ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Deputy consul-general of the Russia Federation in the Kurdistan Region said Russia would respect the decision of the people of Kurdistan on independence.
In an exclusive interview with the Kurdistan24, Evgeny Arzhantsev, the Russian deputy consul-general in the Kurdistan Region talked about improving bilateral relations with the Kurdistan Region and arming its Peshmerga forces and the relations with the Kurds in Rojava (northern Syria).
RELATIONS BETWEEN KURDISTAN AND RUSSIA:
Evgeny Arzhantsev said that Russia has good relations with the Kurdistan Region, Russia wants to have “good and permanent political relationship with the leadership of Kurdistan,” he added.
Arzhantsev who has been appointed as deputy consul-general for more than four years says that “During the time I have been in office in the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani visited Russia twice and was received on the highest level, meeting with the President and Prime Minister.”
The discussions between Russian officials and the Kurdistan Region’s were very productive Ashensive said, stating that Russia has good relations with the Region.
According to Arzhantsev, Russia is interested in the recent developments with the Kurdish cause not only in Kurdistan Region but also in Iran, Turkey and Syria, saying that “We have to take into consideration what our Kurdish friends think about the recent developments.”
ARMING THE PESHMERGA FORCES AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE:
The deputy consul-general said that Russia is working to improve its military relations with the Kurdistan Region.
Arzhantsev revealed that Russia delivered four shipments of military assistance to the Peshmerga forces, stating that twice the shipments were sent via Baghdad but the last two shipments were sent directly to the Kurdistan Region.
Before the Russian military assistance to Peshmerga forces were sent via Baghdad but some of the weapons and ammunition were taken by the Iraqi government and the rest was sent to Kurdistan Region, Arzhantsev told Kurdistan24.
“This means that we respect Peshmerga fighters who have a big burden on their shoulders to fight Daesh and we respect that Peshmerga forces are fighting on behalf of the world,” Arzhantsev added.
Asked about whether Russia supports the decision of the people and the leadership of the Kurdistan Region, Arzhantsev said that “I think Moscow will support the decision made by the people of Kurdistan because it is a decision through referendum how can you not listen to what people’s choice is.”
Regarding the role of Iran, Turkey and Iraq in pressuring Russia to not support an independent Kurdistan, Arzhantsev told Kurdistan24 that “Every country has its own interests. We do not share opinion with others, and if the people of Kurdistan decided on independence we have to respect it.”
RUSSIAN RELATIONS WITH ROJAVA AND SYRIA:
Commenting on the situation in Syria, Arzhantsev said that everyone is tired of this war; therefore Russian Foreign Minister and his US counterpart have intensified communications to put an end to this conflict.
In regard to the efforts made by the US and Russia to implement cease fire in Syria, Arzhantsev stated that the Syrian opposition groups do not want to join the cease fire and they prefer fighting instead of negotiations.
He added that for solving the disputes in Syria, federalism might be a good solution where every nation living in the country is respected.
Concerning the relations with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Arzhantsev said that Russia has good relations with the PYD and will not consider it a terrorist organization.
The PYD-led federalism is not yet decided but it is self-claimed, Arzhantsev said that there is division among the Syrian Kurds and Russian diplomats will do their best to unite PYD and Kurdish National Council (known as ENKS) to put aside their differences.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Interview conducted by Omed Ali)