Russian Ambassador left angry in stunning BBC interview | World | New

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Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, sat down with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a heated interview, Nebenzia was asked if he was ‘worried’ about Russia’s ‘diplomatic and economic isolation’, before being accused of having only ‘four dictatorships’ as friends, with China diluting even his support. The ambassador denied the suggestions before claiming that the West was “strategically losing” in the war and that European Union sanctions were “simply losing the West’s influence on Russia”.

Mr Sackur, host of HARDtalk on BBC News, said: “Are you worried about the diplomatic isolation and the economic isolation of Russia right now?

“You only have active support for your military invasion from Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Eritrea. Four dictatorships.

“Even China, which is supposed to be your friend, says that Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty must be respected. You have no more friends!

Nebenzia, who was speaking to the BBC from New York, looked unhappy with the line of questioning.

He said: “I don’t think that assessment is correct. I’m not sure your attempts to isolate Russia have succeeded.

“I think the West may have made technical gains but is losing strategically.

“One thing that is a clear result of these sanctions that the West has brought in is that you have lost virtually all leverage over Russia.

“You know, President Putin, even before this conflict, he said that the West could introduce any sanctions they wanted. We had no illusions before and we have no illusions now.

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China initially remained silent on the conflict in Ukraine, apparently reluctant to call it a war, but has since done an about face and called on Russia to respect Ukrainian territory.

However, he repeatedly blamed US and NATO expansion towards Russia as the reason for the invasion, supporting Vladimir Putin to that end.

Nonetheless, Western sanctions have caused difficulties for China as the nation seeks to step back from its supporting role.

Earlier this week, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, was forced to suspend cross-border Chinese yuan transactions.

Although no official reason was given for the suspension, Stanislav Mashagin of investment firm Infrastructure of Russia said Chinese banks were afraid to circumvent Western sanctions on the Russian bank for fear of facing fines from the United States.

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And Russian state news agency RIA reported that Chinese multinational Huawei had started closing stores in Russia due to shortages.

Only 15 of the country’s 19 official stores continue to operate after the closure of outlets in Moscow and the cities of Novokuznetsk, Ufa and Rostov-on-Don.

In March, major Chinese electronics makers, including Huawei, drastically reduced shipments to Russia due to the collapse of the ruble and Western sanctions.

A former Huawei executive reportedly said, “It’s very risky to work in Russia right now.”


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