President Dimitry Medvedev was accused by fellow members of the G-8 of going back on promises he made to the group to stand firm with its stance against the brutality of the Mugabe government. Prime Minister Gordon Brown supposedly showed the Russian leader visual materials which depict how Zimbabweans were being tortured and killed. The US Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalizad, accused Medvedev of going back on an earlier promise to back the rights of Zimbabweans by changing to stand “with Mugabe against the people of Zimbabwe.” In a frank statement, the US official said: “The u-turn in the Russian position is particularly surprising and disturbing…(and) raises questions about its reliability as a G8 partner.” Russia joined with China at the Security Council in vetoing action against criminal regime of Mugabe.
British Foreign Minister David Miliband was equally infuriated. “It will appear incomprehensible to the people of Zimbabwe that Russia which committed itself at the G8 only a few days ago to take further steps including introducing financial and other sanctions, should today stand in the way of timely and decisive Security Council action.” Russian officials accused American and British UN members of “distorting the facts” concerning G8 discussions.
There is evidence Russia brought China along in its efforts to block UN action against Mugabe. Many observers believe Russia was acting in its own self interests by refusing to go along with western actions against a tyrant in order to placate non-western nations which still retain the old anti-imperialist point of view. There are reports Russian business interests are investigating business possibilities in Zimbabwe.