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Posted by on Mar 29, 2014 in International | 0 comments

Reuters: Russia threatened countries ahead of UN vote on Ukraine – envoys

The Godfather movie image Al Pacino

Reuters reports that Russia threatened several Eastern European and Central Asian countries with consquences if they went along with a UN vote to label the widely condemned — and rigged — Crimean referendum on seceding from the Ukraine invalid. it reads like a scene out of The Godfather — as does Russia’s response when asked about the charge:

Russia threatened several Eastern European and Central Asian states with retaliation if they voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution this week declaring invalid Crimea’s referendum on seceding from Ukraine, U.N. diplomats said.

The disclosures about Russian threats came after Moscow accused Western countries of using “shameless pressure, up to the point of political blackmail and economic threats,” in an attempt to coerce the United Nations’ 193 member states to join it in supporting the non-binding resolution on the Ukraine crisis.

According to interviews with U.N. diplomats, most of whom preferred to speak on condition of anonymity for fear of angering Moscow, the targets of Russian threats included Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as a number of African countries.

Russia’s response is classic:

A spokesman for Russia’s Mission to the U.N. denied that Moscow threatened any country with retaliation if it supported the resolution, saying: “We never threaten anyone. We just explain the situation.”

Which is sort of like “I’ll make them an offer they can’t refuse.”

According to the diplomats, the Russian threats were not specific. But they said it was clear to the recipients of the warnings not to support the resolution that retaliatory measures could include steps such as expelling migrant workers from Russia, halting natural gas supplies or banning certain imports to Russia to cause economic harm.

And Russia is a huge supplier of gas for much of the region.

In the end, the Ukrainian resolution declaring Crimea’s vote on March 16 in favor of seceding from Ukraine as having “no validity” passed with 100 votes in favor, 11 against and 58 abstentions. Another 24 U.N. member states did not cast votes.

Western diplomats called the result a diplomatic success for Ukraine.

Something tells me the leaders of several Eastern European and Central Asian countries could wake up with horses’ heads in their beds…

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