Mongolia and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

By Marissa J. Smith

It is now over two weeks since the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This post is a summary of events concerning events relating Mongolia and the invasion so far. It includes coverage of:

  1. Mongolian government responses, which have not contested Russian actions. I also include responses by the Democratic Party and prominent party members, that have been condemning the invasion, but it must be remembered that these currently have vanishingly little power in the current Mongolian government.
  2. Mongolian media coverage, which has mostly amplified Mongolian government positions.
  3.  Mongolian social media, which has recorded at least one protest that was interrupted by police and ultranationalist groups. Global hashtags have been picked up, but those explicitly supporting Ukraine have been mostly overtaken by the much less explicit “no war,” though the latter is a slogan that the Russian government has aggressively opposed (with reports in the last few days of people in Russia even being arrested for demonstrating with blank signs). In the last few days, signs of Russians fleeing into Mongolia have emerged.

This post does not examine Mongolia’s position betwixt and between Russia and Ukraine, which definitely merits its own post. (Teaser — President Zelenskyy spent part of his childhood in Erdenet.)

And please also take a look at Bolor Lkhaajav’s piece, How Is Mongolia Responding to the Russia-Ukraine War? – The Diplomat.

2/21

Russia recognizes Donetsk and Lukhansk People’s Republics

2/22

Mongolian state broadcaster MNB reports that no Mongolian permanent residents in Ukraine had requested to leave the though the government was working evacuate 35 Mongolian students

2/24

Invasion begins

2/27

Contract signed by Gazprom for the Power of Siberia pipeline, to cross Mongolia, carrying gas from Russia to China

2/28 – 3/1

Demonstrators on Sukhbaatar Square were confronted by neo-Nazi nationalist groups and police

 

The incident was referenced by singularly important Satso demonstrating Mongolian concerns over how the Russia-Ukraine war will effect Mongolia.

Democratic Party condemns the invasion:

Democratic Party announcement

“In the last few days, the Kremlin leaders led by Putin using the means of the Russian military forces to launch a special military operation against a UN member state, an independent and sovereign democratic Ukraine. The Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP) strongly condemns this. We demand an immediate end to this practice, which threatens the lives of many civilians and causes enormous economic damage.

Russia’s move is unjustifiable and a serious threat to peace and stability in Europe and the world.

At this difficult time, members and supporters of the Mongolian Democratic Party are expressing their solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Ulaanbaatar
2022.02.28

MEMBER OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MONGOLIA”

Independent news outlet Eagle.mn was among those who published the DP announcement on “the Ukrainian matter.”

Posts about Buryat soldiers in Russian forces (one demonstrates racism towards Mongolians and Buryats, including by Ukrainians) shared widely on Mongolian social media.

See also this tweet,  and this tweet.

3/2

Mongolian Foreign Minister B. Battsetseg comments that “Mongolia values peace and is of the position that it is important to cease fire immediately.”

2021 Presidential candidate D. Enkhbat conducted a twitter poll measuring anxieties about the effect Russian economic collapse would have on Mongolia. (Results almost evenly split between it being beneficial for Mongolia and dangerous for Mongolia).

(3/2)

Mongolia abstains in UN vote to condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine

(3/3)

An image of the Ukrainian flag high on the storage silos of major Mongolian flour producer appears on twitter. It was retweeted by former DP Prime Ministers M. Enkhsaikhan and S. Bayar, while a reported police visit to Altan Taria was criticized by D. Enkhbat.

(3/4)

A new law against “fake news” in Russia heralds the closure of numerous news outlets in Russia

On March 4th, protestors with “no war” signs were back on Sukhbaatar Square. Former President Elbegdorj, who tweeted “Glory to Ukraine” one day prior, joined them.

Demonstrations on the occasion of International Women’s Day (3/8) have since become more visible.

(3/9)

Mongolian government news agency Montsame reports that Aeroflot’s Ulaanbaatar-Moscow flights had been “indefinitely suspended,” as well as AeroMongolia’s Irkutsk flights.

This was two days after Aeroflot grounded all international flights, reportedly related to many of its planes being leased from owners in Europe.

Russian-language social media activity regarding flight from Russia to Mongolia increasing on Facebook. Mongolian respondents replying that the flights had been suspended, and that bus and car travel at the Altanbulag-Khiakhta crossing (between Ulaanbaatar and Irkutsk) was not possible.

(3/12)

Tweets reporting that Mongolian customs has seized silver, gold, and diamonds in luggage widely shared:

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