In recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued that Ukraine is part of Russia and used historical borders to justify the ongoing conflict. Meanwhile, Mongolia’s former president, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, has mocked Putin’s claims and shared maps of the Mongol Empire to illustrate how small Russia was in the past. In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Putin outlined centuries of Russian and European history to argue that Russia has a claim over Ukraine.
Elbegdorj’s criticism of Putin’s actions has been met with mixed reactions from Mongolia’s government. While it has not outright condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Elbegdorj has been vocal in his support for the country and its territorial integrity. In a tweet following Putin’s talk with Tucker Carlson, he wrote: “Don’t worry. We are a peaceful and free nation.”
Despite its smaller size compared to its neighboring countries, Mongolia remains one of the world’s largest nations in terms of overall landmass. In February 2023, Elbegdorj called on the world’s democracies to rally together and provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to win its fight for freedom. He also criticized Putin for his narcissistic tendencies and fear of competition from successful neighbors.