26 Mar 2014

Ambassador hopes Russia - NZ relations will improve

8:33 am on 26 March 2014

The Russian Ambassador hopes negotiations between Russia and New Zealand will continue and relations between the two improve.

Russian Federation Ambassador to New Zealand  Valery Tereshchenko.

Russian Ambassador Valery Tereshchenko. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Relations between the West and Russia have soured since Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine after a referendum on 16 March.

New Zealand has travel bans in effect on some Russians individuals deemed responsible for the events in Ukraine and trade negotiations are on hold for now.

Ambassador Valery Tereshchenko says he regrets that trade talks with New Zealand have stalled, but he hopes the negotiations can continue.

He told Morning Report his country doesn't press or push any country to join Russia.

Mr Tereshchenko said coverage in New Zealand of the situation in Ukraine is biased.

He said he reads New Zealand newspapers every day and all the news about Ukraine comes from Western agency sources with no report from Russian agencies for balance.

Mr Tereshchenko, who is himself half Ukrainian, said there was a very deep internal crisis in Ukraine when Russia moved into the Crimea and the New Zealand coverage has told only one side of the story.

The ambassador said he doesn't want Ukraine to be anti-Russian, but to be a friendly neighbour.