Why is Amnesty apologising for telling the truth about Ukrainian war crimes?

16 August 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Allowing only one side to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the loaded western political narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel war rather than resolve it

Middle East Eye – 16 August 2022

Should a human rights organisation apologise for publishing important evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses?

If it does apologise, what does that suggest about its commitment to dispassionately uncovering the truth about the actions of both parties to war? And equally, what message does it send to those who claim to be “distressed” by the publication of such evidence?

Those are questions Amnesty International should have pondered far more carefully than it obviously did before issuing an apology last week over its latest report on the war in Ukraine.

In that report, Amnesty accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by stationing troops and artillery in or near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, thereby using civilians effectively as human shields. Such practices by Ukrainian soldiers were identified in 19 different towns and villages.

These incidents did not just theoretically endanger civilians. There is evidence, according to Amnesty, that return fire by Russian troops on these Ukrainian positions led to non-combatants being killed.

The Israeli army regularly accuses Palestinian factions like Hamas of hiding among civilians in Gaza, while obscuring its own, long-documented practice of using Palestinians as human shields.

But whatever the truth of Israel’s claims, unlike the tiny and massively overcrowded Gaza, which offers few or no hiding places outside of built-up areas for Palestinian fighters to resist Israeli aggression, Amnesty concluded of the situation in Ukraine: “Viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians – such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas.”

In other words, it was a choice made by the Ukrainian army to put its own civilians in harm’s way.

Mounting pressure

Notably, this is the first time a major western human rights organisation has publicly scrutinised the behaviour of Ukraine’s soldiers. Until now, these watchdog bodies have focused exclusively on reports of crimes committed by Russian forces – a position entirely in line with the priorities of their own governments. By its own admission, Amnesty has published dozens of reports condemning Russia.

The pushback against the latest report was relentless, coming even from Amnesty’s own Ukrainian team. Oksana Pokalchuk, its head, quit, explaining that her team “did everything they could to prevent this material from being published”.

Under mounting pressure, Amnesty made a statement last week in which it said it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” caused by its report, while at the same time stating: “We fully stand by our findings.”

The idea that only one side has been committing war crimes in Ukraine was always implausible. In wars, all sides commit crimes. It is in the nature of wars.

Faulty lines of communication mean orders are misunderstood or only partially relayed to those on the front lines. Inevitably, soldiers prioritise their own lives over those of the enemy, including civilians. Terrorising the other side – through human rights violations – can be an effective way to avoid combat, by sending a warning to enemy soldiers to desert their posts and civilians to flee. Sadists and psychopaths, meanwhile, find themselves with plenty of opportunities to exploit during the fighting.

But conversely, parties to wars invariably struggle to acknowledge their own abuses. They prefer simple-minded, self-serving narratives of good and evil: our soldiers are heroes, morally spotless, while their soldiers are barbarians, indifferent to the value of human life.

Western governments and establishment media outlets have readily peddled this foolish line in Ukraine, too, even though neither Europe nor the United States are supposed to be directly involved in the war. They have reflexively amplified Ukrainian claims of Russian war crimes, even when the evidence is lacking or the picture murky, and they have resolutely ignored any evidence of Ukrainian crimes, such as evidence that Russian prisoners of war have been executed or that Ukraine has been using petal cluster bombs in civilian areas.

More self-censorship

In such circumstances, only the human rights community is in a position to provide a more faithful picture of how events are unfolding, and hold to account both sides for their crimes. But until Amnesty stepped out of line, western human rights groups had moved in lockstep with western governments, the same governments that appear to want endless war in Ukraine, to “weaken Russia”, rather than a quick resolution.

Even the author of Amnesty’s new report, Donatella Rovera, has conceded: “I think the level of self-censorship on this issue [Ukrainian war crimes] has been pretty extraordinary.”

Amnesty should not be apologising for providing a rare window on such crimes. It should be emphasising the importance of monitoring both sides for serious breaches of international law. And for very good reason.

Amnesty’s apology sends a message to those partisans trying to shut down scrutiny of Ukrainian crimes of just how easy it is to put the human rights community on the defensive. Efforts to deter reporting of a similar nature in the future will intensify.

Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was among those who lost no time vilifying Amnesty by characterising its report as “Russian disinformation”.

Amnesty’s apology suggests such pressure campaigns have an effect and will lead to increased self-censorship – in a situation where the evidence already indicates that there is a great deal of self-censorship, as Rovera pointed out.

The apology betrays the civilians who have been, and will be, used as human shields – putting them in lethal danger – over the coming months and potentially years of fighting. It means Ukrainian forces will feel even less pressure to rein in behaviour that amounts to a war crime. 

Amnesty would never apologise to Russian partisans offended by a report on Russian war crimes. Its current apology indicates to the victims of Ukrainian human rights abuses that they are less worthy than the victims of Russian abuses.

Flooding the battlefield

Turning a blind eye to Ukrainian crimes also lifts the pressure on western governments. They have been recklessly channelling arms worth many billions of dollars to Ukraine, even though they have little idea where most end up. (In a further worrying sign of self-censorship in the west, CBS recently postponed the broadcast of an investigation suggesting as little as a third of western weapons reach their intended destination in Ukraine.)

That is all the more dangerous because, even before Russia’s invasion in late February, Ukrainian forces – including the neo-Nazi elements now glossed over in western narratives – were engaged in a vicious civil war with ethnic Russian communities in Ukraine’s east. That region, the Donbas, is where Moscow has been focusing its military advances.

Human rights violations by Ukrainians against other Ukrainians were regularly committed during the eight-year civil war, as western monitors documented at the time. Such crimes are almost certainly continuing under cover of the war against Russia, but with the aid now of western arms shipments.

Ignoring abuses by Ukrainian forces gives them a free hand to commit crimes not only against Russian soldiers but also against the large number of Ukrainians who are not seen as loyal to Kyiv.

A failure to closely scrutinise how and where western artillery is being used is almost certain to result in more, not less, of the kind of Ukrainian crimes Amnesty has just highlighted.

Western governments, and publics, need to be confronted with the likely consequences of flooding the battlefield with weapons before they prefer such a policy over pursuing diplomatic solutions.

Ultimately, allowing one side only to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the simple-minded narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel the war rather than resolve it.

War-mongering

Amnesty’s conduct over this latest report is not exceptional. It is part of a pattern of behaviour by a western human rights community vulnerable to political and financial pressures that detract from its ostensible mission. 

As the near-exclusive focus on Russian crimes in Ukraine illustrates, international humanitarian law is all too often interpreted through the prism of western political priorities.

There has long been a revolving door between the staff of prominent human rights groups and the US government. And pressure from elite donors – who are invested in these dominant narratives – doubtless plays a part, too.

Anyone departing from the narrow political consensus imposed by western political and media elites is defamed as spreading Russian “disinformation”, or for being apologists for dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or Libya’s late ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Criticisms of Israel, meanwhile, are demonised as proof of antisemitism. 

Certainly, Russian, Syrian and Libyan leaders have committed war crimes. But the focus on their crimes is all too often an excuse to avoid addressing western war crimes, and thereby enable agendas that advance the interests of the West’s war industries.

I experienced this first hand during the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. Israel accused Hezbollah of using its own population as “human shields” – framed by the Norwegian politician and United Nations official Jan Egeland as “cowardly blending” – an allegation lapped up by the western media.

Whatever the truth of that claim, it presented a very one-sided picture of what took place during that summer’s fighting. Though no one was allowed to mention it at the time because of Israel’s strict military censorship laws, it was common knowledge among Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens that many of their own communities in northern Israel were being used as locations for Israeli tanks and artillery to fire into Lebanon.

The Israeli army had forcibly recruited these third-class citizens as human shields, just as the Ukrainian army is now accused by Amnesty of doing to civilians.

I saw for myself a number of the locations where Israel had installed batteries in or next to the minority’s communities. There were later Israeli court cases that confirmed this widespread practice; Palestinian politicians in Israel raised the matter in the Israeli parliament; and a local human rights group later issued a report documenting examples of these war crimes.

But these revelations never gained any traction with either the western media or human rights groups. Western publics were left with an entirely false impression: that Hezbollah alone had endangered its own civilians, even though Israel had undoubtedly done the same or worse.

The reality could not be acknowledged because it conflicted with western political priorities that treat Israel as a valued ally with a moral army and Hezbollah as a depraved, bloodthirsty terrorist organisation.

Saints and sinners

Human rights groups reporting on the 2006 Lebanon war actively echoed these self-serving western narratives that unfairly differentiated between Hezbollah and Israel, as I highlighted at the time.

I found myself in a very public row with Human Rights Watch over comments made by one of its researchers to the New York Times claiming that Hezbollah had intentionally targeted Israeli civilians whereas Israel had avoided targeting Lebanese civilians.

First, it completely failed to fit the known facts of the war. Israel’s strikes on Lebanon had caused a disproportionately large number of civilian deaths, despite the use of precision weapons. Hezbollah, using far more primitive rockets, meanwhile, had killed mostly soldiers, not civilians. 

But more problematic still, HRW had ascribed intentions to each side – good and bad – when it could not possibly know what those intentions were. As I wrote at the time of its researcher’s comments:

Was he or another HRW researcher sitting in one of the military bunkers in northern Israel when army planners pressed the button to unleash the missiles from their spy drones? Was he sitting alongside the air force pilots as they circled over Lebanon dropping their US-made bombs or tens of thousands of ‘cluster munitions’, tiny land mines that are now sprinkled over a vast area of south Lebanon? Did he have intimate conversations with the Israeli chiefs of staff about their war strategy? Of course not. He has no more idea than you or I what Israel’s military planners and its politicians decided was necessary to achieve their war goals.

HRW’s comments made sense only in a political context: that the group faced enormous pressure from US politicians and funders to focus on Hezbollah’s crimes. It also faced a damaging vilification campaign led by Israel lobbyists who wished to shield Israel from scrutiny. They accused the group’s senior staff of antisemitism and spreading a blood libel.

It looked very much like HRW caved into that pressure, just as Amnesty is now effectively doing in apologising for upsetting Ukrainian partisans and those emotionally invested in the one-sided narrative they hear constantly from their politicians and media.

Neither Amnesty nor Human Rights Watch responded to a request for comment. 

The reality is that western publics need more, not less, scrutiny of the crimes committed in wars, if only to tear the facade off narratives designed to paint a picture of saints and sinners – narratives that dehumanise official enemies and fuel more war.

The minimum needed to achieve that is an independent, fearless, vigorous human rights community, not an apologetic one. 

