*Dr. Un Kheang, Professor of Political Science at the Northern Illinois University, a Visiting Professor at American University of Phnom Penh and Member of the Board of Director at Cambodia Development Center
In February 2022, Russia shocked the world through its invasion of Ukraine. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of the most consequential geopolitical events in recent memory. The war will have wide ranging impacts not just for Ukraine and Russia but for countries all over the world, including Cambodia which can be categorized into economic and geopolitical impacts.
In general terms, Cambodia is largely insulated from food crises owing to its agrarian economy and reliance on imports from regional partners. However, the Russian-Ukrainian war has impacts on the price of certain food products that have become increasingly popular among middle class Cambodians. Moreover, like other energy-importing countries, Cambodia has faced rising fuel prices which led to rising transportation costs. These in turn have caused inflation.
Geopolitical challenges for Cambodia pertain to its role as the Chairman of ASEAN in 2022, including (1) Adherence by ASEAN member states to the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries, (2) Geostrategic significance of Russia in balancing China (for Vietnam) and (3) Importance of Russia as a weapons supplier to Southeast Asian countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, and Myanmar). At the end of the day, uncertainty will abound and unintended outcomes will be grave-absent careful management.