The Russian ambassador in Dhaka, Alexander Mantytskiy, on Thursday, said that Russia would oppose any 'illegal' actions, such as sanctions against Bangladesh by the United States and Western countries. The ambassador came up with the remarks at a programme organised by the Swadhinata Sangbadik Forum at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Ambassador Mantytskiy emphasised that Russia does not recognise unilateral sanctions imposed by the West, stating, "We recognise sanctions only imposed by the UN Security Council."
In his written speech, the Russian envoy highlighted Russia's support for Bangladesh's war of independence and detailed the development and support for multiple projects in the country.
Alexander Mantytskiy strongly criticised the role of Western countries in the ongoing Gaza genocide.
He accused the West of not condemning Israeli illegal actions against innocent Gazans and supplying weapons to Israel for ethnic cleansing in Palestine.
Mantytskiy pointed out the double standard, stating that when something happens in Ukraine, Western leaders and media are quick to criticise.
He emphasised the need for the UN to remain neutral, claiming that the organisation often aligns with what the Western world says.
The ambassador stated that discussions on the kind of assistance that can be provided to Bangladesh will take place if problems arise due to Western actions.
When asked about US interference in Bangladesh's internal affairs concerning the upcoming general election, the ambassador responded in the affirmative.
Moscow had previously accused the US of interfering in Bangladesh's internal affairs, a claim rejected by Washington.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in a briefing on November 23 alleged that the US ambassador to Dhaka, Peter D Haas, had assisted the opposition in an anti-government rally in Dhaka.
Quoting Zakharova, the Russian envoy stated at the event, "On our part, we have no doubts regarding the ability of the Bangladeshi authorities to hold the parliamentary election scheduled for January 7, 2024, in full compliance with national legislation, independently, without the help of overseas well-wishers."
Regarding the visit of a detachment of warships of the Russian Pacific Fleet to the port of Chattogram in early November 2023, the ambassador stated that it was a friendly call when asked if there was any hidden message. “It’s up to you how you see it, but it was a goodwill visit.”
Discussing economic cooperation, the envoy highlighted that Bangladesh is Russia's second-largest trade partner in South Asia after India. Russia is currently working on the Rooppur nuclear plant, and after its completion, they plan to develop Bangabandhu Satellite-2.
The ambassador mentioned that the full potential of trade and investment cooperation between Russia and Bangladesh is yet to be fully tapped.
He noted that the situation is changing, with many international brands deciding to leave Russia in 2022. Russian business circles are now reorienting towards new suppliers, including those from Bangladesh, and investments, both state and private, could amount to billions of dollars.
National Press Club General Secretary Shyamal Dutta and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) Joint Secretary Khairul Alam, among others, also spoke at the event.