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Sitrep Operation Z: Open Thread

June 26, 2022

Source

by the Saker Staff

Wow, too much information out there in addition to the world happenings.  Today and tomorrow we have the G7 in Germany and NATO on June 29-30 in Madrid.  Various threats will surface from these two meetings as well as childish foot-stomping and brave statements on steriods.  Mr Lavrov’s short statement has relevance: ‘We have few illusions that EU’s Russophobic policies will change’ – FM Lavrov

We leave you with one image

And on the battlefront, the news is coming in so fast that it is almost impossible to keep track of.  Of main importance on the front line and from the Russian MoD report:

  • On June 25, the cities of Severodonetsk and Borovskoye, the settlements of Voronovo and Sirotino passed under control of the Lugansk People’s Republic. The localities liberated from the Kiev regime are inhabited by about 108,000 people. Total area of the liberated territory is about 145 square kilometres.
  • Success of the Russian army and the units of people militia of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics considerably diminish moral and psychological condition of the Ukrainian army personnel.
  • In 30th Mechanised Brigade deployed near Artyomovsk, there are mass cases of alcohol abuse, drug use and unauthorised abandonment of combat positions.

If you take a look at that MoD Report it is becoming so clear that the attrition rate now is counted in brigades.

Attacks have resulted in neutralising 65th, 66th mechanised brigades and 46th Airmobile Brigade from AFU strategic reserves that were finishing their preparation at those training grounds.

Take a look at Larry Johnson’s latest: “Some die hard neo-cons continue to manifest their ignorance of military affairs by pointing to Russia’s slow progress in taking Severodonetsk as evidence of Russia’s incompetent, weak army. What they fail to understand is that Russia was trying to avoid killing the civilians still inside Severodonetsk, who were being used as human shields by the Ukrainians. Putin and the Russian commanders are placing a higher value on saving civilians rather than unleashing their full military might in order to show the world what they can really do. This is a remarkably mature military strategy.”  https://sonar21.com/even-the-uks-sky-news-is-reporting-on-the-ukrainian-debacle-in-the-donbas/

  • Also of note is the strikes on Kiev from the Caspian Sea & from the airspace of Belarus. The Russian Federation used Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers. They launched X-101 missiles, which can fly up to 5500 km. At the same time, Russian warships fired up to 50 missiles at targets all over Ukraine — targeting Ukrop bases, manufacturing sites of air to air missiles in Kiev disguised as “residential buildings” & other military targets

We leave this for you as an open thread for reporting updates.

Map:  The Readovka Map is up to date.  If you go to this page and click on the map itself, there is a bigger and better quality version.

Mixed Bag June 22

June 22, 2022

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Andrei Martyanov: Ukraine’s losses, Admiral Cebrowski and Netcentric Warfare, SU-57s in Ukraine.

June 10, 2022

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They Saw and Heard the Truth — Then Lied About It: Media on Donbass Delegation Omitted Mention of Ukraine’s 8 Year War on the Autonomous Republics

 

Photos from site of Ukraine’s March 14 missile attack on Donetsk. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

Source

-by Eva K Bartlett, April 5, 2022

*Following is a lengthy overview of my recent re-visit to the Donbass, on a two day media delegation, with a brief critique of some of the media’s slanted reporting. It is also a follow up from my 2019 visit to hard hit areas of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It is now 8 years of Ukraine’s war on the people of the Donetsk & Lugansk Republics.

Point of impact of March 14 Ukrainian missile attack on Donetsk. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

In the last week of March, I stood on a central Donetsk main street next to two of the impact points of a Ukrainian missile attack that had killed 21 civilians and injured nearly 40 more on March 14. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) maintains that their military intercepted Ukraine’s Tochka-U ballistic missile, and that not all of the cluster munitions inside had exploded in the city streets, thereby lessening the already terrible bloodshed it caused. Indeed, if all of the munitions had exploded, it would have been a bloodbath more horrific than the 21 killed.

Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

Near the ATM, there were flowers and candles laid in memory of the civilians murdered that day, with haunting photos nearby depicting the aftermath of the bombing, the grisly scenes of the dead and the maimed—scenes you will generally never see blasted across Western corporate media, just as the same media were silent when terrorism struck civilian areas in Syria.

I’m intimately familiar with war zones, and with Western corporate media’s white-washing of the perpetrators’ crimes (Israeli crimes against Palestinians; Western-backed terrorists’ crimes against Syrians; Ukrainian military and Nazi crimes against the civilians of the Donbass—and also against Ukrainians proper), so the lack of media coverage on this recent Ukrainian war crime doesn’t surprise me.

They don’t report on it, or the myriad Ukrainian war crimes prior, because it doesn’t suit their narrative, a narrative that erases the eight years of Ukraine’s war against the four million people of the Donbass republics, killing at least 14,000 people, to give a modest estimate.

War crimes investigator, Ivan Kopyl, spoke about Ukraine’s March 14 attack, noting, “The warhead of a Tochka-U missile contains 50 cassettes of cluster munitions. We managed to find 28 traces of cluster explosions on the soil…A Tochka-U missile changes its orientation just before landing, so after it flies on a trajectory it makes a turn and falls vertically down before detonating at a certain height. The fragments then shower the surface in a radius of approximately 150 meters.”

I have one of those cluster fragments, a twisted and jagged square-shaped piece of metal—seemingly harmless looking on its own, but deadly when flying through the air at high speed, in great numbers.

The attack occurred around noon, when this central city street—not a military area, but a civilian one—would have been busy. Photos show a gutted bus and gutted cars. Pensioners, Koply noted, would have been lined up at the ATM right where the blasts occurred. “There was also damage to a yard where there are two kindergartens – there were several craters there,” he noted.

The strike on the heart of the city is among the latest in Ukraine’s litany of war crimes.

Ukraine again bombed Donetsk following the March 14 attack. Donetsk News Agency reported on March 30 that the Ukrainian forces’ bombing had killed one person and seriously injured four others. One of the girls injured in that attack fell into a coma, the DPR Ombudsman noted.

And just now, there’s been news of another Ukrainian Tochka-U attack. According to RT, at least 50 people (including 5 children) were killed at a railway station in Kramatorsk, where thousands of people were waiting for evacuation trains. Eduard Basurin, a representative of the DPR People’s Militia, stated that the attack was a missile containing prohibited cluster munitions.

Gonzalo Lira writes:

“This is a fragment of the missile that hit the Kramatorsk train station…The AFU has blamed the Russians, but this picture of the missile shows that it is indisputably a Tochka-U rocket — used exclusively by the Ukrainian side. It’s the same kind of missile that two weeks ago hit the center of Donetsk and killed 27 civilians.

What’s that saying? Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times . . .”

As of March 31, the Ombudsman reported that there’s been 6,010 deaths, including 96 children, since Ukraine’s war began in 2014. And that’s only with regards to the DPR. In the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), which has also been under Ukrainian fire since 2014, as of late February, 1,762 civilians had been killed, including 35 children.

During my 2019 visit to the DPR, I went to the northern city of Gorlovka, of which I wrote:

“Gorlovka was hardest hit in 2014, especially on July 27, when the center was rocked by Ukrainian-fired Grad and Uragan missiles from morning to evening. After the dust settled and the critically-injured had succumbed to their wounds, at least 30 were dead, including five children. The day came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

A monument commemorates the Gorlovka victims of Ukrainian bombings and sniping from 2014-2017. Near a sculpture of an angel, over 230 names fill the marble slabs, the first dedicated solely to children, 20 of them.”

Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

At the site of the March 14 bombing, DPR head Denis Pushilin spoke, outlining the chronology the last 8 years, from the violent coup in Ukraine and subsequent increase in radical Ukrainian nationalism, to the two republics’ decision to push for autonomy, to Ukraine unleashing hell on the 4 million people and continual violations of the (2014 & 2015) Minsk Agreements and the massive amounts of weapons pumped from the West to Ukraine (see also). [*Note: I’ll be adding a subtitled clip of his words in the next day or two.]

School and Hospital shelled by Ukrainian forces

The town of Volnovakha—on the road between Donetsk and Mariupol further south—was secured by DPR forces nearly two weeks prior to our visit. Entering the town, we passed destroyed homes and buildings, which was expected, as there was heavy fighting to liberate the area held by the Ukrainian forces.

As they did in their copy-paste reporting on liberated areas of Syria, most Western media reports on Volnovakha focus on the destruction, without any context as to why it occurred—these residential areas were occupied by Ukrainian forces, and not all of the destruction was from DPR forces’ fighting against the Ukrainian forces: the Ukrainian forces themselves fired on homes, and according to hospital staff, on the hospital itself.

In addition to not giving this context, most Western media in general depict the liberating forces as deliberately and wantonly destroying everything in sight. Some media went as far as to claim that Putin himself had destroyed the town. This cartoonish narrative, so prevalent in Western reports whitewashing terrorism in Syria and now in whitewashing Ukrainian forces’ crimes, unfortunately does achieve its intended effect: duping Western viewers into believing the opposite of reality–that the liberators are the war criminals.

Again, just as terrorist factions in Syria occupied schools and hospitals, so too do Ukrainian forces, including in Volnovakha. When DPR forces had liberated the city, they found foreign weapons used by Ukrainian forces inside the hospital. [See also: Western Media Quick to Accuse Syria of ‘Bombing Hospitals’ – But When Terrorists Really Destroy Syrian Hospitals, They Are Silent]

In a central area of Volnovakha, Russian soldiers handed out humanitarian aid to lines of residents, including: bags of canned goods, fresh bread, water.

According to Alexander Yurievich Kachalov, the interim mayor, Ukrainian forces used civilians as human shields. “They made sure to destroy as much infrastructure as possible. They bombed buildings in order to leave ruins after they left, to make it harder for us to restore.”

This was common in Syria. Terrorist factions destroyed buildings and vehicles when fleeing, while leaving mines and booby traps on streets and in houses, to kill still more civilians and soldiers.

A woman waiting in line for humanitarian aid said, “They say Russia did this. This wasn’t Russia, Ukraine did it, destroyed everything here! They shot at our hospital. I work there. The new children’s and infection units have been destroyed. The outpatient clinic was destroyed. And then they left. They took the medical staff’s car and went away.”

At the destroyed hospital, Chief Physician, Viktor Fedorovich Saranov, said:

“[The Ukrainian Army] were there. There were tanks on our territory. There were guns and Grads outside the territory.  I asked them to act in accordance with the Hague and Geneva conventions. I asked them to leave the hospital. They said it was war.

Many people come to us from nearby houses under fire. About 500-600 people came to our basement. We gave everyone three meals a day.

