The United States and its Western allies have exclusively blamed Moscow for the war in Ukraine, imposing crushing sanctions aimed at suffocating Russia’s economy and ultimately provoking regime change in the Kremlin.
But the reality is very different in the Global South.
While the governments representing the roughly 15% of the global population living in North America and Europe portray the proxy conflict in Ukraine as a battle between the so-called “international community” on one side and Russia on the other, that it not how it is seen by many states representing the vast majority of humanity in the Global South.
South Africa, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Eritrea, among other nations, have all clearly said that it is the United States and its NATO military alliance that bear responsibility for causing the war in Ukraine, not Russia.
Many other countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa have expressed neutrality in the conflict, refusing to join the Western campaign to isolate Moscow.
The largest nation on Earth, China, has publicly maintained neutrality, while backing Russia economically and blaming “US hegemony” and NATO in its media.
Even India, the world’s second-biggest country by population, whose right-wing government has become a close US ally in recent years, has been careful to stay neutral.
India is also developing an alternative payment mechanism to circumvent Western sanctions on Russia and instead do trade in Indian rupees and Russian rubles, cutting out the dollar.
Pakistan, the world’s fifth-most populous nation, is neutral as well, while leaning toward supporting Moscow.
Bangladesh, the ninth-largest country, is also neutral, and is considering using the Chinese currency, the yuan, to evade sanctions and continue trading with Russia.
Vietnam has likewise shown neutrality, calling for dialogue to lead to a peaceful resolution, while still maintaining friendly relations with Russia.
Many African nations are neutral, including Algeria, Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.
One of the most important US trade partners, Mexico, has taken a neutral stance as well. The center-left government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has refused to give in to Washington’s pressure to impose sanctions on Russia.
The government of Bolivia’s socialist President Luis Arce has shown neutrality, while anti-imperialist former President Evo Morales blamed NATO and said “the US uses Ukraine to militarily, politically, and economically attack the people of Russia.”
Morales made a “call for an international mobilization to stop the interventionist expansionism of NATO and the US,” declaring that its “hegemony of weapons and imperialism puts world peace at risk.” He has since helped organize popular workshops teaching people about the crimes of NATO.
Even the notoriously pro-US regime of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has stayed neutral. Brazil’s foreign minister, Carlos Franca, said the country’s position was one of “impartiality,” not siding firmly with Russia or Ukraine.
Brazil’s left-wing Workers’ Party published a statement blaming the United States and NATO expansion onto Russian borders for the conflict, although it later deleted the post and took a more neutral position. Former president Dilma Rousseff expressed a similar stance.
Russia is part of the BRICS framework, uniting Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in an attempt to create an alternative political and economic infrastructure to challenge Western hegemony.
All of the other countries in this bloc, which represent some of the largest economies in the world, have stayed neutral over Ukraine, while some have explicitly blamed the US and NATO.
The countries in yellow have sanctioned Russia. The countries in gray have not sanctioned Russia. pic.twitter.com/0md8fPxOoB
— Ollie Vargas (@OVargas52) March 25, 2022
South Africa blames NATO for the war in Ukraine
The government of South Africa has pointed the finger at NATO for starting the war in Ukraine.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in parliament, “The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” in comments reported by Reuters.
“There are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance against Russia. The approach we are going to take (instead) is … insisting that there should be dialogue,” the South African president said. “Screaming and shouting is not going to bring an end to this conflict.”
The South African leader did not however endorse Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stating that his government “cannot condone the use of force and violation of international law.”
Ramaphosa is the leader of the African National Congress (ANC) party that led the struggle to overthrow the system of racial apartheid imposed by Dutch colonialism in South Africa.
The ANC has maintained a neutral foreign policy, balancing between the Western powers, Russia, and China.
Other African nations oppose Western attempts to isolate Russia over Ukraine
The views expressed by South Africa’s government are shared by many other countries on the continent.
The governments of Algeria, Angola, Eritrea, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, which waged successful anti-colonialist struggles, have either blamed NATO for the war, or stayed neutral.
The Western political establishment’s frustration over African neutrality was made clear in a March 28 report in British elite newspaper The Guardian.
Drenched in neocolonialist rhetoric, this article had the title “Cold war echoes as African leaders resist criticising Putin’s war,” and the subtitle “Many remember Moscow’s support for liberation from colonial rule, and a strong anti-imperialist feeling remains.”
