By OLIVER SAMBOKO
WE hope in future Zambia will vote based on its national interests and maintain the existing partnership relations with Russia, Russian deputy Ambassador to Zambia, Dmitry Yudin has said.
Zambia was among 141 nations that voted to ‘reprimand’ Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and demanded that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces, an action aimed at diplomatically isolating Russia at the UN.
Mr Yudin said in an interview that considering the historically friendly Zambian-Russian relations, his country expected another decision from the Zambian partners.
“Our hope is that in the future, friendly Zambia will vote based on its national interests and maintain the existing partnership relations with Russia,” he said.
The deputy Ambassador said while Zambia is a sovereign and independent state, and Russia respects its decisions at the international arena, including the UN, taking into account historically friendly Zambian-Russian relations, Russia expected another decision from the Zambian government.
He said Russia is aware that the United States and Western countries organized the strongest pressure on the positions of independent countries in order to support their resolution and also aware of the fact that there are a lot of facts when the United States literally blackmailed the governments of independent states if they did not vote according its wish.
Mr Yudin also said Russia has no intention of imposing sanctions against Zambia.
“We continue to assume that Zambia is our friendly partner and hope that both Russia and Zambia will take it into consideration in future decision-making,’ said the deputy Ambassador.
He said Russia has never initiated sanctions against any state, adding that in recent years, the sanctions imposed by Russia against the United States and Western countries are a mirror response to their previously imposed unilateral sanctions against Russia.
Meanwhile, Mr Yudin also explained that Russia is not going to occupy Ukraine, but only wanted to ensure Ukraine became a peaceful, neutral country with a peaceful ideology and establish friendly relations with Russia and respect the rights of Russians and other people living on its territory.
He said even before the start of the special operation, Russia offered Ukraine and its sponsors, represented by the United States and NATO, to sign an agreement as a legally obliged document, which would clearly indicate the need to give the Russian Federation guarantees of its security.
“However, Western countries did not give a clear answer to the posed question, on the contrary, they began to supply a non-defensive weapons and equipment to Ukraine. Under these conditions, Russia decided to conduct a special operation in Ukraine to enforce peace,” he said.