Ethiopia’s international relations woes get complicated by Russian military agreements

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made the decision to closely align with Russia and China rather then the Western democracies. This could have significant consequences given the likely war developing in Ukraine

The quickly deteriorating Russian Ukraine crisis has triggered the United States and NATO allies to begin quickly escalating punishing sanctions against Russia. The close relationship developed between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Russia including secret “military cooperation agreements” somewhat guided by Eritrean despot Isaias Afwerki who many think is controlling Ahmed will have consequences. 

Some of the outcomes coming to or affecting Ethiopia could include the world wide oil prices continuing to rise steeply which will severely further damage the Ethiopian economy. The previous friendly relationship of NATO countries with Ethiopia has ended with almost complete cessation of weapons to Ethiopia due to the ongoing complete blockade of Tigray and failure to make progress towards peace. If the military cooperation with Russia brings forth a Russian armed force presence in Ethiopia or its neighbors, Djibouti or Eritrea, while NATO is preparing for a possible military intervention Ethiopia could be seen as a hostile supporter of Russian aggression leading to harsher treatment of Ethiopia by the Western democracies.

The largest trade partner of the Ukraine is China. China sells machinery to Ukraine and imports needed metals from Ukraine. China has requested that the security concerns of Russia should be settled peacefully. China has already indicated that it hopes for an end to war in Ethiopia so that progress can be made in finally making a plan to repay the near $70 billion in debt mostly owed to China which so far haw made no progress.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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