The second and third floors were occupied here. We were preparing for a long siege, and then it turned out like this: they conducted an attack. They evacuated the soldiers. And they mined the entrance to the intensive care unit. On the last day, when they were leaving, they shot at the intensive care unit.” The ICU, he said, had already been evacuated.

A woman who said she had worked at the hospital as a nurse for nearly 58 years said:

“On the 28th I was home alone. They soon started shelling. How can they do it with their local hospital? With patients here. They were laying in corridors, as they had been evacuated. They said there was no one in the hospital, no staff, no patients. This is a lie.”

Later, researching, I came across this news (*warning, graphic video at the link):

“Foreign mercenaries who were wounded in the Volnovakha hospital were shot by their own before leaving the city so that they could not tell anything. All the wounded have a control shot in the temple or the back of the head.”

On the road back towards Donetsk, we stopped at a school that had been shelled in late February.

According to Victoria Terichenko, head of the Dokuchaevsk city administration’s Department of Education, the shelling was by Ukrainian forces.

“Of course, Ukraine. There were only Ukrainian troops there. We had no military here, we were only civilians here.”

Fortunately, children weren’t at school at the time of the shelling, but Terichenko said a nursery school in the area had been shelled, with children inside, but again, fortunately, not on the side of the building shelled.

Horrors of Ukraine’s War on the People of the Donbass Republics

Ukraine’s relentless bombing and sniping of the people of Donbass is bad enough, along with it being ignored by Western press and politicians.

But in its eight years of warring on a people who rejected the rule of ultra-nationalists and Nazis, who just wanted to live autonomously, speak their own language, remember their history (Ukraine has rewritten history to glorify Nazis and Nazi collaborators and to vilify those who defeated Nazism, namely the Soviets), Ukraine has committed war crimes as heinous as ISIS and their co-terrorists in Syria, with more and more testimonies coming out of mass graves, rapes, torture of civilians and Donbass soldiers, beheadings. None of this shocking given the crimes these extremists commit against even Ukrainian civilians and journalists.

Along a sidewalk flanking a central park, there is a row of photos containing incredibly disturbing images of murdered LPR civilians.

Elders slaughtered on benches and in wheelchairs, the corpse of an infant, mass graves, a room used to imprison and torture people, the insignia of the notorious rapists and murderers of the “Tornado” battalion.

One photo shows Nazi graffiti left on a wall.

These are similar to the graffiti I saw in January 2009 left by Israeli soldiers who occupied the home of a Palestinian family, half of which had been killed by Israeli-fired White Phosphorous. One of the slogans written in Hebrew was: “Next time it will hurt more.” This, to the family whose infant had burned alive due to the White Phosphorous bombing, and whose surviving family members were badly mutilated from the prohibited weapon. In another house in eastern Gaza, likewise occupied and desecrated by Israeli soldiers, more hate and death graffiti had been left for the traumatized inhabitants.

Different people and places–same violent hatred of the population being targeted.

In the same park area, there is a monument to two journalists killed in 2014 by Ukrainian forces. Had these journalists been killed by Russia or Syria, their names would have been on the front pages of news sites and TIME magazine covers. In Syria, dozens of journalists have been killed by terrorist forces, to the silence of not only Western media but also of the groups supposedly advocating for journalists’ rights and safety.

In Shchastia, north of Lugansk, more civilians received humanitarian aid in the liberated town.

Humanitarian aid being handed out in Shchastia, a town north of Lugansk, liberated in early March.

Western Delivered Weapons on Display

In the two republics, we saw some of the vehicles and weapons captured from Ukrainian forces. Telesur journalist Alejandro Kirk spoke to me about these captured weapons and vehicles, noting the many foreign made weapons sold to Ukraine. Western countries continue to sell weapons to Ukraine.

On March 20, journalist Alexander Rubinstein wrote of the West’s exorbitant shipping of billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine over the years. He noted:

“At least 32 countries have announced their intention to ship billions of dollars in weapons into Ukraine for use against Russian forces in Ukraine. Photographic evidence shows that these weapons have already ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries – units which have already received training and arms the US and its NATO allies.

All of this builds on $3.8 billion in military aid from the United States to Ukraine, the training of 55,000 Ukrainian soldiers by Canada and the United Kingdom, and a longstanding CIA program aimed at cultivating an anti-Russian insurgency.

…weapons furnished by NATO allies have been placed in the hands of the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi former paramilitary organization incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.

The governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have presided over a massive program to train and equip Ukrainian soldiers for a full-scale war with Russia. Trainees have included top commanders of the Azov Battalion.

In late February, the European Union opened the floodgates of weapon shipments to Ukraine, approving financing through the aptly-named “European Peace Facility” to reimburse countries sending weapons to the country to the tune of $500 million USD. Another $55 million USD is earmarked for non-lethal military aid.

This February, the State Department announced $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, bringing “the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.”

Another $200 million was sent in early March, and following Zelensky’s March 16 appeal to Congress for more weapons, Biden is reportedly set to dole out another $800 in military aid including 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-tank systems, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 400 grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

These figures add to the $2.5 billion in military aid the US delivered between 2014 and the summer of 2021, bringing the total to $3.8 billion.”

Missing Context: What the Donbass People Have Endured In 8 Years of Ukraine’s War

After my September 2019 visit to the DPR, I wrote about the mostly elderly civilians I met who were living in battered homes damaged by Ukrainian shelling and heavy machine gun fire just 500 meters and 600 meters from Ukrainian forces. They remained there, they told me, mostly because they had nowhere else to go. Some spoke to me on camera, others were afraid of Ukrainian retaliation were they to be interviewed.

But their stories were all pretty much the same: at night, when the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) left, the Ukrainian terrorizing began, with shelling throughout the night.

I also met a couple who had been living for 6 years in the stinking, dank, basement of a battered school, after Ukrainian bombing destroyed their home.

The DPR press officer who accompanied me and provided translations, spoke of how Ukrainian forces used weapons prohibited under the Minsk Agreements.

Irina Dikun, head of the administration of Zaitsevo, another frontline village, spoke at length on the Ukrainian bombing that erupted nearly every night.

“They are destroying street by street in the town. They take one street and destroy it house by house. Then they turn to another street. There was a school, and a nursery school, before, but they were both destroyed by Ukrainian artillery.”

As in Syria, when schools and hospitals are actually destroyed (in Syria by terrorist factions), the same media that howls over militarized hospitals being targeted, the same media that also manufactures stories that never even occurred, is silent when the destroying is actually done, by Ukrainian forces.

In Zaitsevo, Irina explained fire trucks and medics couldn’t reach targeted homes, because the ambulances themselves became targets for Ukrainian forces (as happens in Gaza, where medics are targeted by Israeli forces, as I myself witnessed).

During that 2019 visit, I also interviewed some of the defenders of the DPR, painted by Western media as “separatists”, “pro-Russian forces” and other such descriptions meant to dehumanize. The same Western media so quick to humanize terrorists, including one who chewed the organ of a dead Syrian soldier.

One more relevant note from that visit: Dmitri asked what people in the West think about the fact there is a Nazi state in Europe. I replied that most people don’t know, because of the media whitewashing.

Which brings me to my recent return to the Donbass: I was curious to see whether the journalists on the same delegation as me would report truthfully, partial truths, or fabricated lies. As it turned out, my skepticism was warranted.

Distortions and Omissions of Some Western Media on the Ground in the Donbass

Telesur’s report gave the historical context needed to understand the present, including the coup in Ukraine, the active neo-Nazis in Ukraine (many of whom re entrenched in the Ukrainian army), the past eight years of Ukraine’s war on the Donbass, the 14,000 killed during these years, and the media blackout on the suffering of the Donbass people.

Sky News’ report was good, mentioning the civilians killed in Donbass by Ukraine’s war, including the March 14 attack and the school shelling, while also giving air time to the DPR’s Pushilin.

Neither of the two French channels’ (FranceInfo and TF1Info) reports on the delegation’s visit mentioned the March 14 Tochka-U attack, even though we visited the site & Pushilin spoke of it at length, much less the roughly 8,000 civilians killed in the two republics alone. I couldn’t find mention of the Azov or other Nazi battalions participating in the atrocities against the Donbass people, even though we heard about them and saw the graphic photo display in Lugansk. Their reports were framed as, “this is what Russia wants us to see,” regarding the humanitarian aid and reclaimed towns.

And of course, they focused greatly on the destruction, but not on the reasons for it, the implication being that the Russians and the “pro-Russian separatists” were responsible.

The chief physician of the hospital in Volnokava spoke at length and did specifically state the Ukrainian army had occupied the hospital, as did the nurse I cited, both of whom addressed the group of journalists.

FranceInfo’s mention of the hospital was framed as, “The Russians accuse the Ukrainians of having bombed it.” They included a few seconds of the chief physician saying he didn’t know who had done it, there were soldiers in the area, he didn’t know who.

But actually, the physician spoke to us for about several minutes, during which—as I wrote earlier—he did specifically talk about the presence of the Ukrainian army in the hospital.

One journalist asked: “Why did such destruction happen?” To which the chief physician replied, “I don’t know. They were military. And who they were: military, national battalions, army? I don’t know.”

That’s the bit France TV cherry picked, omitting his previous words about the Ukrainian army occupying the hospital, as well as omitting what he said afterwards: “There was Ukrainian territory on that side and the rockets were from that side. They mined the entrance to the intensive care unit. On the last day when they were leaving, they shot at the intensive care unit.”

Likewise, TF1Info included just a few seconds of the physician’s words on the Ukrainian cannons and machine guns at the hospital, but then followed up with the presenter’s caveat: it is one of the arguments often presented by the Kremlin—in spite of the fact that not only he, but the nurse and many people I encountered in the town specifically blamed the Ukrainian army for occupying the hospital and attacking it themselves when leaving.

If there were any further TF1Info reports from their journalist’s visit which might have included mention of Donbass’ dead, I couldn’t find them. Likewise, of FranceInfo.

This tactic of cherry picking quotes and omitting information is a standard corporate media war propaganda tactic and, unfortunately one seen over and over in Syria and elsewhere.

Journalist Vanessa Beeley wrote of one particularly horrific and sadistic terrorist massacre of 200 Syrian civilians, including 116 children, in April 2017, killed by an explosion as they were being evacuated from their terrorist besieged villages. She wrote of one traumatized woman who lost 20 family members (10 dead, 10 missing) having witnessed the attack.

“Then, after the filming session (by various agencies, including Dubai based Orient News & Qatari Al Jazeera) which lasted approximately ten minutes, she and the other parents were forced back onto the buses, at gunpoint, and locked inside. They had to watch, while the armed militia collected the dead, dying and mutilated bodies of their community’s children and flung them in the back of trucks and Turkish ambulances, before driving them away from their families in Rashideen.

