According to Reuters, as the world rang into the New Year, bombardment, air raid sirens marked Ukraine’s start of 2023. Russia continued intense attacks on Ukraine early on New Year’s Day, following a barrage of missiles fired on Saturday, with air raid sirens wailing for hours overnight. Ukraine’s Air Force command said that they had destroyed 45 Iranian-made Shahed drones – 32 of them after midnight on Sunday and 13 late on Saturday.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in a combative New Year address signaled that the war, now in its 11th month, will continue, a speech that contrasted with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s messages of gratitude and unity.
141 nations condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 2nd March 2022. Yet ten months later the world is still a mock spectator seeing Russia rain down terror, destroying power plants, hospitals, schools, and kindergartens. One wonders how Russia, which today is the most sanctioned nation in the world, continues its barbaric acts. Is it really isolated or does it still have some supporters?
Introducing the RISK nations
It turns out that Russia, Iran, Syria, Korea (North) – collectively RISK countries – have colluded in this crime against humanity. United by common traits, these nations are a formidable threat to world peace. Each of these four countries:
- Is a dictatorship
- Has no regard for human rights
- Systematically kills opposition leaders
- Operate a police state
It is little surprise that these states operate under quid pro quo “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” tacit agreement. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the RISK countries failed to condemn the aggression. Russia, Syria, and Korea (North) along with Belarus and Eritrea voted against, while Iran abstained.
Banned from the Olympics for doping and massively condemned by the United Nations for its aggression, it turns out that even Russia’s membership of United Nations is 1991 questionable.
- Russia never applied for United Nations membership
- It “inherited” the seat of the USSR (there is no provision for inheritance in the United Nations)
- All the other 14 republics – Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – had to apply for a seat
- Similarly, when Yugoslavia split up all six countries, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia all applied for a seat
- Russia illegally occupies a seat in the Security Council
- Russia usurped all the overseas missions and embassies of the USSR
One of the biggest allies of Russia is Iran. Its 1979 Islamic Revolution oppressed the citizens and paralysed the country, resulting in Kurdish rebellion & Khuzestan uprisings. The uprisings were subdued violently but Iran has been marred by protests ever since; the latest following the death of Mahsaamini. As isolated regional powers, Russia and Iran support each other. Iran’s Shahed drones are destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
Syria is a family enterprise masquerading as country with the Assad family in power since 1971. Bashar Assad took over from his father in 2000. Similar to Putin, Assad changed the constitution to allow him to be the President for life. Mass protests began on 26 January 2011 rallying against the collapse of the country’s economy and corruption. This led to a global Syrian Refugee Crisis with 5 million Syrians fleeing. Russia supplied men and military equipment to suppress the protests. And now, Assad owes the favour back to Putin. Syrian fighters have been called up to bolster the ailing Russian assault in Ukraine.
North Korea has been a dictatorship for three generations. Russia supports North Korea on ideological ground of communism. Having a juche ideology of self-reliance, relative to its population, North Korea has the biggest army in the world of 1.3 million for a population of 25 million. The masses continue to live in extreme poverty and famine, yet this does not stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and missiles.
North Korea is the only country in the world to recognised Russia’s 30 September annexation of the four oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. Furthermore, North Korea is supplying ammunition and artillery to Russia whose stockpile is depleting.
Has the world woken up to the collective threat of the RISK countries? Only time to come will tell.
Author: Dr Galyna Kogut PhD, researcher with National Institute of Education
Read more about how the war in Ukraine began, or listen to our podcast as we interview Ukrainians in Singapore.