MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Russian lawmakers are criticising the United States’ demands addressed to Vietnam to stop letting Russia refuel its military planes at the Cam Ranh base.
A member of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, said the US Department of State’s demand, which looks "absurd from the standpoint of its practical feasibility," has a "major psychological and public relations effect: the domestic and external audiences should get the impression that’s the way it should be."
"In other words, the underlying message is the United States really has the right to lecture other countries, even those which are not its allies or neighbours, on the way they should behave themselves, who they should be on friendly terms and develop relations with. Whatever may be happening at any place in the world, it is ostensibly falls within the jurisdiction of the last superpower," Kosachyov said.
"If one puts together statements by Jen Psaki and General Vincent Brooks (who was the first to come out with claims about what he described as ‘provocative actions’ by Russian aircraft near the United States’ Guam base - TASS), the message will become pretty clear: the United States demands Vietnam should avoid to have cooperation with Russia because that contradicts US interests," Kosachyov said.
"That’s another attempt at dictating one’s will to a sovereign state," the chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Aleksey Pushkov, said earlier. He is certain that Vietnam will proceed from its own ideas, and not instructions from Washington, in deciding whose planes can be allowed to use its territory for refueling.
US Department of State spokesman Jen Psaki on Thursday urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia doesn't use its access "to conduct activities that can raise tensions in the region." She also voiced the hope Hanoi would not permit this in the future.
The Cam Ranh Peninsula for 23 years was used by Russia’s Pacific Fleet as its logistics facility. It was Russia’s largest naval base in a foreign territory. In May 2002 Russia officially handed over that facility back to Vietnam. Hanoi declared that it would be using the infrastructures’ potential on its own for socio-economic development.