Not one western media outlet questioned why these injured, dying and disoriented children were being piled on top of one another in the back of a truck that obviously belonged to Nusra Front.”

In fact, as they did routinely in their Syria coverage, media essentially relegated these dead civilians as unimportant, because their deaths didn’t fit the corporate narrative, even when civilians were repeatedly targeted by horrific terrorist bombings, mortars and missiles.

Global Media Abusing the Suffering of the Donbass to Further Anti-Russia War Propaganda, Just as They Did in Syria…

It is already bad enough that Western media generally don’t report on Ukraine’s relentless shelling of the Donbass, but all the more disgusting when it depicts a scene from the March 14 bombing of Donetsk as if it was a bombing of Lvov by Russia.

“The aftermath of the bombing of Donetsk by Ukrainian “Tochka-U” missile, used by Italian newspaper “La Stampa” as an image from Lvov
*Propaganda noted in this article: The Hard Facts about Ukraine and Donbass
At the site of the Tochka-U missile attack in Donetsk, photos of the moments after the bombing, including the scene depicted in Western media as in Lvov. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

This isn’t the only instance. More recently, various Western media have used footage showing a multi-story apartment building in Donetsk that was bombed by Ukraine on March 30 to infer that the scene depicted was actually of Ukrainian areas that had been bombed by Russia. If you followed the war propaganda around Syria, you would be aware that this practice is common, not accidental.

New York post using Donetsk bombing photo to infer the scene was Kiev or elsewhere, under Russian bombing. The article has since been updated, photo removed. They would say it was a mistake. With corporate media, it never is. Luckily, at the time, some observers caught the lie.

And as with war propaganda on Syria, some media will use footage not even from Ukraine:

I could add paragraphs of examples of how Western media did this in Syria, but for the sake of brevity will state simply that this is one of many deceitful and deliberate propaganda tactics used to both downplay the hell civilians are suffering under Ukraine’s bombing, and instead to pretend Ukraine is the victim. How the journalists that propagate such lies live with themselves, I’ll never understand.

Finally, a word to some in independent media who feel the need to denigrate Russia’s denazification operation in Ukraine by snidely putting “special operation” in quotation marks, or others who took to social media to tell the world they don’t like war, and denounced Russia for its military operation (to stop a war): The people of the Donbass don’t like war, they didn’t ask for Ukraine to unleash hell upon them. Such posturing disrespects the at least 14,000 killed by Ukraine’s war.

As journalist Roman Kosarev, who has covered the war eightyears, said: “Russia isn’t starting a war, Russia is ending one.

“Why Ukraine’s “Bucha Massacre” Story Isn’t Adding Up”

 

Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

6 thoughts on ““Why Ukraine’s “Bucha Massacre” Story Isn’t Adding Up””

Julius Skoolafish

Thank you for featuring Brian Berletic, Eva.

This prompted me to recall this excellent video presented by another of my (our) favourites – Vanessa Beeley – exposing the ‘western’ propaganda complex..THE VETO: Exposing CNN, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, western media propaganda war in Syria

Nicolas Cinquini

[a despicable Ukrainian PSYOP in Bucha]
https://link.medium.com/5ctCDNcmYob

Loam

If I were in command of the Russian troops, my common and strategic sense would have me completely rule out any action like this that Russia is accused of. And I do not think that the common sense of those who command these troops is less than mine. I suspect that this is a macabre staging carried out (perhaps with the help of the CIA) by the Ukrainian government. I am convinced that time will prove me right.

kbartlett114gmailcom

From Southfront, videos: https://southfront.org/new-evidences-shed-light-on-alleged-massacre-in-bucha-kiev-region-video-photo/

Francois

It is amazing that every time the kabal want to swing opinion the CIA pull this off, no matter which country is involved. It happened numerous places now, including the twin towers.

wordaction717

Thank You Eva for these insider videos giving us the Russian-speaking side of what in the Western-world is limited on what our ears can hear.

From, Yves Bernard, head of prepare.ations group.

More by Eva Bartlett

Make Nazism Great Again

March 24, 2022

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.

All eyes are on Mariupol. As of Wednesday night, over 70% of residential areas were under control of Donetsk and Russian forces, while Russian Marines, Donetsk’s 107th batallion and Chechen Spetsnaz, led by the charismatic Adam Delimkhanov, had entered the Azov-Stal plant – the HQ of the neo-Nazi Azov batallion.

Azov was sent a last ultimatum: surrender until midnight – or else, as in a take no prisoners highway to hell.

That implies a major game-changer in the Ukrainian battlefield; Mariupol is finally about to be thoroughly denazified – as the Azov contingent long entrenched in the city and using civilians as human shields were their most hardened fighting force.

Meanwhile, echoes from the Empire of Lies all but gave the whole game away. There’s no intention whatsoever in Washington to facilitate a peace plan in Ukraine – and that explains Comedian Zelensky’s non-stop stalling tactics. The supreme target is regime change in Russia, and for that Totalen Krieg against Russia and all things Russian is warranted. Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.

This also means that the 14,000 deaths in Donbass for the past 8 years should be directly attributed to the Exceptionalists. As for Ukrainian neo-Nazis of all stripes, they are as expendable as “moderate rebels” in Syria, be they al-Qaeda or Daesh-linked. Those that may eventually survive can always join the budding CIA-sponsored Neo-Nazi Inc. – the tawdry remix of the 1980s Jihad Inc. in Afghanistan. They will be properly “Kalibrated”.

A quick neo-Nazi recap

By now only the brain dead across NATOstan – and there are hordes – are not aware of Maidan in 2014. Yet few know that it was then Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov, who gave the green light for a 12,000 paramilitary outfit to materialize out of Sect 82 soccer hooligans who supported Dynamo Kiev. That was the birth of the Azov batallion, in May 2014, led by Andriy Biletsky, a.k.a. the White Fuhrer, and former leader of the neo-nazi gang Patriots of Ukraine.

Together with NATO stay-behind agent Dmitro Yarosh, Biletsky founded Pravy Sektor, financed by Ukrainian mafia godfather and Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky (later the benefactor of the meta-conversion of Zelensky from mediocre comedian to mediocre President.)

Pravy Sektor happened to be rabidly anti-EU – tell that to Ursula von der Lugen – and politically obsessed with linking Central Europe and the Baltics in a new, tawdry Intermarium. Crucially, Pravy Sektor and other nazi gangs were duly trained by NATO instructors.

Biletsky and Yarosh are of course disciples of notorious WWII-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, for whom pure Ukrainians are proto-Germanic or Scandinavian, and Slavs are untermenschen.

Azov ended up absorbing nearly all neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and were dispatched to fight against Donbass – with their acolytes making more money than regular soldiers. Biletsky and another neo-Nazi leader, Oleh Petrenko, were elected to the Rada. The White Führer stood on his own. Petrenko decided to support then President Poroshenko. Soon the Azov battalion was incorporated as the Azov Regiment to the Ukrainian National Guard.

They went on a foreign mercenary recruiting drive – with people coming from Western Europe, Scandinavia and even South America.

That was strictly forbidden by the Minsk Agreements guaranteed by France and Germany (and now de facto defunct). Azov set up training camps for teenagers and soon reached 10,000 members. Erik “Blackwater” Prince, in 2020, struck a deal with the Ukrainian military that would enable his renamed outfit, Academi, to supervise Azov.

It was none other than sinister Maidan cookie distributor Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland who suggested to Zelensky – both of them, by the way, Ukrainian Jews – to appoint avowed Nazi Yarosh as an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The target: organize a blitzkrieg on Donbass and Crimea – the same blitzkrieg that SVR, Russian foreign intel, concluded would be launched on February 22, thus propelling the launch of Operation Z.

All of the above, in fact just a quick recap, shows that in Ukraine there’s no difference whatsoever between white neo-Nazis and brown-colored al-Qaeda/ISIS/Daesh, as much as neo-Nazis are just as “Christian” as takfiri Salafi-jihadis are “Muslim”.

When Putin denounced a “bunch of neo-Nazis” in power in Kiev, the Comedian replied that it was impossible because he was Jewish. Nonsense. Zelensky and his patron Kolomoysky, for all practical purposes, are Zio-Nazis.

Even as branches of the United States government admitted to neo-Nazis entrenched in the Kiev apparatus, the Exceptionalist machine made the daily shelling of Donbass for 8 years simply disappear. These thousands of civilian victims never existed.

U.S. mainstream media even ventured the odd piece or report on Azov and Aidar neo-Nazis. But then a neo-Orwellian narrative was set in stone: there are no Nazis in Ukraine. CIA offshoot NED even started deleting records about training members of Aidar. Recently a crappy news network duly promoted a video of a NATO-trained and weaponized Azov commander – complete with Nazi iconography.

Why “denazification” makes sense

The Banderastan ideology harks back to when this part of Ukraine was in fact controlled by the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Russian empire and Poland. Stepan Bandera was born in Austro-Hungary in 1909, near Ivano-Frankovsk, in the – then autonomous – Kingdom of Galicia.

WWI dismembered European empires into frequently non-viable small entities. In western Ukraine – an imperial intersection – that inevitably led to the proliferation of extremely intolerant ideologies.

Banderastan ideologues profited from the Nazi arrival in 1941 to try to proclaim an independent territory. But Berlin not only blocked it but sent them to concentration camps. In 1944 though the Nazis changed tactics: they liberated the Banderanistas and manipulated them into anti-Russian hate, thus creating a destabilization force in the Ukrainian USSR.

So Nazism is not exactly the same as Banderastan fanatics: they are in fact competing ideologies. What happened since Maidan is that the CIA kept a laser focus on inciting Russian hatred by whatever fringe groups it could instrumentalize. So Ukraine is not a case of “white nationalism” – to put it mildly – but of anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism, for all practical purposes manifested via Nazi-style salutes and Nazi-style symbols.

So when Putin and the Russian leadership refer to Ukrainian Nazism, that may not be 100% correct, conceptually, but it strikes a chord with every Russian.

Russians viscerally reject Nazism – considering that virtually every Russian family has at least one ancestor killed during the Great Patriotic War. From the perspective of wartime psychology, it makes total sense to talk of “Ukro-nazism” or, straight to the point, a “denazification” campaign.

How the Anglos loved the Nazis

The United States government openly cheerleading neo-Nazis in Ukraine is hardly a novelty, considering how it supported Hitler alongside England in 1933 for balance of power reasons.

