to win over the Russian side as an important strategic ally, in addition to Tehran’s efforts to enhance economic cooperation with Moscow, and to ensure obtaining the Russian “veto” to prevent the issuance of any future resolutions against Iran in the UN Security Council.
On the other hand, Tehran’s refusal to condemn the Russian military operation, and even to promote it through the Iranian media, is considered an implicit departure from the principles of Iranian ideology, which has always raised the slogan of “anti-imperialism,” and it is also clear that the imperialism that Iran means is the imperialism of the United States. American, or more precisely “Western imperialism” only; Therefore, when strategic interest conflicts with ideology, Tehran prevails in the interest of gaining a great power that can guarantee it security and political stability, as well as Russia being an indispensable economic partner for it.
Contrary to the Iranian authority’s tendency to support the Russian military operation against Ukraine; The popular reaction inside Iran opposed this trend, which was evident in citizens organizing a gathering in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Tehran, as well as their solidarity with the Ukrainian people via social media. Some prominent politicians and figures – whom the Iranian government described as “pro-Western” – also criticized – Tehran’s policy of supporting Moscow. Iranian reservations about the Russian military operation also reached among religious extremists who stressed the necessity of upholding moral principles and not abandoning them to achieve political interests.
Western sanctions imposed on Moscow
A group of sanctions were imposed on Russia by the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, noting that the most escalatory step was to impose sanctions on the Russian Central Bank, and the main goal of the Western powers in freezing the bank’s assets is to deprive Moscow of one of its most important financial institutions, Given that the Russian Central Bank, whose reserves amount to about $630 billion, is considered a key component in President Vladimir Putin’s strategy known as “Fortress Russia,” which would help Russia bypass any strict sanctions against it, and despite the exclusion of… Some Russian banks are part of the global “SWIFT” financial system, which warns of the suffering of the Russian economy from a decline in export revenues, in light of the fear of major global energy companies of being affected by the sanctions imposed on Russia. Moscow still maintains a daily flow of export revenues estimated at hundreds Millions of dollars. This proves the possibility of Moscow overcoming its exclusion from the SWIFT system by finding different channels for its financial transactions with external parties.
He explained that the reason for subjecting a large number of Russian banks and institutions to US sanctions, the most recent of which was the imposition of sanctions on four major Russian banks, along with their affiliated institutions, on February 24, was the desire of the United States of America to undermine the Kremlin’s ability to finance its military operation in Ukraine. The article raised a question about the extent to which the Russian economy can withstand Western sanctions. In this context, it explained that cryptocurrencies and the digital ruble cannot help the Russian economy circumvent Western sanctions. Cryptocurrencies have a tracking system that makes it easy to monitor their illegal uses, and all cryptocurrency exchanges located in the United States of America will comply with the sanctions.
In this context, Russia’s trend to reduce its dependence on the US dollar, which it has embarked on since 2014, which was evident in the Russian oil company Rosneft’s use of the euro instead of the dollar in its commercial transactions in 2019, will not spare it the economic effects. The negative impact of the sanctions currently imposed on it in the short and medium term, given that its increasing dependence on the euro has made it more vulnerable to being affected by European Union sanctions. The importance of monitoring whether the sanctions packages imposed on Russia will affect its decision whether or not to continue its military operation in Ukraine can be stressed. Especially since the decision to impose sanctions on it came from more than 30 countries, representing more than half the size of the global economy, which means besieging Russia economically.
The Ukrainian crisis may take a dangerous turn amid nuclear threats
Regarding the crisis of nuclear threats, it is worth noting the possibility of Russian military escalation in the Ukrainian crisis and the use of nuclear weapons, which Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a combat mission. Putin believes that nuclear weapons can be used in a conventional war, and the Ukrainian war may witness further developments. This escalation is likely to represent a wake-up call for the United States and Europe, and may represent a shock to new thinking on arms control.
Regarding the American position towards Moscow’s nuclear threats, US President Joe Biden was restrained in order to ease tensions and not escalate, but Republican Senator and Deputy Chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio publicly questioned the state of the president’s mental health. Russian, adding that this period is the most dangerous in 60 years, referring to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
In this context, Senator Rubio addressed the concerns expressed by many nuclear experts long before the invasion of Kiev, especially since the authoritarian rule of President Putin has brought the Russian nuclear threat back into the equation of conventional war, especially after Russian warnings during Last week, any attempts to thwart its aggression against Ukraine would have dire repercussions, and the international isolation imposed on Moscow might prompt an unimaginable response.
Earlier, the US chief nuclear weapons negotiator, Robert Gallucci, warned of Russia’s development of its nuclear weapons, through an aggressive development program for nuclear-powered cruise missiles, hypersonic glide vehicles, as well as some low-yield nuclear weapons. He also criticized the attempts of former US President Donald Trump and his efforts to confront the Russian threat with new low-yield nuclear weapons, and to direct nuclear threats against North Korea and Iran.
