Friday 24, March 2023

Russian grateful for Bangladesh remaining neutral despite pressure

Russian ambassador’s briefing

Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka: Russian ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Mantytskiy has said that Russia highly appreciates Bangladesh’s “responsible and balanced attitude” towards the resolution at the UNGA emergency session.

He said, “We express gratitude to the Bangladeshi side for its neutral position taken despite the enormous external pressure during the voting.”

Ambassador Mantytskiy was responding to a question about Bangladesh’s stance regarding the UN resolution.

Bangladesh, incidentally, had abstained from voting for the resolution against Russia taken up on 2 March at the emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The ambassador was replying to questions of newsmen at a press briefing organised Thursday morning at the Russian embassy.

The briefing had been arranged on the occasion of one month since the Russian ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.

Alexander Mantytskiy said that Washington’s sanctions were not just a threat to Russia alone, but to Bangladesh and other allies.

He said multilateral discussions were being held between Dhaka and Moscow to tackle the situation.

He said in order to keep up business and transactions with Bangladesh, different options were being considered, such as barter and usage of third country’s banks.

Replying to a question on the impact of western sanctions on Bangladesh-Russia economic cooperation, he said that understandably Bangladesh had concern about the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. However, he said, the work was still on schedule.

The US, European Union and their western allies had placed sanctions on Russian companies using the SWIFT global system for financial transactions and this had presented certain uncertainties to Russia’s dealings with Bangladesh.

In reply to a question in this regard, the Russian ambassador said, “Different options are being considered, for instance barter, swap of national currencies and usage of third country’s banks.”

The Russian ambassador said, “Presently, a large number of Western companies have been forced to leave our market under pressure from their governments. For our partners from Bangladesh, a unique opportunity opens up to enter the market freed from unreliable partners.”

Regarding possible disruption in wheat and fuel supplies from Russia, Alexander Mantytskiy said, “With respect to a question concerning possible disruption of Russia’s export of commodities such as natural gas and wheat. The Russian Federation as a responsible party of different trade accords, including deals with Bangladesh, is committed to fully exercising its obligations under the agreements.”

He went on to say, “The latest sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus have sent global prices for fertilizer soaring to an all-time high. Our two countries are major exporters of potash, critical for the global agriculture industry.”

The ambassador said, “We have been facing difficulties at all stages in our history. I can assure you that this time we will emerge from the crisis with a healthier mindset and mentality.”

He said that the Ukrainian troops are setting up mines and other military equipment in residential areas. Then when Russian troops attack, they are accused of attacking the civilian areas.

The ambassador refrained from commenting on US pressure in Bangladesh to join QUAD, saying this was an internal matter.

About the Rohingya issue, he said the matter should be resolved by means of dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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