In 1933, Roosevelt lent Hitler one billion gold dollars while England lent him two billion gold dollars. That should be multiplied 200 times to arrive at today’s fiat dollars. The Anglo-Americans wanted to build up Germany as a bulwark against Russia. In 1941 Roosevelt wrote to Hitler that if he invaded Russia the U.S. would side with Russia, and wrote Stalin that if Stalin invaded Germany the U.S. would back Germany. Talk about a graphic illustration of Mackinderesque balance of power.

The Brits had become very concerned with the rise of Russian power under Stalin while observing that Germany was on its knees with 50% unemployment in 1933, if one counted unregistered itinerant Germans.

Even Lloyd George had misgivings about the Versailles Treaty, unbearably weakening Germany after its surrender in WWI. The purpose of WWI, in Lloyd George’s worldview, was to destroy Russia and Germany together. Germany was threatening England with the Kaiser building a fleet to take over the oceans, while the Tsar was too close to India for comfort. For a while Britannia won – and continued to rule the waves.

Then building up Germany to fight Russia became the number one priority – complete with rewriting of History. The uniting of Austrian Germans and Sudetenland Germans with Germany, for instance, was totally approved by the Brits.

But then came the Polish problem. When Germany invaded Poland, France and Britain stood on the sidelines. That placed Germany on the border of Russia, and Germany and Russia divided up Poland. That’s exactly what Britain and France wanted. Britain and France had promised Poland that they would invade Germany from the west while Poland fought Germany from the east.

In the end, the Poles were double-crossed. Churchill even praised Russia for invading Poland. Hitler was advised by MI6 that England and France would not invade Poland – as part of their plan for a German-Russian war. Hitler had been supported financially since the 1920s by MI6 for his favorable words about England in Mein Kampf. MI6 de facto encouraged Hitler to invade Russia.

Fast forward to 2022, and here we go again – as farce, with the Anglo-Americans “encouraging” Germany under feeble Scholz to put itself back together militarily, with 100 billion euros (that the Germans don’t have), and setting up in thesis a revamped European force to later go to war against Russia.

Cue to the Russophobic hysteria in Anglo-American media about the Russia-China strategic partnership. The mortal Anglo-American fear is Mackinder/Mahan/Spykman/Kissinger/Brzezinski all rolled into one: Russia-China as peer competitor twins take over the Eurasian land mass – the Belt and Road Initiative meets the Greater Eurasia Partnership – and thus rule the planet, with the U.S. relegated to inconsequential island status, as much as the previous “Rule Britannia”.

England, France and later the Americans had prevented it when Germany aspired to do the same, controlling Eurasia side by side with Japan, from the English Channel to the Pacific. Now it’s a completely different ball game.

So Ukraine, with its pathetic neo-Nazi gangs, is just an – expendable – pawn in the desperate drive to stop something that is beyond anathema, from Washington’s perspective: a totally peaceful German-Russian-Chinese New Silk Road.

Russophobia, massively imprinted in the West’s DNA, never really went away. Cultivated by the Brits since Catherine the Great – and then with The Great Game. By the French since Napoleon. By the Germans because the Red Army liberated Berlin. By the Americans because Stalin forced to them the mapping of Europe – and then it went on and on and on throughout the Cold War.

We are at just the early stages of the final push by the dying Empire to attempt arresting the flow of History. They are being outsmarted, they are already outgunned by the top military power in the world, and they will be checkmated. Existentially, they are not equipped to kill the Bear – and that hurts. Cosmically.


Pepe on Telegram:  https://t.me/+Uxbn8mAJx2971eDI

Gonzalo Lira – live stream from Kharkov (recording)

March 21, 2022

Russian Military expert Andrei Martyanov on Russia’s denazification & demilitarization operation in the Ukraine

 

Eva Bartlett

On March 15, I spoke with author and Russian military expert, Andrei Martyanov. His commentary and analysis are based on a deep understanding of Russian military and geopolitical issues.

Among many important things discussed were:

-that Ukraine has used prohibited weaspons against the people of the Donbass, repeatedly, including White Phosphorous

-Ukraine’s use of Ukrainian civilians as human shields, a war crime, preventing them from leaving areas of conflict (much as terrorists did Syrian civilians)

-why Russia is conducting the denazification operation

-that the hatred of Russians and calls for their murder amongst Ukrainian nationalists is not a new thing, but decades old

-that there will be a Ukrainian war crimes tribunal to hold accountable the criminals who have perpetrated untold and horrific war crimes

-Ukraine’s biological weapons

-the blatant propaganda and lies in the media war against Russia, much like the manifold lies we saw around Syria

Please do listen to the entire discussion, and consider supporting Andrei’s work.

Follow Andrei on:

Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/martyanov

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjxgKuAiHatLO-YskZU6PQQ

His blog:

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

RELATED LINKS

*Foreign Ministry statement on Ukraine’s strike on Donetsk

https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1804180/?lang=en

*Attack on Donetsk by Ukrainian forces yesterday – a Tochka-U tactical missile with a cluster munition warhead (which is prohibited under international law). Only 1 cassette of 50 exploded yet killed 20 and injured 36.
https://twitter.com/indyscotnews/status/1503680455169789960


*Israel’s use of White Phosphorous on civilians in Gaza

Fake News/Propaganda

-Snake Island incident

https://www.rt.com/news/550717-snake-island-guards-surrendered/

-Debunking the claim of the sinking of Vasily Bykov patrol ship

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/03/exhibit-a.html

-Beirut Port blast 2020 as Ukraine 2022

Syria propaganda

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/397339-bana-abed-syria-aleppo-twitter /
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/431128-bana-alabed-bellingcat-atlantic-council/

https://www.sott.net/article/325238-Western-corporate-media-disappears-over-1-5-million-Syrians-and-4000-doctors

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/408618-syria-war-propaganda-media-west/

Speaking out against hatred of Russians

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/03/candace-is-woman.html

خارطة للعملية الروسية في يومها الـ20.. وموسكو تعرض أدلّة لخطة أوكرانية

الثلاثاء 15 آذار  2022


المصدر: وكالات

وزارة الدفاع الروسية تعلن ضبطَ عددٍ كبيرٍ من الأسلحة الأجنبية في ضواحي كييف، وسكرتير مجلس الأمن الروسي يؤكّد أن أوكرانيا كانت تمتلك كل ما يلزم لصناعة سلاحٍ نوويٍّ.

الخريطة الميدانية لليوم الـ20 من العملية العسكرية الروسية الخاصة في أوكرانيا

أعلنت وزارة الدفاع الروسية، اليوم الثلاثاء، أنَّ “القوات الخاصّة الروسية المحمولة جوّاً، قامت بضبطِ عددٍ كبيرٍ من الأسلحة الأجنبية في ضواحي كييف، وذلك بعد معارك مع القوميين الأوكرانيين المتطرفين”.

وأظهر مقطعٌ مصوَّرٌ نشرته وزارة الدفاع الروسية المنظومة الأميركية المضادة للدبابات “جافلين”، ومنظومة “بانتسيرفاوست” الألمانية، وعدداً من منظومات الصواريخ المحمولة. كما أظهر المقطع تحميل الجنود الروس لهذه الغنائم في مركباتهم العسكرية.

وأشار أحد جنود القوات الجوية إلى أنّه “سيتمّ تسليم جميع الأسلحة إلى ممثلي جمهوريتي لوغانسك ودونيتسك الشعبيتين”.

وفي وقتٍ سابقٍ، سيطرت وحداتٌ من القوات الخاصة الروسية المحمولة جوّاً على مركز إسناد للقوميين المتطرفين الأوكرانيين والمرتزقة الأجانب، في بلدة “غوتا ميجوغورسكايا” في مقاطعة كييف.

وأمس، أعلنت وزارة الدفاع الروسية أنَّ مدينتي ميليتوبول وخيرسون خضعتا لسيطرة القوات الروسية بالكامل.

باتروشيف: كييف كانت تمتلك كل ما يلزم لصنع سلاح نووي

أعلن سكرتير مجلس الأمن الروسي، نيكولاي باتروشيف، اليوم الثلاثاء، أنَّ “قيام أوكرانيا بصنعِ سلاحٍ نوويٍّ كان من شأنه تهديد الأمن العالمي”، مشيراً إلى أنَّ “روسيا لم تكن لتسمح بظهور هذا السلاح لدى القوميين المتطرفيين، الذين لا يمكن السيطرة عليهم”.

وقال باتروشيف، خلال جلسةٍ حول الأمن في شمال القوقاز، إنّه “أصبح من الواضح أن المستشارين الأميركيين هم الذين يشجّعون ويساعدون نظام كييف في صنع أسلحة بيولوجية ونووية”. وأضاف أنَّ “لدى أوكرانيا كل ما يلزم لهذا الغرض، الكفاءات والتقنيات والمواد الخام ووسائل التسليم”.

وأكّد باتروشيف أنَّ “تصريحات القيادة الأوكرانية حول إمكانية تغيير الوضع النووي للبلاد لم تكن كلمات جوفاء”.

وتابع باتروشيف أنّه “يمكن تحويل هذه النوايا إلى واقع، وهذا مثّل بالفعل تهديداً واضحاً ليس لأمن روسيا فقط، ولكن للعالم بأسره، ما قد يؤدي إلى اندلاع حربٍ نوويةٍ”.

وشدَّد باتروشيف على أنّه “لا يمكننا أن نسمح للقوميين المتعصبين، وغير القابلين للسيطرة، بامتلاك أسلحة نووية”. وأشار سكرتير مجلس الأمن الروسي إلى أنَّ “الأسلحة النووية التكتيكية الأميركية قد تم نشرها بالفعل في أوروبا”.

وسأل باتروشيف “من أجل إمكانية استخدام البنية التحتية للدفاع الصاروخي التي تم إنشاؤها في المنطقة المجاورة مباشرة لحدودنا، أين ضمان أن السلاح المُجهّز لن يتمَّ إطلاقه مرةً أخرى؟”.

وأوضح باتروشيف أنَّ “الولايات المتحدة استخدمت بالفعل أسلحةً نوويةً ضد المدنيين، فقد ألقيت قنابل ذرية على مدن في اليابان، واستخدمت ذخيرة اليورانيوم المنضب في العراق ويوغوسلافيا”.

وفي هذا الصدد، قال إنَّ “عواقب استخدام هذه الذخيرة لا تزال تؤثر على البيئة وصحة الإنسان، ما يزيد بشكلٍ كبيرٍ من الوفيات الناجمة عن مرض السرطان”.

