Russia allies: The nations that could help Putin weather western sanctions

Ukrainian asks for help to stop Russian invasion spreading

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NATO, the EU and non-member European countries have coordinated crippling sanctions that have tightened pressure on Russia. But as the Putin regime makes a B-Line for its strategic goal of Kyiv with renewed threats of missile strikes, they have not slowed down. Ultimately, it may be the Russian premier does not fear sanctions and hopes to approach other nations in his sphere of influence for support.

Russia has a host of countries with which it has cultivated close economic ties in recent years.

Data shows Putin has built a booming export landscape supported by several key players, including some of the world’s richest nations.

Figures from the World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) show that, as of 2019, Russia’s core trading partners were primarily nations in its region.

And China, the world’s second-largest economy by GDP, is at the very top.

Export volumes from Russia to China eclipsed all of its other trading partners in 2019.

At the time, Russia was exporting 57.3 billion worth of product to its southern neighbour, approximately 13.4 percent of its total.

In recent years, the two nations have only intensified their trading relationship.

In 2021, their trade exploded by 35.9 percent, up to $146.9 billion, with partnerships primarily directed at energy.

Chinese customs data shows Russia is a key partner in oil, coal, gas and agriculture.

One of the key instigators of their growing bond was Russian sanctions installed by the west in 2014 when the Putin regime invaded Crimea.

Since then, trade has increased by 50 percent, making China its biggest export destination.

As such, it is conceivable that China could agree to take up some of the slack this time around as well.

The remaining two in Russia’s top three export destinations in 2019 were the Netherlands and Germany.

But at present, both are backing sanctions against the Putin regime.

The only nations on the list unlikely to push for sanctions against Russia are those in its immediate orbit; Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In 2019, they were the country’s fifth and eighth most favoured trading destinations.

Belarus, which is currently supporting Putin in his assault on Ukraine, received more in exports than Turkey three years ago.

The country took on 21.7 billion of Russian exports in 2019, approximately 5.1 percent of its total volume.

Much closer to the bottom was Kazakhstan, which has not explicitly backed sanctions against Russia but not supported Putin in the same way Belarus has.

In 2019, Kazakhstan received $14.3 billion worth of Russian exports, 3.1 percent of its export volume.

Russia is leaning on the country to help pick up some of the sanctions slack.

Several nations have targeted Sberbank locations in their countries.

The move had an immediate impact on the country’s economy, as the bank currently serves as Russia’s most prominent lender.

In response, it opened up new reserves to weather the fallout in Belarus and Kazakhstan.

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