‘If Romanian authorities wish to continue developing bilateral relations, we can do so without hesitation, and we will,’ says Oleg Malginov.
In an interview for online newspaper ‘Gandul’, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to Bucharest, Oleg Malginov, dismissed the terms ‘annexation’ and ‘intervention’ used in the media to describe the events in Crimea.
“Under no circumstance can I agree with the term you’ve used, ‘intervention.’ Because there was no intervention in Ukraine and because what occurred is much more complicated,” the ambassador told the journalist. Oleg Malginov pointed out the reason for Crimea joining Russia was that the Russian community in Crimea wanted “to protect itself against Nazi tendencies” in Ukraine. “They realized they have no future in this Ukraine; they wanted self-protection and did what was necessary to ensure it.” According to the Russian diplomat, Ukraine was the victim of a military coup and “the group who rose to power has no legitimacy.”
When asked whether this scenario could be repeated in other regions inhabited by a large number of Russians, like Transdnestria, the ambassador replied it depends on the policy practiced by the authorities in question. “If policies lean towards discrimination and oppression of the legitimate desire to defend one’s language, culture and so on, I don’t know what the situation will be. But the Russian Federation will never prompt such events, because we are not interested in border conflicts. Regardless of what others may say, this is not what we want. It comes with great costs and involves diplomatic and political problems with other countries. We want the authorities in Kiev and Chisinau to take responsibility for their peoples,” the Moscow representative to Bucharest said. Moreover, Malginov argues Moscow never received a letter from Transdnestria requesting to join the Russian Federation.
Regarding the growing presence of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, the ambassador explained Russia performs military drills at its border points every two weeks, in order to assess the army’s capabilities. “If this is our only problem with Ukraine, the President has made a decision – he will stop military drills,” the diplomat said. Malginov also noted that thanks to both the Russian and Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea, it was possible “to avoid military confrontations” and blood spills during the referendum.
However, the Russian ambassador believes Moldova’s Association Agreement with the EU does not favor the economic relations between the Russian Federation and Eastern Partnership countries. In addition, Russia will certainly no longer grant these countries specific facilities, such as tax exemptions and duty free facilities, and the price of gas imported by Moldova from Russia will likewise be affected.
On the topic of the relationship between Romania and Russia, Malginov stated he disagrees with President Traian Basescu’s statements, according to which “Vladimir Putin yearns for the Mouth of the Danube” and “Russia should not be playing games on the Republic of Moldova’s territory.” “(…) As I am an ambassador here, to Romania, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the Romanian President’s statements. He is an experienced politician. (…) But I cannot agree with him,” the diplomat remarked, adding that bilateral relations are maintained in spite of these statements. “We are prepared to go forward. We have not cancelled or discontinued any plans. If Romanian authorities wish us to continue, we can do so without hesitation, and we will,” Moscow’s representative to Romania concluded.