مجلس الأمن القومي الروسي: حصلنا على أدلة موثقة عن خطة كييف لغزو دونباس والقرم الشهر الجاري

وأعلن باتروشيف، اليوم الثلاثاء، أنّه “تم الحصول على أدلةٍ موثّقةٍ تُثبت أن سلطات كييف كانت تستعد لغزو أراضي جمهوريتي دونيتسك ولوغانسك الشعبيتين، وكذلك شبه جزيرة القرم، في آذار/مارس الجاري”، وأوضح باتروشيف أن الحصول على هذه الأدلة خلال العملية الروسية الخاصة الجارية في أوكرانيا.

وفي وقتٍ سابقٍ، أكدت قناة “روسيا – 24” أن الاستخبارات الروسية تلقت معلومات تفيد بأن أوكرانيا كانت تخطط لاجتياح إقليم دونباس في شباط/فبراير الماضي.

وقالت القناة في برنامج “بيسوغون” إن خطة كييف كانت تنص على دعوة قوات من حلف شمال الأطلسي إلى أوكرانيا لمنع التدخل الروسي. 

ووفق معد ومقدم البرنامج، عضو المجلس الاستشاري لدى الرئيس الروسي، نيكيتا ميخالكوف، فإن إرسال السلاح إلى أوكرانيا على مدى أشهر كان يهدف إلى تكديسه ليتم فيما بعد تسليح قوات الناتو به.

روسيا تُجلي حوالى 260 ألف شخص من دونيتسك ولوغانسك وأوكرانيا

وصرّح أيضاً رئيس المركز الوطني الروسي لإدارة الدفاع، ميخائيل ميزينتسيف، اليوم الثلاثاء، بأنَّ “روسيا قامت، دون مشاركة السلطات الأوكرانية، بإجلاء حوالي 260 ألف شخصٍ من المناطق الخطرة في أوكرانيا، من بينهم 56 ألفَ طفلٍ، وكذلك من جمهوريتي دونيتسك ولوغانسك الشعبيتين”.

وقال ميزينتسيف في إفادةٍ صحفيةٍ إنّه “على الرغم من كل العراقيل التي وضعتها الكتائب القومية وسلطات كييف أمام خروج المواطنين، فقد تمَّ خلال الساعات الـ24 الماضية إجلاء 11372 شخصاً من المناطق الخطرة في مختلف مناطق أوكرانيا، كما تمَّ إجلاء 11372 شخصاً، من بينهم 1873 طفلاً، من جمهوريتي لوغانسك ودونيتسك”.

وأوضح رئيس المركز الوطني الروسي لإدارة الدفاع أنّه “منذ بداية العملية العسكرية الخاصة تم إجلاء 258791 شخصاً، من بينهم 56180 طفلاً”. وأضاف بأنَّ “1368 سيارةً خاصَّةً عبرت الحدود الروسية في يومٍ واحدٍ، وأكثر من 29 ألفاً خلال كامل فترة العملية الخاصة”.

وأشار إلى أنّه “خلال الساعات الـ 24 الماضية، وبفضل الإجراءات الأمنية غير المسبوقة التي اتخذتها القوات المسلحة الروسية، تمَّ توفير ممرات إنسانية، وإجلاء 36721 مواطناً في اتجاهات جيتومير ولوغانسك ودونيتسك وماريوبول، تتبعهم حافلاتٌ وسياراتٌ خاصَّةٌ من مختلف المناطق السكنية إلى المناطق الغربية من أوكرانيا”.

“الدفاع الروسية”: المتطرفون الأوكرانيون يحتجزون 7070 مواطناً من 22 دولة

وقال رئيس المركز الوطني لقيادة الدفاع في روسيا، ميخائيل ميزينتسيف، اليوم الثلاثاء، إنَّ “القوميين المتطرفيين الأوكرانيين يواصلون احتجاز 7070 مواطناً من 22 دولةً أجنبيةً، فضلاً عن أطقم 70 سفينةً أجنبيةً”.

وأضاف ميزينتسيف أن هؤلاء الأشخاص “محتجزون كرهائن من قبل مسلحي كتائب الدفاع الإقليمية”.

وتابع أنّه “تمَّ تنظيم العمل على مدار الساعة مع ممثلي الدوائر الدبلوماسية ذات الصلة، بشأن مصير جميع المواطنين الأجانب المحتجزين بشكلٍ غيرِ قانونيٍّ”، مشيراً إلى أنّه “في الوقت نفسه، ما زالت السلطات الأوكرانية لا تستجيب لنداءات الدول الأجنبية التي تحاول إنقاذ أرواح مواطنيها وتخليصهم من هذا المأزق”.

وقبل نحو 10 أيام، قالت وزارة الدفاع الروسية إنَّ “أكثر من 7,5 ألف أجنبي محتجزون كرهائن في مدن أوكرانية، مشيرةً إلى أن نظام كييف فقد بالكامل تقريباً القدرة على إدارة المناطق والمقاطعات في البلاد”.

وقالت الدفاع الروسية في بيان لها أنه “في مدينة سومي قام النازيون الجدد بقصف مسكن يعيش فيه طلاب هنود، وأصيب 5 أشخاص، فيما لا يزال مصير 11 غير معروف”.

وأمس، أعلن المتحدث باسم وزارة الدفاع الروسية، إيغور كوناشينكوف، مقتل 20 مدنياً وإصابة 28 آخرين، جراء قصف القوات الأوكرانية مركز مدينة دونيتسك بصاروخٍ من طراز “توتشكا أو”، الذي “يحتوي على ذخيرة عنقودية”، واصفاً هذا القصف بأنّه “جريمة حرب”.

وقال كوناشينكوف إنَّ “هناك أطفالاً بين المصابين إصاباتٍ بالغة”، وأكّد أنّه “تم نقل المصابين إلى المراكز الطبية”.

يُذكر أنَّ القوميين الأوكرانيين المتطرفين لا يطلقون سراح المواطنين والأجانب، بل يتّخذونهم كدروعٍ بشرية، مما يعيق عمليات الإجلاء بعد تأمين ممرات إنسانية لعبور اللاجئين باتجاه الأماكن الآمنة، بحسب ما تعلن وزارة الدفاع الروسية.

Russian MoD: Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine

March 11, 2022

https://t.me/mod_russia_en/133

Meeting of the Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine

 In accordance with its commitments and exclusively for humanitarian purposes, the Russian Federation has opened ten humanitarian corridors from 10 a.m. Moscow time today to evacuate civilians and foreign citizens from Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol cities, including one humanitarian corridor from each city to the Russian Federation, as well as one through the territories controlled by the Kiev authorities to the west, to Poland, Moldova and Romania.

 Of the ten routes we proposed, the Ukrainian side agreed on only two – on Kiev and Mariupol directions. At the same time, once again not a single humanitarian corridor to the Russian Federation. At the same time, the Kiev authorities additionally announced four more routes from Izyum, Energodar, Volnovakha and in the Zhytomyr direction. For humane purposes, we agreed with them.

 Official Kiev, as before, continues to reject humanitarian corridors towards Russia, arguing that there are simply no civilians and foreign citizens who want to go to the territory of the Russian Federation.

We have already talked about this – it is a lie and a cynical deception. At the same time, the results of daily monitoring show the opposite – 23,127 more people have taken refuge in the Russian Federation from the horrors and arbitrariness staged by nationalists in the last 24 hours alone, and there are already 2,619,026 of them from almost 2,000 settlements of Ukraine.

And this is not just statistics, it is the fate of people, their hopes for the end of the daily nightmare, despair from the hopelessness of the situation. The Kiev authorities have legalized crimes against humanity, ignore numerous cases of looting, robbery, banditry, and sanctioned the use of weapons by nationalists against the civilian population, including women and children.

 Another provocation of nationalists was recorded in Kharkov, where, in order to conceal research on nuclear topics, militants of territorial defence battalions blew up one of the buildings of the Physics and Technology Institute on Akademicheskaya Street. Up to 50 employees of the institution can be under the rubble.

In addition, in the same city, in the basement of an art school on Yesenin Street, militants hide the bodies of civilians killed during a punitive operation against persons who did not support the criminal Kiev regime.

In Sumy, nationalists conduct raids on private households, during which, under threat of physical violence and murder, forcibly seize food, fuel, equipment, as well as personal cars from people.

 The Kiev authorities have banned the mayors of cities from any contacts with the Russian side, including on the organization of humanitarian corridors. All those who disagree are simply shot.

 Taking into account our responsibility for the humanitarian component and ensuring the safety of the exit of civilians and foreign citizens forcibly held by nationalists in the blocked settlements, from 10 a.m. by means of objective control, including unmanned aerial vehicles, intensive monitoring of the situation on humanitarian routes is being conducted.

The results of objective control again show that the ceasefire is actively used to intensively regroup units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and national battalions in defensive positions, as well as to move weapons and military equipment to more advantageous positions.

 To date, more than 7,000 from 21 foreign countries remain hostage to Ukrainian neo-Nazis, whom the nationalists continue to hold as “human shield”.

The fate of these foreign citizens has been the subject of round-the-clock cooperation with representatives of the relevant diplomatic agencies.

 Please note that by the decision of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, foreign students evacuated from the territory of Ukraine will be able to continue their studies at Russian universities according to quotas for foreign students. To this end, the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia is already preparing notes to the embassies of the relevant foreign states.

 In addition, foreign partners express particular concern about the lack of the possibility of safe passage of ships from the ports of Ukraine due to the high mine danger created by the Kiev authorities in their internal waters and territorial sea, as well as possible provocations by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including shelling of ships from the shore.

Currently, there are more than 50 foreign vessels in Ukrainian ports, crewed by foreign citizens of Azerbaijan, Greece, Georgia, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, the Philippines, Jamaica and a number of others.

Ukraine’s actions to create a mine danger violate the provisions of international humanitarian law in terms of mine installations that threaten the safety of civilian vessels of third States. The concern of the Russian side in this regard was stated on March 10 at an extraordinary session of the Council of the International Maritime Organization, which is a specialized agency of the United Nations.

 We call on the Ukrainian side to strictly comply with the norms of international humanitarian law and ensure the safe exit of foreign vessels from Ukrainian ports and the territorial sea.

We emphasize once again that the Russian Armed Forces do not pose a danger to navigation in the Azov, Black Seas, as well as other areas of the World Ocean.

 More than 9,500 temporary accommodation centres continue to operate in the regions of the Russian Federation.

A sufficient number of buses and supporting transport for the transportation of refugees are kept in constant readiness at checkpoints and temporary accommodation places. They are equipped with everything necessary for a temporary stay, hot meals are provided, mobile medical centres are deployed.

Federal executive authorities together with the subjects of Russia, various public organizations, patriotic movements have prepared more than 16,500 tons of humanitarian aid.

