Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visit the headquarters of Russian forces in Damascus, 7 January 2020 (AFP)

by Dr Galyna Kogut

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 β€” 32 of them after midnight on Sunday and 13 late on Saturday.

In a combative New Year address, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signalled that the war, 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 2 March 2022.

Yet a year 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?

It turns out that Russia, Iran, Syria, and Korea (North)Β  β€” collectively RISK countries β€” have colluded in this crime against humanity.

United by a common misery, these nations are a formidable threat to world order and peace. Each of these four countries

  • Is a dictatorship
  • Has no regard for human rights
  • Opposition leaders are systematically killed
  • Operate a police state
  • Bully countries around them

It is little surprise that these pariah states operate under quid pro quo π‘¦π‘œπ‘’ π‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘β„Ž π‘šπ‘¦ π‘π‘Žπ‘π‘˜, 𝐼’𝑙𝑙 π‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘β„Ž π‘¦π‘œπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘  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 it while Iran abstained.

Russia is a nation of lies and self-denial. Be it International Olympic Committee – IOC or United Nations, Russia has proved itself to be an undeserving member of the international community.

Banned from the Olympics for doping and massively condemned by the United Nations for its aggression, Russia failed to come out of the tsar mindset and come to terms with the realities of the 21st century. It turns out that even Russia’s membership of the United Nations in 1991 questionable

  1. Russia never applied for United Nations membership
  2. It “inherited” the seat of the USSR
  3. There is no provision for inheritance in the United Nations
  4. All the other 14 republics, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia had to apply for a seat
  5. Similarly, when Yugoslavia split up all six countries Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia applied for a seat
  6. Russian Federation illegally occupies the seat of the USSR which no longer exists!
  7. Not just that, Russia also illegally occupies a seat in the Security Council.
  8. Russia also usurped all the overseas missions and embassies of the USSR

One of its biggest allies of Russia is Iranβ€”a perfect example of what havoc mismanagement and totalitarianism can bring to a country. 1979 Islamic Revolution oppressed the citizens and paralyzed 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. Iran uses its nuclear program to threaten its neighbours and is a danger to itself given its political instability.

As isolated regional powers, Russia and Iran support each other. Iranian 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. He has been a dictator in Syria as long as Putin has been a dictator in Russia.

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 brutally suppress the protests and repeatedly vetoes resolutions against Syria. Syria continues to bully its neighbors, such as Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon.

And now when Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as per plan, Assad owes the favor 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 the ideological ground of communism.

Having a jucheΒ 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 famines are common. Yet this does not stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and missiles to threaten its neighbors.

North Korea is the only country in the world to recognized 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.

Dr Galyna Kogut PhD is a researcher with National Institute of Education and the President of Ukrainian Club. She has been instrumental in raising awareness on Russia Ukraine war, how women and families in Ukraine are adapting to it, and what organizations can do to help in transition. She has co-authored Digital Storytelling for Educative Purposes and An Atheist Gets the Gita.

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