US recalls official memo that hammered nations for being ‘in Russia's camp’
The US has recalled a diplomatic cable that instructed its envoys to tell their Indian and UAE counterparts that their countries were “in Russia's camp” due to their neutral stance on the Ukrainian conflict.
The US State Department had on Monday forwarded the cable – labeled “sensitive, but unclassified” – to American embassies in almost 50 countries represented at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), according to an Axios website report.
The directive was distributed after last week's vote on the US-sponsored UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning the Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, in which India, the United Arab Emirates and China became the only abstaining parties.
Cables usually contain instructions to diplomats abroad on how best to relay Washington’s stance to the authorities in the countries where they’re stationed. This particular one suggested that they shouldn't mince words while trying to persuade India and the UAE to change their minds.
“Continuing to call for dialogue, as you have been doing in the Security Council, is not a stance of neutrality; it places you in Russia’s camp, the aggressor in this conflict,” the cable read, according to Axios, which saw parts of the document.
“We strongly encourage you to take the opportunity to support Ukraine in the HRC, an opportunity you failed to seize in the UNSC,” it added.
The Human Rights Council is set to meet in Geneva later on Thursday to discuss its own resolution on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, on Tuesday the not-so-diplomatic cable was recalled by Washington. The State Department spokesperson explained the move to Axios by saying that “the language in question was never intended for clearance and the cable was released in error.”
Washington’s apparent hopes to persuade India – which also has close relations with Russia, especially in the defense sector – to become its ally in countering China’s influence in Asia, while the oil-rich UAE has been one of America's key Arab partners for decades.
The US has been actively rallying the international community to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It had also imposed additional sanctions on Moscow and organized supplies of lethal arms to Kiev.
Russia insisted that sending its troops to Ukraine a week ago was the only way to end a “genocide” being perpetrated by Kiev in the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, and to prevent the Ukrainian government from attempting to reclaim those areas by force.
According to Moscow, it has no plans to occupy the neighboring state, the aim of the incursion being to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukrainian authorities.Kiev has denied masterminding a full-scale assault on the two south-eastern republics, and accused Moscow of waging an unprovoked war.