1,671 tons of humanitarian cargo have already been delivered to Ukraine, 212 humanitarian actions have been carried out, including 26 actions in Chernigov region, as well as in Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, during which 250 tons of basic necessities, medicines and food were transferred to the civilian population of the liberated areas.

Today, 23 humanitarian actions are being held in Kharkov, Zaporozhia, Kiev and Chernigov regions, during which 284 tons of basic necessities, including food, are being transferred to the population.

 Despite this, 34,555 people, including 3,562 children, were evacuated from the dangerous zones of various regions of Ukraine, as well as the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, during the day without the participation of the Ukrainian side, and more than 223,000 people have been evacuated since the beginning of the special military operation, 50,258 of them children. The state border of the Russian Federation was crossed by 23,253 vehicles, of which 1,249 per day.

In addition, today the Russian Armed Forces ensured the safety of the movement of a humanitarian convoy from Energodar city to Zaporozhye, consisting of 13 buses, 130 private cars with 957 refugees, and also managed to evacuate more than 62,000 refugees from Sumy in Poltava direction within a day.

 As for the statement of the President of Ukraine about the impossibility of evacuation from Volnovakha and Mariupol, we explain.

The variant of evacuation from Volnovakha proposed by the Ukrainian side, due to ignorance of the true situation on the “ground”, once again puts official Kiev in an absurd position, since this locality is currently completely controlled by the units of the People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic, who are already building a peaceful life in Volnovakha.

Appropriate humanitarian measures are being carried out with the population, and none of the residents are going to leave their homes.

 About the situation in Mariupol. The city is blocked, all bridges and approaches to the city are destroyed, the main roads are mined by nationalists, and armed men walk through the streets, open fire indiscriminately, thereby forcing the civilian population to stay in their homes.

Attempts of the sappers of Donetsk People’s Republic to demine the approaches to Mariupol have not been successful, as the nationalists are firing at them intensively from various types of weapons. Unfortunately, due to the fault of the Ukrainian side, the evacuation from Izyum to Lozovaya failed. This is the route and the humanitarian corridor that the Kiev authorities themselves offered us. Traffic routes are mined, sections of the road are fired from small arms and mortars by units of the territorial defence of Ukraine on the approaches to Lozovaya.

Ukraine nationalists holding 7,000+ civilians from 21 states hostage: Russia


11 Mar 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

The Russian National Defense Management Center reveals that Ukrainian nationalists are terrorizing civilians in Mariupol and holding foreign civilians as hostage.

A Donbass republics soldier standing over an abandoned Ukrainian T-64 BV tank

The Russian Armed Forces are still surrounding Mariupol in southeast Ukraine, the Russian defense ministry said Friday. Moscow also revealed that Ukrainian nationalists had deployed mines on the city’s roads, and they are opening fire randomly in the streets to force civilians to stay inside their homes.

National Defense Management Center chief Mikhail Mizintsev told reporters Kiev only agreed to establish two humanitarian corridors out of the ten proposed by Russia, none of which were into Russia. The agreed-upon corridors are in the direction of Kiev and Mariupol.

Despite no corridor leading into Russia, Mizintsev said there were 2.6 million people in Ukraine who would like to go to Russia out of fear from the nationalists.

“So far, neo-Nazis in Ukraine have more than 7,000 citizens from 21 countries as hostages, and they are using them as human shields,” the official revealed.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are using the ceasefire to regroup and move to more strategically beneficial locations, Mizintsev also said.

He also revealed that Kiev’s forces blew up the Institute of Physics and Technology’s research facility in Kharkov in a bid to hide research about nuclear activities, and “50 employees are still under the rubble.”

The defense official went on to urge the Kiev regime to “strictly comply with the international humanitarian law and ensure the safe departure of foreign ships from Ukrainian ports and territorial waters,” stressing that his country’s navy was not jeopardizing navigation in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

The Russian statements come in light of a special military operation launched for several reasons, such as NATO’s eastward expansion, the Ukrainian shelling of Donbass, and the killing of the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic, in addition to Moscow wanting to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine.

MOD Russia: Statement on telegram channel + Briefing

March 07, 2022

https://t.me/mod_russia_en

Regular meeting of the Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine in Moscow

According to the Head of the National Centre for State Defence Control Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the Ukrainian side has not fulfilled a single condition for the creation of humanitarian corridors.

Speech by the Head of the National Centre for State Defence Control of the Russian Federation Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev (March 7, 2022)

Dear colleagues!

 Unfortunately, a detailed and well-planned operation to open humanitarian corridors and declare cease-fire regime simultaneously in several of the most threatened areas should have brought at least some positive results in order to save people who are in a terrible humanitarian catastrophe.

 For the exit of civilians and foreign citizens forcibly held by the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, Kharkov, Sumy and Mariupol, the Russian Armed Forces today once again established cease-fire and opened humanitarian corridors:

from Kiev to Gomel, with transfer by air transport to the Russian Federation;
from Mariupol by two routes to Rostov-on-Don and Zaporozhye with departure to the west of Ukraine, from Kharkov to Belgorod,
from Sumy along two routes to Poltava, at the suggestion of the Ukrainian side and Belgorod – then by air, rail and road transport to selected destination points or places of temporary accommodation.

 Yesterday, from 10:00 to 11:40 p.m., this information was brought to the official representatives of the Kiev authorities, representatives of foreign embassies, relevant structures of the UN, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations through all information resources, including the media.

Only today at 7:10 a.m., an official response from the Ukrainian side was received with consent to open humanitarian corridors. But at the same time, the Kiev regime, in agreement, deliberately did not include the openning of humanitarian corridors in the direction of the Russian Federation from Kiev, Kharkov, Mariupol and Sumy.

The residents of these and other settlements were not informed about the possibility of unhindered safe evacuation.

 The requests of the Ukrainian side, voiced to us less than three hours before the opening of humanitarian corridors, look absurd:

 1st is to ensure evacuation from Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpen, Dymer and Ivankovo settlements in Kiev region, as well as Lipci and Strilecha settlements in Kharkov region, which are under control of the Russian Armed Forces. At the same time, none of the residents of these settlements expressed a desire to evacuate, people live peacefully in their homes, nothing threatens them;
 2nd is to organize the evacuation from Izyum and Bakaleya cities in Kharkov region, which are under the full control of national battalions, where the Russian Armed Forces have nothing to do with ensuring security in these cities; 3rd is to deliver humanitarian cargo by official Kiev to Melitopol and Berdyansk in Zaporozhye region and to Kherson. There are absolutely no problems in supplying these settlements today.

 All of the facts above say that the Ukrainian leadership has completely lost control over the state of affairs in their own country, is unable to resolve any issues, being under the harsh influence of radicals, who are actually a parallel government that does not recognize any laws.

 As of 1:00 p.m., the Ukrainian side has not fulfilled a single condition for the creation of humanitarian corridors. We observed by means of objective control, including unmanned aerial vehicles – not a single event for the preparation of humanitarian convoys was carried out, no one arrived at the open humanitarian corridors.

It is known that the nationalists, under the threat of physical violence, simply do not let civilians and foreign citizens out of these settlements.

 From 10:00 a.m., on the contrary, we note intensive movement of armed people on the front line in all directions, artillery and mortar fire did not stop for a second. During these three hours alone, on all six humanitarian corridors declared by the Russian Armed Forces, 172 shellings from the armed forces of Ukraine and nationalists were recorded. In this case, we are talking about shelling areas directly located or adjacent to the alleged humanitarian corridors.

In Mariupol, any attempts by the civilian population and foreign citizens to move in the direction of the gathering places for humanitarian convoys were severely suppressed, up to the use of weapons to kill.

In addition, the mayor of Sumy, Alexander Lysenko with the commander of the national battalion, at 11:55 a.m.officially announced: “There will be no green corridors, not a single civilian will go to Russia, and those who try to do this will be shot.”

 We know why the Kiev regime, by all available and inaccessible methods, in every possible way prevents the exit of civilians and foreigners to Russia, and in fact, they afraid that people will tell the truth about lawlessness and chaos, humiliation and suffering, as well as genocide organized by this inhuman regime.

Millions of Ukrainians, thousands of foreign citizens also found themselves in the information blockade. Nobody tells the truth to people. Even the notification of civilians and foreigners about the possibility of using safe humanitarian corridors towards Russia is not carried out, and the Ukrainian media broadcast false information that Russia does not provides these corridors.

 At the same time, on the border of Ukraine in Kiev region, as well as in Sudzha, Kursk region, in Nekhoteevka, Belgorod region, in Novoazovsk city, Rostov region, four columns of comfortable large buses, with a total number of 367 seats, with a total capacity of up to 12.5 thousand passengers. These thousands of people could find themselves in a calm and safe environment today. Unfortunately, this did not happen due to the fault of the Ukrainian authorities.

 We keep chronology of all the actions of the Ukrainian side, archiving the materials of objective control. We are doing this, in order to tell the Ukrainian people later who lied to them, who used them as a human shield.

We record in detail the positions, last names, first names of all representatives of the Kiev authorities who are interacting with us today on humanitarian issues at this difficult time for ordinary Ukrainians. We will tell about the actions and inaction, about the betrayal and lies of official and unofficial officials who are indifferent to the fate of their own people.

Kiev officials continue to accuse the Russian Armed Forces of allegedly failing to comply with the promised cease-fire and brazenly lie to representatives of foreign embassies in Kiev, Lvov and Odessa and other cities about the Russian side’s failure to fulfill the conditions for ensuring the security of humanitarian corridors. This is a blatant provocation, lies and deceit.

 We continue to work with all interested parties and today, more than ever, we call on the UN, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross, all the power, all the potential of your organizations to force the representatives of Kiev authorities to fulfill the humanitarian obligations enshrined in the Geneva Convention.

Yesterday, numerous facts were recorded in Kharkov, Sumy and other cities, when militants of nationalist battalions shot civilians, accusing them of complicity with Russia.

 In Mariupol, on the first floor of a school building located on Svobody Avenue, nationalists of the territorial defence battalions created a strong point, placing heavy weapons on the lower floors and placing groups of snipers on the roof. At the same time, the militants hide behind the backs of innocent citizens, forcibly holding the residents of the nearest houses in the school.

 And the latest information looks quite cynical. Officials with whom we interacted during the preparation of today’s humanitarian operation have just published an official message on the information resource that the exit of civilians was disrupted through the fault of the Russian Federation, allegedly due to inconsistency in the routes of humanitarian corridors.

