On 2 March, UN General Assembly called on Russia to “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine. A large – overwhelming – majority passed this resolution. 141 countries voted in favor, 35 abstained – including China. Besides Russia, only Belarus, Syria, Eritrea, and North Korea voted against. These five countries are the ones that still support Putin to a lesser or greater extent.
Syria is also something of a friendship for Russia: the Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad has been able to retake a large area of his country since 2015, thanks to Putin’s intervention in the Syrian civil war. Syria has been relevant for Russia for decades – as access to the Mediterranean Sea. It has been speculated that Russia has been testing its weapons systems in Syria since 2015, trying out strategies that are now also being used in Ukraine. Media reports say Putin is currently also relying on Syrian fighters.