Dhaka August 24 2022 :
On August 24 2022 the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh hosted a round table titled “Six Months of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine: Its Results and Perspectives. Russia-Bangladesh Relations in the Context of Economic Crisis”.
In his speech H.E. Mr Alexander Mantytskiy, Ambassador of Russia to Bangladesh, listed the causes and aims of the Russian SMO, exposed unlawful methods of war used by the Ukrainian Army, and outlined the major shifts in the world order that are gaining momentum after February 24, 2022.
The event was held in collaboration with the Russian news agency and radio “Sputnik”. Mr Vasily Pushkov, Director of International Cooperation, Sputnik, delivered a speech “Global media market in the new geopolitical realities”. “The world is now in the era of unprecedented changes and the global media market is not an exception. The monopoly of Western media is fading and this process is quite logical taking into consideration the importance of first-hand information. That is why we consider direct international cooperation between media the most precious thing nowadays and invite our colleagues from Bangladesh to strengthen the professional ties”, Mr Pushkov said.
H.E. Mr Alexander Mantytskiy also briefed the audience on the state and prospects of Russia-Bangladesh relations in trade, energy and ICT sectors, making it clear that anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West are unable to hinder their development. The Ambassador also dismissed ungrounded accusations of Russia being responsible for a global food and energy crisis.
Representatives of local Bengali and English language newspapers, information agencies and TV channels, as well as members of political parties and scholars from universities and think tanks took part in the event. The round table’s topic and speakers aroused a genuine interest among the guests and led to a dynamic Q&A session and follow-up discussion.
H.E. Mr Alexander Mantytskiy’s speech during the roundtable as follows :
Good afternoon, dear friends and colleagues. Thank you very much for responding to our invitation to join the Embassy’s round table on topics that are very important for our countries in a rapidly changing geopolitical situation. I would also like to express my gratitude to the colleagues from the Sputnik news agency for meeting our request to highlight for their Bangladeshi colleagues and experts in the field of international relations, who traditionally are guests and active participants in all our events, the problems of the modern media market, which is developing under the influence of the special military operation carried out by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
Our country is once again experiencing a turning point in its history. Russia has entered an acute phase of confrontation with an aggressive alliance of unfriendly states led by the United States. The enemy’s goal is to inflict a strategic defeat on our country, eliminating it as a geopolitical competitor. We have to deal with a Russophobic collective West. It has advanced military-technical potential and controls a significant part of global markets, financial resources, logistics chains and information flows. For decades, the NATO bloc has been developing territories adjacent to vital areas of Central Russia in the Baltic States and Ukraine. The latter has been turned into a spear aimed at the very heart of Russia. Conflict in Ukraine became the West’s frontline of war against our country.
We have tried to convince Washington and its allies for years that Ukraine should not be dragged into NATO. Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. We have been urging our Western colleagues to make Ukraine fulfill implementation of the UN Security Council resolution which endorsed the Minsk agreements, agreements signed by France and Germany, too.
But the West, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated, does not want to do business with anyone on an equal basis in any way. USA and Europe want to communicate only with those who will be absolutely obedient to them. That’s why the West doesn’t talk about international law – they invented a new term there: “rules based order”. It is this narrative which is constantly being talked about, it is this wording which is being tried to introduce into any international discussions and documents, openly implying that it is the Westerners who determine which rules should be applied in this or that case.
Now the West, in a Russophobic “zeal”, demands that Ukraine should not stop military operations, should not start negotiations until its victory and from Russia – to reach an agreement which guarantees sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The West is very late. The Minsk agreements were just such an agreement that guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine while granting a special status to Donbass.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation on February 24 in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics, which have been shelling for the last 8 years by the Ukrainian military units and neo-Nazi military formations. Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, were openly in the making with the assistance from NATO. Kiev even declared that it could attain nuclear weapons.
Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision. A decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.
Today the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue the special military operation in Ukraine advancing on most sectors of the front and inflicting artillery, missile and air strikes with precision weapons against military facilities, positions of Ukrainian military formations and nationalist battalions. At the same time Russian military command and troops on the ground make every effort to minimize civilian casualties and avoid collateral damage.
In particular as of August 23 Russian units together with militia from Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics destroyed in total 416 Ukrainian airplanes and helicopters, 1,8 thousand unmanned aerial vehicles, 370 anti-aircraft missile systems, 4,3 thousand tanks and other armored combat vehicles. Russian troops carry forward advance along the whole front line. Despite the Western countries’ support for the Kiev regime, we are consistently pursuing goals and objectives of the Special Military Operation, which are to protect civilians in the DPR and LPR, to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, and to eliminate threats to Russia’s security.
Ladies and gentlemen!
When the special military operation started, we saw how deeply the Kiev regime interacted with NATO: cutting-edge weaponry and military infrastructure were delivered and constructed in large quantities and amounts, training activities gained momentum, many mercenaries served in nationalist battalions. Suffice to mention about the military and biological activities of the US and its allies in Ukraine. The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation possesses evidence that research had been carried out in Ukraine for several years on behalf of the so-called Big Pharma.