Washington’s efforts to de-escalate and reauthorize the New START Treaty with Russia (the New START agreement) for measures to further reduce and limit strategic nuclear weapons. The US President and his Russian counterpart also issued a joint statement during the summit in Geneva last June, warning against the use of weapons. Nuclear weapons in wars, but with Russia’s attribution to Kiev, all new talks between Moscow and Washington have been suspended, as the Russian position remains unclear yet, at a time when the Russian nuclear arsenal is preparing for a combat mission, and may represent part of Russia’s permanent strategic power.
Also, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced earlier that “Putin” personally supervised the exercises that included the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, and the article asked whether “Putin” was looking at the efforts made by Washington and Western countries to arm the Ukrainian army and isolate Russia. Financially, it is considered a reason for war, in light of the collapse of the Russian ruble, and the continued closure of the Russian stock market in the face of American and Western moves to prevent the Russian Central Bank and some other Russian banks from participating in the international payments system.
In this context, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire indicated launching a comprehensive economic and financial war against Russia to confront its invasion of Ukraine, while former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev denounced these statements, despite the announcement by Washington and NATO countries not to send… forces to fight for Ukraine, there are still some other ways the coalition could enter directly into the conflict, such as potentially closing the Turkish Strait to Russian warships.
The article believes that the European blockade of Russia may represent the greatest source of concern at the present time. As Putin finds himself besieged in Kiev in addition to the imposed sanctions, there is only the option of escalation with low-level tactical nuclear weapons to break the Western blockade, and there is still no indication of President Putin’s intentions to do so. It continues to mobilize conventional forces inside Ukraine and tighten the noose around the Ukrainian capital, and may lead to more. It continues to mobilize more conventional forces inside Ukraine and tighten the noose around the Ukrainian capital.
The impact of Western economic sanctions on the Russian economy
With regard to the economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and a group of Western countries on the Russian economy and its main financial institutions, in response to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, as well as thinking about banning Russia from the global “SWIFT” payment system, at a time when a wide range of measures were imposed. Restrictive measures against Russian trade relations with the world.
In this context, it is pointed out that the restrictions imposed on Russia with regard to the global “SWIFT” system are futile, and it is unreasonable to imagine it as a financial nuclear weapon, especially the futility of applying it to a large extent against Iran previously. Iran was banned from the global “SWIFT” payments system, adding that this measure was not isolationist; It was the culmination of a long-lasting campaign against the Iranian banking relationship with the world, especially since the “SWIFT” system is a transfer service that does not provide clearing services, and excluding Russian banks requires a comprehensive campaign against the Central Bank of Russia and the corresponding accounts of foreign Russian banks. The Russian economy is larger than its Iranian counterpart, and is more integrated into the European economy.
Also, the campaign of sanctions imposed by the United States against the Soviet Union, during the late seventies and eighties, in the context of the Cold War between them, which created economic barriers between trade between the East and the West, and from that time sanctions became a tool for major countries against developing countries, but recently it has become The West is very confident in the sanctions it imposes, and tends to impose broad sanctions targeting entire economies and peoples. In addition, in recent years, scholars and officials have expressed concern about the excessive use of sanctions, which may lead to a reduction in their value or to the disintegration of Western financial systems as The virtual core of the financial world. In light of this, these concerns can be addressed as follows:
First, concern that European allies may seek to effectively balance against US sanctions capabilities when Washington imposes extraterritorial sanctions, whose political objectives may conflict with their own preferences; The European Union is currently considering an unprecedented framework to obstruct economic coercion efforts against its members. These measures are not officially directed at a specific country, and can be invoked against any coercive attempt from outside Europe. The provisions contained in the proposal are similar to those that the Europeans developed in the context of Controversy over economic sovereignty after Washington’s 2018 rejection of the Iran deal and the re-imposition of extraterritorial sanctions.
Secondly, there is concern that the excessive use of sanctions will lead economies around the world to seek an alternative system for economic transactions. Economic sanctions in financial globalization have created global value chains that require cross-border transactions and borrowing at every step of the production process, which creates pools of capital competencies. Money and production around the world, and the ability to access key facilitators of trade and borrowing becomes vital to commercial operations and an important advantage for national development, which is what US financial sanctions are based on.
In this context, he believes that the West is unable to create such means of trade, and that the “SWIFT” system derives its strength from strong network effects, especially since businessmen within emerging Asian countries use Western systems because they are more convenient and efficient to do so, and that Excessive use of sanctions is dangerous because it will create an excuse for these countries to search for alternatives, and may converge with Russian and Chinese financial interests and their growing interest in digital currencies, especially since Iran’s ban from the “SWIFT” system led it to search for alternatives, and given the relative size of the Iranian economy. Unrest between the major economies of the East and their trading partners in Europe has been contained.
