Mongolia is reeling under Russian sanctions

Mongolia is reeling beneath Russian sanctions

Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine has broken Mongolia’s financial system, its prime minister has claimed, demanding monetary damages together with lack of airline income and difficulties importing important provides from Russia.

Virtually a yr after the total invasion Ukraine and the following imposition of sweeping sanctions by the US and its allies on Moscow, the landlocked democracy of simply 3.3 million folks sandwiched between Russia and China continues to be reeling from the affect.

“Though Mongolia is a democratic nation, it is usually beneath stress due to the sanctions imposed on Russia,” the nation’s 42-year-old prime minister, Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene, informed the Monetary Occasions. He added that the punitive measures represent “a double sanction in opposition to Mongolia, though it isn’t our fault”.

Collateral harm ranges from problems in paying Russian firms, on which Oyun-Erdene says Mongolia is “completely dependent” for gas, to lack of income from airways that when flew over the nation.

“The state of affairs in Ukraine is not only a battle between two international locations,” the prime minister mentioned. “It has a damaging and large affect on the world financial system and particularly on small and landlocked international locations together with Mongolia. . . Financial sanctions have to be imposed based mostly on in depth analysis as a result of they’ve far-reaching results and damaging results on different international locations.”

Airways that when operated Europe-Asia routes by means of Russian airspace additionally flew over Mongolian territory for which they paid Ulaanbaatar invaluable “cruise charges”. These have dissipated as Russian airspace bans – imposed by Moscow in retaliation for EU measures focusing on Russian plane – have compelled many European airways to both fly over the North Pole or take a extra southerly route by means of Central Asia and Turkey.

Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene
Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene: “The state of affairs in Ukraine is not only a battle between two international locations” © Lisi Niesner/Reuters

“As a result of planes can not fly over Russia, we’re lacking our navigation income,” Oyun-Erdene mentioned. “Secondly, we import our gas from Russia and as [Russian energy] firms and banks are beneath sanctions, we face fee issues.” He added that war-related shortages of commodities comparable to diesel, sunflower oil and mining tools in Russia had led to “disruption of a few of the merchandise we use every day”.

Oyun-Erdene has highlighted these points throughout a flurry of diplomacy in latest months, together with a visit to Germany in October and UN Secretary-Common António Guterres’ go to to Ulaanbaatar in August.

Wang Yi, then China’s overseas minister, additionally traveled to Mongolia late final yr shortly after he was promoted to the Politburo of the Chinese language Communist Social gathering.

“We consider that China, the EU and Germany have an enormous affect on this [the Ukraine] the state of affairs,” Oyun-Erdene mentioned. “On this context, I made an official go to to Germany and we additionally mentioned with our Chinese language counterparts, particularly throughout Wang Yi’s go to to Mongolia.

Mirroring its dependence on Russia for crucial provides, Mongolia is equally depending on Chinese language export demand for coal, copper and different commodities. Coal and copper account for about 60 p.c of the nation’s complete exports, adopted by gold and iron ore with 20 p.c.

On the finish of November, Oyun-Erdene presided over the opening of the brand new cross-border rail link to China that his authorities hopes to extend pre-pandemic coal exports by round 30 million tonnes a yr to 80 million a yr.

“Ninety p.c of Mongolia’s exports go to China, and Mongolia is totally depending on Russia for gas. We’re additionally depending on our two neighbors for meals and different merchandise,” the prime minister mentioned. “However Mongolia is a parliamentary democracy and [our] folks’s considering and society could be very completely different from these international locations. . . Mongolia is landlocked, however we aren’t mind-locked.”

This democratic mindset can gas widespread stress on Mongolian leaders that their counterparts in China and Russia hardly ever need to take care of. In early December, massive mobs, offended over alleged theft of state coal belongings, threatened to assault authorities buildings in Ulaanbaatar.

“The frustration and mass protests have been the results of the unequal distribution of wealth that has occurred over the previous 32 years,” Nyambaatar Khishigee, the justice and inside minister, informed the FT in a separate interview, referring to the interval since Mongolia’s transition to democracy in 1990.

Since then, Oyun-Erdene’s administration started extensive investigation of government officials and executives at state-owned pure assets and transportation firms.

The federal government has arrested dozens of individuals for alleged bribery, abuse of energy and “unjust enrichment,” together with the police seizure of seven.3 billion tugriks ($2.1 million) from the house of the pinnacle of state railways.

However the authorities disputes protesters’ claims that as much as 40t tugriks have been stolen from the state’s coal reserves since 1995 – in comparison with official earnings of 45.2t tugriks from coal exports over the interval.


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