As far as mercenaries are concerned, over almost four weeks (from July 8 to August 5) their number in Ukraine decreased from 2,741 to 2,192 as a result of the offensive actions of the Russian Armed Forces and the units of the people’s militias of Donetsk and Lugansk. Poland still leads in the rate of reduction of mercenaries in Ukraine.
Peaceful life is resuming on liberated territories of Donbass, Zaporozhye, Kharkov and Kherson regions. Over 50,000 explosive ordnances were detected and cleared. Over 200,000 square meters of destroyed buildings cleared. Russia has delivered over 56,000 tonnes supplied since March 2022. More than 300,000 retirees in DPR, LPR and Ukraine’s liberated regions received social benefits. Over 30,000 people in Zaporozhye region apply for Russian passports. More than 2 thousand schools in liberated territories are getting ready to open their doors for children.
As of August 23, despite all the difficulties and obstacles imposed by the Ukrainian side, without the participation of Kiev, in total, since the beginning of the special military operation, more than 3,6 million people have already been evacuated to Russia, of which around 576 thousand are children. All of them are provided with food and shelter. Medical assistance is provided to those in need.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian troops and neo-Nazi groups, including foreign mercenaries, continue using unacceptable combat methods by setting up firing positions, barracks and ammunition depots in residential areas, at schools and hospitals, using prohibited by International Humanitarian Law remotely-delivered landmines against Donbass and Russian cities. Along with so called “Lepestok” (Patel) anti-personal mines that were remotely planted using MLRS systems. Anti-personnel mines “Petal” injured more than 45 people, including children, in Donetsk and several residents of the Belgorod region. Ukrainian military formations in violation of the Kiev-ratified Ottawa Convention use anti-tank French mines. It is impossible to remove or defuse these mines once they are armed. Their use is a flagrant violation of Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices.
Against the backdrop of military defeats in Donbass and elsewhere, the Zelenskyi regime sanctioned terrorist acts involving the use of chemical poisoning substances against Russian servicemen and civilians. On July 31 Russian servicemen carrying out tasks near Vasil’evka, Zaporizhzhya Region, were taken to a military hospital with signs of severe poisoning. As a result of examination, toxic substance, botulinum toxin type B, was found in servicemen’ organisms.
The Ukrainian units have shelled the territory of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant several times, which constitutes an act of nuclear terrorism. At the beginning, the Ukrainians attacked the station with drones, then they began firing multiple rocket launchers and heavy 155-mm guns supplied by the United States.
We have repeatedly cited this fact, including within the walls of the UN Security Council. These actions by the Kiev regime can lead to a disaster far worse than the one that took place at the Chernobyl station. In this context, we find it truly strange to hear accusations that Moscow is jeopardizing the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. This contradicts the facts and allows Kiev to undermine the International Atomic Energy Agency’s efforts to inspect the facility.
We expect that in the very near future there will be a trip to the Zaporozhye NPP by IAEA experts, which was fully agreed in June this year and disrupted by the leadership of the UN Secretariat. Experts should verify on the spot the criminal behavior of the Kiev regime. Kiev has demonstrated many times its ability to arrange provocations and the inability to control nationalist formations. For this reason, proposals for a demilitarized zone around the Zaporozhye NPP are unacceptable. Their implementation will make the station even more vulnerable.
It is no exaggeration to say that the special military operation has become a milestone on the way to a new world order – the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world based on the true sovereignty of peoples and civilizations. The new alignment of forces in the international arena will largely depend on the course of a special military operation, changes in the structure of the world economy and the parameters of a political settlement of the situation in Ukraine.
Regardless of the duration of the military operation, it can already be stated that the 30-year era of generally constructive, although not problematic, cooperation with the West is irrevocably over. There will be no return to the situation before February 24 in relations with the countries of North America and Europe, which have been operating against Russia in the “friendly takeover” paradigm since 1992. However, this does not mean that the current quarrel over Ukraine puts an end to the era of Russia’s rapprochement with Europe. Constructive cooperation with all neighbors, including in the Euro-Atlantic region, meets the interests of the Russian side.
Moscow and its allies, partners and associates will keep on refining the existing mechanisms of international security and creating new ones. Russia will also continue to ensure its national interests as well as the protection of its allies, and take other steps to build a more democratic world. It is necessary to restore respect to international law, and to its fundamental norms and principles. It is important to bolster the positions of the UN and other international dialogue venues. The UN Security Council and the General Assembly, as it was initially conceived, should serve as effective instruments to decrease international tension and prevent conflicts, while working to guarantee reliable security and the well-being of all countries and peoples.
During the recent decade, the multifaceted trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Bangladesh has been developing rapidly with a special focus on such crucial areas as expanding energy infrastructure and ensuring food security.
Even the COVID-19 pandemic has not hindered this consistent progress. Mutual efforts of our governments and business communities made it possible to increase the bilateral turnover manifold. In 2021, it reached an all-time height of almost 3 billion US dollars.
