The so-called intercepts are fabricated fakes and pre-recorded says Russia's Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin, in an interview with The Hindu's Suhasini Haidar. Excerpts:
Russia's Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin. File photo: Sushil Kumar Verma, The Hindu
How do you respond to allegations by the Ukrainian government over the involvement of Russia in the tragic Malaysian Air crash?
Together with entire mankind we are profoundly shocked at aggrieved by the tragedy, and have offered condolences at the highest level. Anti-Russian passions are now running high in Kiev, but some simple questions must be answered by the Ukrainian authorities.
Firstly, why on earth did Ukraine's air traffic control allow a passenger liner enter the airspace which had been allegedly closed by these same authorities? Secondly, can anyone in sane mind blame any country for its responsibility for the disaster ten minutes after the crash took place, as was broadcast from Kiev? It is à la Goebbels propaganda. There is a host of other very serious questions to which the world does not hear replies from Ukraine. Its rulers are deaf and blind to solid facts. For the last several months not a word of truth, but only packs of blatant lies and distortions are emanating from there. We can remind them of the Bible's wisdom that "there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open".
Russia insists on holding a transparent, objective and meticulous international investigation to discover the truth and is ready to assist in it. We do have some solid facts. And a piece of advice to professional accusers in Ukraine and their puppeteers overseas – do not jump into ill-motivated condemnations and fictitiously fabricated allegations – this will land you in shame and absurdity.
Specifically, Ukraine's ambassador to India has accused Russia of being a state sponsor or terror, and says their government has intercepts of Ukrainian rebels and a Russian military intelligence officer discussing the MH17 being shot down. Is Russia helping separatist rebels of groups including the Donetsk People's Republic? Who does Russia blame for this tragedy?
The so-called intercepts to which my colleague might refer, are totally fabricated fakes, pre-recorded one day before the tragic air crash. Anyone could see it on YouTube. Besides, experts have proved that they are a montage of several separate cuttings done much before the airliner was shot down. Fakes cannot serve as an arsenal of arguments in diplomacy.
Before blaming anybody for the tragedy, as I already stressed, a transparent and objective investigation must take place. We will have our weighty say in this. There are no Russian troops in the Donetsk region or inside Ukraine.
After the Russian inclusion of Crimea, India had spoken of Russia's "legitimate interests there", but since then the government has been silent on the issue. Is there any strain in ties over this issue, and did PM. Modi discuss Ukraine with President Putin at all?
'Inclusion', or reunification, is a very appropriate word to describe Crimea's entry into the Federation. The wrongs of history and Khrushchev's voluntarism have been corrected without a single shot fired or a person dead. It was the legitimate realisation of the Crimeans' more than 85% democratic ballot, and of their long-cherished dream. Let Kiev forget Crimea forever - it had never been Ukrainian. But, on the other hand, what is now taking place in Ukraine's eastern provinces, is sheer genocide against their own people, with thousands killed and wounded on both sides.
Understandably, I do not have the minutes of President Putin's meeting with Prime Minister Modi, but Russia is grateful to India for her objective and well-balanced attitude, and India, alongside China, was specifically singled out and thanked for it by my President. There is no strain whatsoever on this issue between us.
On bilateral issues, what was the outcome of the recent BRICS meeting between President Putin and Modi...
The first personal meeting between President Putin and Prime Minister Modi was a milestone event, indeed. It drew unprecedented attention in Russia, India and the world. BJP’s impressive victory at recent elections has opened up new vistas in our strategic partnership, whose authorship belongs to this party – the Declaration was signed by Mr Putin and Mr Vajpayee in 2000. We feel that both leaders are on the same wavelength, and they seek to re-energize cooperation in all spheres. Such synergy is imbibed in our relationship, and personal chemistry is very much characteristic of the result-oriented persons.
We highly value Mr Modi's words about my country as India’s closest time-tested friend. All Russians have the same feelings towards India. It is a deep-rooted national tradition. In this sense, our friendship is a unique phenomenon in modern times' diplomacy. It is a model for other countries to emulate. The Fortaleza meeting has paved a promising way and set the background for Mr Putin’s official visit to India next December for the annual bilateral summit, to further consolidate our special and privileged strategic partnership.
PM Modi has also invited President Putin to visit the Kudankulam project that has been completed now…where do you see future nuclear and defence cooperation between India and Russia go?
Civil nuclear energy is the mainstream avenue of Russian-Indian strategic cooperation. Tangible, and not hypothetical, progress has been achieved in the construction of Kudankulam power plant in Tamil Nadu, our flagship project. Its Unit I has already been put into operation and is now running at full throttle. KPP's Unit II will produce electricity by the end of this year. In April 2014 a General framework agreement for Units III and IV was signed. The existing Road Map envisages as many as 22 new Russia-designed units to be erected in India.
Another promising area is cooperation is hydrocarbons. Our Indian partners evince a strong interest in stepping up imports of Russian oil and gas. Over the recent years our companies have signed quite a number of mutually beneficial agreements. Apart from this we are planning to examine feasibility of the Indian initiative to construct a land pipeline which would run from Russia's southern border to India either along the projected TAPI route or through the Himalayas. If implemented, such pipeline, now seemingly futuristic, would be the biggest ever energy project in history, which would enhance India’s energy security.
Defence will remain in the focus of our strategic partnership, characterized by highest level of confidentiality and trust. Whatever our ill-wishers or competitors may say, the long-term Programme for military and technical cooperation for 2011-2020 together with over 20 intergovernmental agreements form the operational bedrock for Russian defence supplies to India. The value of contracts portfolio is over USD 35 bln. We readily share our technologies with India and opt for co-production of military equipment, the best example being the fifth generation combat aircraft.