The condescending report conceded that numerous African states are “calling for peace but blaming Nato’s eastward expansion for the war, complaining of western ‘double standards’ and resisting all calls to criticise Russia.”
The Guardian lamented, “Support from many African leaders and governments for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine – or at least reluctance to condemn it – has dismayed western officials.”
The British newspaper reluctantly acknowledged that many African nations, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique, “are still ruled by parties that were supported by Moscow during their struggles for liberation from colonial or white supremacist rule.”
Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua blame US and NATO for Ukraine war
In Latin America, positions on the war in Ukraine are transparently divided on ideological lines: left-wing anti-imperialists have blamed the US and NATO for the war, while right-wing pro-US forces have demonized Russia and heroized Ukraine.
As Multipolarista previously reported, a top US official admitted that Washington’s sanctions on Russia over Ukraine also intentionally seek to hurt Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
These three Latin American nations with socialist governments, where the United States has constantly organized coup attempts, have blamed US aggression against Russia and NATO expansion for the crisis in Ukraine, while simultaneously emphasizing how tragic war is and how much the world needs peace.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his government “laments the mockery and breaking of the Minsk agreements by NATO, promoted by the United States of America,” accusing Washington and NATO of causing the conflict because they “generated strong threats against the Russian Federation.”
Cuba’s Foreign Ministry wrote, “The U.S. determination to continue NATO’s progressive expansion towards the Russian Federation borders has brought about a scenario with implications of unpredictable scope, which could have been avoided.”
The Cuban government added, “History will hold the United States accountable for the consequences of an increasingly offensive military doctrine outside NATO’s borders, which threatens international peace, security and stability.”
Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega stressed that war is never a good thing, causing people to “lose their humanity” and generating destructive economic consequences. But he put the blame for this war squarely on Washington.
The Sandinista leader recalled that the United States organized a violent coup in Ukraine in 2014, overthrowing its democratically elected government with “terrorism,” and then installing into power “political forces subordinated to the North American government and European imperialism, who have thought that now is the time that Europe and the United States eliminate Russia, without keeping in mind that there are big changes in the world, that there are other powers in the world.”
Iran says US ‘mafia regime’ and military-industrial complex caused Ukraine crisis
Very similar comments were made by the government in Iran, another Global South nation that waged a successful revolution against a Western-backed regime.
Iran’s public media outlet Press TV reported: “Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has blamed the American regime for the current Ukraine crisis, and demanded an end to the war in Ukraine.”
“The US disrupted the stability of the country [Ukraine] by interfering in its affairs and organizing rallies and creating a color coup,” Khamenei said, referring to the US-sponsored 2014 coup in Kiev.
“We oppose the killing of people and the destruction of the infrastructure of nations,” he added.
The Iranian supreme leader referred to the United States as “basically a mafia regime – political mafia, economic mafia, arms mafia and all kinds of mafias that run and rule the policies of that country and control the country.”
He said the US “regime is a crisis-producing and crisis-consuming regime, and it feeds off creating crises in the world,” and explained that the military-industrial complex needs conflicts like the war in Ukraine: “If the United States fails to create a crisis, the arms factories will not be able to make the most of it. They have to create crises in order to maximize the interests of these mafias.”
North Korea blames Western ‘hegemonic policy’ for starting the Ukraine war
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) likewise blamed “the hegemonic policy of the U.S. and the West” for the war in Ukraine.
“The root cause of the Ukraine crisis totally lies in the hegemonic policy of the U.S. and the West which indulge themselves in high-handedness and arbitrariness towards other countries,” the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement in the official KCNA news agency.
“The U.S. and the West, in defiance of Russia’s reasonable and just demand to provide it with legal guarantee for security, have systematically undermined the security environment of Europe by becoming more blatant in their attempts to deploy attack weapon system while defiantly pursuing NATO’s eastward expansion,” it continued.
” The U.S. and the West, having devastated Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are mouthing phrases about ‘respect for sovereignty’ and ‘territorial integrity’ over the Ukrainian situation which was detonated by themselves. That does not stand to reason at all,” Pyongyang wrote.
It concluded: “The greatest danger the world faces now is high-handedness and arbitrariness by the U.S. and its followers that are shaking international peace and stability at the basis. The reality proves positive once again that peace would never settle on the world at any time as long as there remains the unilateral and double-dealing policy of the U.S. which threatens peace and security of the sovereign state.”