Currently, the Russian-Bangladeshi business relations are going through another challenging time with the Western countries unleashing an unlimited economic war with our country. The unilateral sanctions imposed by the US, EU and Great Britain and subsequent breach of production and logistics chains led to a huge setback in global trade.
A number of Russian banks were excluded from the SWIFT system, which affected transactions with foreign economic partners.
At the same time, now both Russian and Bangladeshi companies are getting accustomed to the new reality. Some of them are using alternative transportation routes to continue mutually beneficial trade. A large amount of items have been delivered by air.
On August 1, a Russian cargo ship reached the port of Mongla for the first time since the beginning of the special military operation, thus marking the restoration of trade through waterways. As a result, even in the first quarter of 2022, the turnover between our two countries amounted to a solid volume of 650 million US dollars, which is only slightly less than during the same period of 2021.
In spite of the widespread delusion that all Russian banks came under sanctions, there are only 14 financial institutions that cannot provide services to the Bangladeshi partners due to the economic restrictions. The bilateral trade operations are being carried out successfully through the other Russian banks not affected by the Western restrictions. Moreover, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the Bangladesh Bank remain in close contact discussing the ways to open correspondent accounts.
The plots of Washington and its allies have not shattered our fruitful cooperation in energy sector. The construction of the Rooppur NPP is being carried out without hindrances and according to the schedule. Just recently, on August 19, the Gazprom International Investments B.V. has launched drilling of a new well in the gas fields of Bhola island. Exploration of two more wells is expected to begin this year.
Hopefully, this initiative will contribute to exploring the own mineral resources of Bangladesh and consolidating the energy security of the country. A number of other initiatives regarding the supplies of Russian crude and refined oil as well as on modernization of the local power infrastructure are being discussed both at the intergovernmental and business-to-business levels.
At the same time, our economic ties are not limited by the energy sector. With major logistical obstacles being removed, the negotiations are ongoing between Moscow and Dhaka to resume wheat purchase on a G-to-G basis through the direct procurement method. At the initial stage, the possibility to deliver two-three lakh tons of Russian grain will be elaborated on. The Russian Side also stands ready to supply potash fertilizers according to the previously signed contract, as the American sanctions no longer cover non-organic fertilizers and other essential food goods.
Besides, there is a growing interest in Russia to procure the Bangladeshi medicine and agricultural products. Therefore, in March all restrictions, imposed by the Russian phytosanitary authorities on supplies of potato from your country, were lifted. The first lot of local mangoes was delivered to the Russian Federation.
On February 2 this year, JSC Glavkosmos and Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of promotion of products and services of the Russian space industry in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh including manufacturing and launch of “Bangabandhu-2” Earth observation satellite system. Both sides are willing to proceed with the said undertaking regardless of possible temporary hardships caused by the global political and economic situation.
In this regard, let me express sincere gratitude to the Government of Bangladesh led by H.E. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which remains invariably committed to continuing the implementation of joint projects despite an unprecedented, impudent external pressure.
Now, as Russia and Bangladesh mark the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, such a determined and constructive attitude once again proves the strength and solidity of the time-tested bonds of friendship between our two countries.
Now I would like to comment on the charges pressed against Russia, making it responsible for all negative trends in the global agricultural, energy and essentials market. Some countries keep attributing them solely to “Russia’s actions in Ukraine”.
At the same time, the current situation is not the result of the six month of 2022, but a steady trend for at least the last two years. Food and fuel prices began to rise in 2020, as the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a high demand amid a reduction of supplies, breach of distribution chains and increasing transportation cost. Moreover, this instability were amplified by the ill-considered policy of developed countries concentrated on protectionism, waging trade wars and excessive reliance on renewable energy to the detriment of oil and gas processing.
Western measures of economic coercion against Russia exacerbated already existing negative trends in the global market. Payment restrictions and logistical difficulties affected all economic operators. Prohibited entry of ships into some foreign ports prevented deliveries of Russian and Belorussian fertilizers to agricultural producers.
Nevertheless, the Russian Federation, as a responsible participant of the world trade, intends to continue fulfilling its obligations under international commitments in terms of exporting agricultural products, fertilizers, oil, oil products and other vital items.
We are deeply concerned about a possible food crisis and are well aware of the importance of supplying essential goods for the social and economic development of Bangladesh and other countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
To these ends, Russia agreed to ensure unhindered export of Ukrainian grain from the ports of the Black Sea. However, the practical implementation of this agreement demonstrated that the main commodity flows were directed from Ukraine to Europe, not to developing countries that need them most of all.
Certain restrictive economic measures applied by the Russian Federation, which are affecting export of agricultural and raw materials, are temporary in their nature and directed exclusively at minimizing the consequences of sanctions pressure and adapting the national economy and businesses to the conditions of external restrictions.
Therefore, stability of the global food, energy and financial markets could be restored only through reducing transportation and logistical tensions, ensuring unhindered supplies.
There is the only way to achieve it: the real abolition of all unilateral coercive measures imposed by the Western countries.
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