Russia Threatened Countries with Retaliation Ahead of UN Vote on Crimean Referendum; Moscow says it Was ‘Only Explaining the Situation’

Ukraine's acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrii Deshchytsia (R) speaks with Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev before the vote count of a draft resolution on the territorial integrity of the Ukraine at the U.N. headquarters in New York March 27, 2014.  (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
Ukraine’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrii Deshchytsia (R) speaks with Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev before the vote count of a draft resolution on the territorial integrity of the Ukraine at the U.N. headquarters in New York March 27, 2014.
(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Several countries were threatened with retaliation by Russia if they voted against Moscow in a United Nations General Assembly resolution, diplomats have revealed.

Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and a number of African countries were among the states threatened by Russia, they said.

The UN resolution aimed to declare Crimea’s referendum on breaking away from Ukraine as invalid and was passed by 100 votes to 11, with 58 abstentions.

The disclosures about Russian threats were made by the news agency Reuters and were based on interviews with UN diplomats, most of whom were said to have spoken on condition of anonymity for fear of angering Moscow.

Russian threats were not specific, the diplomats said, but it was made clear that retaliatory measures could include steps such as expelling migrant workers from Russia, halting natural gas supplies or imposing trade bans.

A spokesman for Russia’s mission to the UN denied that any threats of retaliation had been made, and said: “We never threaten anyone. We just explain the situation.”

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SOURCE: LEWIS SMITH  
The Independent

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