Ukraine tops list of countries with the worst relations with neighbours

Syria, which is also dealing with a bloody civil war, came second

Kashmira Gander
Monday 27 July 2015 13:52
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A far-right activist stands in front of a blaze of tyres near the Ukrainian government building in central Kiev
A far-right activist stands in front of a blaze of tyres near the Ukrainian government building in central Kiev

The bloody conflict in Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of 6,000 people, continues to rage - and it is the embattled nation's troubled relationship with Russia that dominates much of the discourse.

And now, as if any proof were needed, Ukraine has topped a list of countries with the worst relations with their neighbours.

The level of peace and stability in the country has changed for the worse over the past 18 months after pro-European protests gave way to an insurgency by armed pro-Russian separatists.

The war-torn eastern European nation scored above Syria in research carried out by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) think tank and published in the annual Global Peace Index

The situation in Syria saw it named the most dangerous country in the world overall in the annual Global Peace Index report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) think tank.

To make the list, researchers assessed countries and ranked them from 1 to 5, with the latter being the worst.

The worst performing countries on the list:

Countries scoring 5: Ukraine, Syria, Russia, North Korea, Lebanon, Azerbaijan.

Countries scoring 4: South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, South Korea, Israel, Iran, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Armenia

Russia placed third on the list, due to a combination of its annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and fears that the conflict in Ukraine could spread across the border.

North Korea, the isolated nation whose internal human rights record was slammed by a recent UN report, is notoriously hostile towards other nations – not least South Korea from which it is separated by a militarised border.

The hermit kingdom often often uses projectiles to retaliate against US - which fought with South and UN allies during the Korean War - and South Korean when the two take part in military drills.

“The laggard of the region, North Korea, remains a concern for global peace with continued belligerence and isolation,” researchers wrote in the report.

Lebanon has placed fifth on the list, a year after the Isis extremist group temporarily seized the town of Arsal. Having dealt with ongoing conflicts for decades, tension and violence in Lebanon has escalated after militias became involved in the Syrian conflict. In October, Sunni groups that support Syrian rebels and Alawite groups aligned with the Assad regime clashed in Lebanon.

More positively, the study also found that external peacefulness has improved over the last eight years across the globe and relations with neighbouring countries have become stronger, particularly in South America.

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