Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated across the globe in support of Ukraine and demanded an end to Russia’s invasion, which began on February 24th.
But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put landlocked Mongolia in a tight spot economically and diplomatically with a small group of protesters gathering on Ulaanbaatar’s Sukhbaatar Square to call for an end to hostilities in Ukraine, only to be confronted by ultra-nationalists worried about antagonizing Russia.
Mongolia’s Democratic Party, which has a seat in the Mongolian parliament, condemned the Russian invasion and demanded that Moscow immediately stop its act of aggression.
However, experts have warned that Mongolia’s delicate balancing act between East and West could be upset.
Leader of the Mongolian People’s Party E.Odbayar said that people expressed their own opinions, accusing authorities of interfering openly in such a process. Odbayar said police and law enforcement agencies continue to prosecute citizens who express their views.
Meanwhile, Ts.Buyantsogtoo, Director and Researcher at the Institute for Strategic Studies, said the most important thing is that the Mongolian government foreign policy must be neutral unless its security and interests come under a threat.
He blamed members of Democratic Party for making an official statement on the Russian war, urging them to be in agreement with the government, which he said tries to strike a balance in all matters.
“It is right that our country has pursued a policy of “suspension” through the UN referendum. It is very difficult to go straight to one side. We have to look at Russia’s policy. We must be in agreement with the government, as we have been,” the researcher added.
Also, S.Bayasgalan, Associate Professor of International Relations, National University of Mongolia agreed with Buyantsogtoo and called for what is called “Balancing” in foreign policy.
“There is evidence that we will not intervene in any dispute between the two countries unless it affects Mongolia’s security and interests. This is a de facto balance under international law,” Bayasgalan said
He also said that the current Mongolian government is trying to strike a balance, as it did not issue any statement since the Russian troops entered Ukraine.