The article pointed out that economic sanctions are a form of ostracism from the global economic system. Western countries consider themselves the legitimate guardians, and major financial institutions are merely apolitical entities seeking to achieve profit. The article suggests that the US dollar will be the most difficult equation for this Western-centered system to overcome, especially during the global financial crisis in 2008. Expect Much of Washington’s central role in global trade has diminished, but that has not happened, as Washington is the dominant power in the global system.
Repercussions of the Ukrainian crisis on German-Russian relations
Shedding light on the repercussions of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on German policy, which is characterized by caution, balance, and slowness in adapting to international changes. German Chancellor Olaf Schulz developed a strategy for German foreign policy and a path for the German confrontation against Russia, while modernizing the armed forces in Berlin.
Earlier, the special session of the German Parliament was held on February 27; The German Chancellor described the Russian attack on Ukraine as a turning point, which requires a German national effort to preserve the political and security system in Europe. Schulz announced the establishment of a fund worth $113 billion to support the German army, in addition to his intention to spend 2% of the GDP. Local defense forces.
In this context, reports pointed to Berlin’s contributions to NATO, its deterrent presence in Lithuania, and the availability of German air defense systems to member states in Eastern Europe. Despite the long-term German policy against supplying crisis areas with weapons, the German Ministry of Defense announced the supply of about 1,000 weapons to Kiev. An anti-tank system and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft weapons, in addition to a change in the German position against excluding Russian banks from the SWIFT financial transfer system. These German decisions came after the strict economic sanctions imposed by the European Union on Moscow following the military invasion of Kiev.
Moreover, Berlin canceled the largest Russian energy project and imposed sanctions that might cause German losses, in addition to increasing the volume of German defense spending. These developments came in the wake of the Russian escalation against Ukraine, after the failure of all diplomatic efforts led by the German government to avoid war, especially German Chancellor Schulz’s visit to Moscow on February 15, during which he tried to save the Minsk process, but the German government was aware of Moscow’s closure of diplomatic avenues to resolve the crisis.
New political alliances in Berlin also helped in this internal revolution. As German Chancellor Schulz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) rules with the Green Party, which is governed by values, and the liberal Free Democrats, in light of the different and strict positions of these parties towards Russia, the German Minister of Economy and Climate, Robert Habeck, exploited the Russian crisis as justification. Additional to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and build the energy network, with Schulz identifying the need for Germany to build two liquefied natural gas terminals, to overcome its dependence on suppliers.
In addition, US President Joe Biden has established a partnership with Berlin regarding Russian policy. He issued a joint statement with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July 2021 regarding energy security, during Schulz’s visit to Washington, where Biden faced a violent reaction from Republicans and some Democrats, but he realized that a change in Germany’s policy towards Russia must That it comes from Berlin and not what Washington imposes.
conclusion, it is worth noting the existence of a new era of great power competition, especially in light of some countries’ rejection of the West’s monopoly on economic power, pointing to methods that can be used to undermine economic sanctions and financial pressure against Washington’s opponents, or even its allies who aspire to the necessity of abolishing and using economic sanctions. As a tool of pressure or a threat to its national security. Also, the road ahead of Schulz will not be easy, in light of the economic entanglement between Moscow and Berlin, and reducing dependency is costly, and the risk of inflation and the impact of energy shortages on German industry is likely to become a political burden on Germany, which the opposition seeks to exploit, and to eradicate Russian influence in German politics will be contested, as well as Schulz strengthening German influence in Europe against Russian practices for years to come. In addition, resolving the Russian-Ukrainian conflict through negotiations may save efforts to limit the use of nuclear weapons, as happened even in the Cuban missile crisis after Moscow and Washington engaged in mutual nuclear threats, and the policy of brinkmanship that exists today in light of the Ukrainian crisis must To awaken officials in Washington and Moscow to the dangers of the nuclear threat; It has become a greater threat than it was during the Cold War.
- Melinda Liu, China and Russia’s Friendship in Ukraine Is Without Benefits, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/02/26/china-and-russias-friendship-in-ukraine-is-without-benefits/
- China and Russia’s Friendship in Ukraine Is Without Benefits, ibid
- Kourosh Ziabari, In Backing Russia on Ukraine, Iran Is on the Wrong Side of History, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/09/iran-support-russia-war-ukraine/
- In Backing Russia on Ukraine, Iran Is on the Wrong Side of History, ibid
- Fighters in Zhytomy, The Ukraine Dilemma, Can the West Save Kyiv Without Starting a War With Russia? https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2022-03-09/ukraine-dilemma
- Is Putin Resurrecting the Balance of Terror?, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/01/russia-war-ukraine-putin-nuclear-weapons/
- How Russia Sanctions Could Affect U.S. Economic Power, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-russia-sanctions-could-affect-us-economic-power-200906?page=0,1
- Putin Accidentally Started a Revolution in Germany, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/02/27/putin-war-ukraine-germany-scholz-revolution/