"We never threaten anyone. We just explain the situation."Is that a distinction with a difference?
(Reuters) - 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. 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."