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Thai-Russian ties still strong despite Bangkok voting against Moscow: Russian ambassador


The Thai-Russian relationship is still strong despite Thailand voting in the UN against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict, Russian Ambassador Evegeny Tomikhin said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Peaceful security” and “stability” have been part of Moscow’s solution to the Donetsk and Luhansk issues for the past eight years before this escalated into a war in Ukraine, he said.

“Russia respects and appreciates the Royal Thai government’s position regarding the Russia-Ukraine situation and, diplomatically, Russia does not interfere in domestic affairs,” Tomikhin said.

The ambassador stressed on “important” long-term Thai-Russia relations, especially in times of crisis, and noted that Thailand was ready to hear Moscow’s position on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war despite being pressured by western governments not to do so.

On the domestic level, he said, Thailand has “amazingly assisted” stranded Russian tourists and provided security for the embassy.

Regarding the war, the ambassador reiterated that Russia “had long tried to end this conflict in Ukraine – for the past eight years – in Donetsk and Luhansk, and even last year Moscow proposed measures for security and stability there, but failed to succeed as it was ignored by Western countries, the US and NATO.

Tomikhin also defended his country’s military operation in Ukraine, strongly insisting that civilian infrastructure such as schools or residential buildings were “never targeted”.

The priority, he stated, was to “demilitarise” only the military structure in Ukraine.
Regarding a humanitarian corridor, which Ukraine accused Moscow of not honouring, the ambassador guaranteed that the Russian army would allow people from surrounding cities in Ukraine to evacuate to safety each day from 10am. But he blamed Ukraine’s armed forces for “not allowing the people to leave the cities” and holding them “hostage against Russia’s army”.

Tomikhin went on to compare the current situation with what took place in Donetsk and Luhansk eight years ago. He claimed “innocent children and women who were residing in the area were killed by the Ukrainian armed forces and the situation was largely ignored by Western media”.

When asked to define the terms of Russia’s so-called “special military operation” versus “war”, the ambassador compared the “operation” to the war in Afghanistan that has been “going on for the past 20 years”.

He reiterated Moscow’s stance on its objective to “demilitarise” the Ukrainian military infrastructure, saying Russia wants to feel secure and safe at its border”.

The press briefing, which saw high attendance by the Thai media, was shut to Western media. The Russian Embassy reasoned that this was due to “limited space” and to “prevent Covid-19 infections”, so it could only accommodate Thai media.

Published : March 16, 2022

By : THE NATION