1,634 foreigners are kept as human shields by Kiev radicals, including:

in Kharkov – 257 citizens of Jordan (200), Egypt (40), Vietnam (15) and Indonesia (2);
in Sumy – 1,140 citizens of India (576), Tanzania (159), China (121), Ghana (100), Jordan (70), Egypt (60), Pakistan (16), Tunisia (15), Zambia (14 ), Kazakhstan (8) and Serbia (1);
in Mariupol – 88 citizens of Turkey (70) and Kazakhstan (18);
in Kherson – 15 Egyptian citizens;
in Odessa – 7 Indonesian citizens;
in Kiev – 20 citizens of the Republic of Togo (7), Great Britain (7) and the Republic of Benin (6);
in Chernigov – 21 citizens of Pakistan (12) and Indonesia (9).

 Regarding the fate of these foreign citizens, we are working around the clock with the relevant diplomatic departments of these states.

 In regions of Russia, temporary accommodation centres have been increased to 9 thousand places, all of them are ready for individual work with citizens arriving from Ukraine.

 To date, more than 168,000 people have been evacuated from the zones of the special military operation, including 43,469 children.

19,256 personal vehicles have crossed the state border of the Russian Federation.

 The federal executive authorities, together with the constituent entities of Russia, various public organizations, and patriotic movements, have already prepared more than 15,000 tons of humanitarian cargo.

The EMERCOM, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, Rosreestr and Rosrezerv, Tula, Moscow, Yaroslavl, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk and Rostov regions, as well as the Republic of Crimea were most actively involved in this important work.

882 tons of humanitarian cargo have already been delivered to Ukraine, 110 humanitarian actions have been carried out, including 30 actions in Kiev and Chernigov regions, as well as in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics over the past day, during which 325 tons of basic necessities were handed over to the civilian population of the liberated regions, medicine and food.

In addition, 50 tons of foods were delivered from the Syrian Arab Republic and 14 tons of basic necessities from Nagorno-Karabakh for subsequent transfer to the population of Kiev and Zaporozhye regions.

To date, 48 humanitarian actions have been planned and are currently being carried out in Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Kherson and Chernigov regions, during which 341 tons of basic necessities, medicine and food will be distributed.

 All necessary conditions have been created in the Russian Federation to welcome refugees.

At checkpoints and places of temporary accommodation, rest rooms are equipped, hot meals are provided, mobile medical stations are deployed, logistic is organized for departure to the regions of Russia, and delivery of foreign citizens to their homeland is provided.

Briefing by Russian Defence Ministry (March 7, 6:00 p.m.)

 The grouping of troops of Lugansk People’s Republic, continuing offensive operations, took control of Kudryashovka, Voronovo, Metelkino, Medvezhye, Askoronovka, Petrovka, Aleksandrovka.

 The units of the People’s Militia of Donetsk People’s Republic established control over Latmoye, Berezovoe, Yasnoye, Maksimovka and Valerianovka.

 Today, from 10:00 a.m. Moscow time, in accordance with the declared cease-fire, all military operations in the area of Mariupol were completely stopped.

According to civilians who escaped from the city, the situation in Mariupol occupied by the nationalists is difficult. People are hiding in basements. Due to the lack of electricity and gas in their homes, they are forced to cook their food on the street, at the stake.

 The militants disperse them. Nationalists open fire on all civilians trying to leave their homes. People are forced to paint on the walls and doors of houses: “don’t shoot – children are here!”.

However, the Nazis, using terrorist tactics, deploy their firing positions in houses with inscriptions “do not shoot – children are here!”.

 The units of the Russian Armed Forces took control of Novoukrainskoye, Staromayorskoye, Staromlynovka, Mayorovo and Removka. All civilians of the liberated settlements are provided with humanitarian assistance.

 The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to strike at the military infrastructure of Ukraine.

 Bomber and assault aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed 26 military facilities.

 Among them: 2 command posts, 1 radar station, 5 ammunition depots and 11 areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment.

  Briefing by Chief of Russian NBC Protection troops

 The Chief of the NBC Protection troops of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov emphasises that the biological programmes that had been in progress by order of the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency are being under an urgent suspension.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with TV channels RT, NBC News, ABC News, ITN, France 24 and the PRC Media Corporation, Moscow, March 3, 2022

March 07, 2022

The Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Question: Unprecedented sanctions pressure is being exerted on the Russian Federation due to the recent events, primarily “on the ground.” Has Russia changed its position? Does the world hear what Russia is saying? What do you think about the ongoing talks in Belarus? What should we expect from the next round?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a comprehensive question. You have touched on many issues. I am sure the world is listening to Russia, but it is difficult to say at this point the extent to which it hears us. The majority may understand what this is about, but they have to obey the toughest dictate.

Speaking frankly, it is of course bad when people die: military servicemen and civilians (women and children). This has been happening in Donbass for eight years and is now happening during Russia’s special military operation. The goal of this operation is to stop any war that could take place on Ukrainian territory or that could start from there.

I have no doubt that a solution will be found. Our minimum terms are well known. They are being discussed, in part, at the talks with Ukrainian representatives. Talks were held in Gomel and new talks were supposed to take place today. However, the Kiev team has again found some reason to postpone the talks. There is no doubt whatsoever that Ukraine receives instructions from Washington; they are not independent at all. Nevertheless, talks must take place. I will not go into the details of the agenda; they are well known. We can no longer tolerate the threat of direct attack on the Russian Federation from the territory of Ukraine. Such threats are fixed in the current doctrinal documents of the Kiev regime. One of the main reasons is Ukraine’s unrelenting desire to join NATO and the reluctance of the Alliance’s members to fulfil their commitments that they do not take any measures that would enhance their security at the expense of the security of others.

In the final analysis, this is not just the situation in Ukraine, the efforts to demilitarise and de-Nazify it, to prevent the continuing manifestations of genocide on its territory, putting a stop to any violence and ensuring for the Ukrainians an opportunity to decide their destiny themselves; no, it is the world order that is at stake. This is for a reason that the West is avoiding, in any way it can, giving a response to our implicit, clear-cut proposals on the security system in Europe that rely on existing agreements.

I mentioned the core principle endorsed at the top level by the OSCE which underlies Russia-NATO relations. Each country has the right to choose alliances. However, no country can strengthen its security at the expense of the security of any other country. No organisation can claim dominance in the Euro-Atlantic space, which is exactly what NATO is doing now. The West strengthening its security at the expense of Russia’s security has become proverbial. We are being told “not to worry because Ukraine or any other country joining NATO will not pose a threat to Russia’s security.” Why should the West tell us what our security needs are? Just like the Americans decided for Germany and Europe what was needed for European energy security. They decided that Nord Stream 2 was something that the EU did not need for its energy security, which would be ensured instead by supplies of liquefied natural gas from the United States at multiple times the cost.

The fact is that we are being listened to, but not heard. They are trying in every possible way to impose on us their idea of how to continue living in Europe.

The comparison suggests itself. In their time, Napoleon and Hitler set out to subjugate Europe. Now, the United States has taken it over. There was no question about NATO, and the European Union was shown its place. The story of Nord Stream 2 vividly illustrated the EU’s actual place in the international arena. It was coerced into doing what it is now doing, end of story. Now, they have started talking and Western capitals are issuing demands. The picture being created on the world stage is like something out of Hollywood, showing absolute evil and absolute good represented by the main character, who also happened to script this “action movie.” It’s sad.

I’m sure the hysteria will pass. Our Western partners will, for lack of a better word, get over it eventually. We remain ready for dialogue, but on one indispensable condition which is this dialogue must be based on equality, respect and consideration for each other’s interests.

Question (retranslated): President of Russia Vladimir Putin is described in the West as an isolated man who is reacting emotionally. When did you speak with him last? Is he taking advice?

Sergey Lavrov: You are choosing to characterise what the President of Russia is doing and how based on Western propaganda.

In the past few weeks, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly explained in detail our view. It reflects the position of the Russian leadership, arrived at in full conformity with the constitutional powers of the President of the Russian Federation and such structures as the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, special services and the Security Council of Russia. This work is being carried out on a daily basis. Permanent Security Council members meet at least once a week. This is the decision-making mechanism.

Question (retranslated): Despite all the nuclear fears, Russia and the United States have managed to maintain stability for decades. Can you reassure the world by saying that Russia will not lose its head and be the first to use nuclear weapons?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a military doctrine that describes the parameters and conditions for using nuclear weapons. There is no “escalation for the sake of de-escalation” there, though Western analysts claim otherwise.

Talk of nuclear war has already begun. Look carefully at these statements and the characters who made them. First, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a propaganda frenzy, trying to curry favour with the most radical forces in the West, that nobody would ban the North Atlantic Alliance from doing whatever it wants, even if it suddenly decides to deploy nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe. To begin with, NATO cannot decide where to deploy nuclear weapons. It does not have them. The Americans do. Stoltenberg’s comment was very revealing.

Next, Vladimir Zelensky started saying that they would renege on their obligations as a non-nuclear state and acquire nuclear weapons. Remember this as well. Do not forget to look at what was said by my colleague, Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves le Drian. He loves to show off, you know. The rooster is a national symbol of France. They often get cocky. During one of his chats with the world, he said Vladimir Putin must remember that France also has nuclear weapons. Neither President Putin nor I are saying this. Other people started this talk. The recently appointed UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss said she was prepared for conflict between NATO and Russia. Please note what US President Joseph Biden has said. When asked whether there was any alternative to the current “sanctions from hell” he said World War 3 was the only alternative to these sanctions. It is commonly understood that World War 3 means nuclear war. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the thought of nuclear war is constantly running through the minds of Western politicians but not the minds of Russians. I assure you that we will not let any provocations cause us to lose our balance. But if a real war is unleashed against us, this must be a concern for those who are hatching such plans. And I believe these plans are being hatched.

Question (retranslated): The world is witnessing Russian bombs killing people in Ukraine and we keep hearing the lies that the Russians are telling about these attacks. The world has come together to condemn them. How can you defend this position?

Sergey Lavrov: You read your question from a piece of paper. The question is short, but still you chose to read it off the piece of paper. I cannot comment on the fakes which abound. It may have come to your attention that primarily Europe and the United States are trying to shut down Russian media and sources of information about the developments in Ukraine, the ongoing special military operation and the way the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalions are treating civilians. When they retreat, they plunder the areas on their way out. In Donbass, the self-defence units of Donetsk and Lugansk began to drive them out. They take people’s vehicles and equipment, and behave like looters and thieves. There is a lot of information about provocations being prepared, including in Mariupol and other places, where the Ukrainians are trying to use civilians as human shields. Ask the Indian, Arab, or African students who are trying to leave Ukraine, but they won’t let them go. Just yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with President Vladimir Putin. He is concerned that an Indian student died in Kharkov, Ukraine. There are no Russian troops in Kharkov. But we see foreigners who want to depart, including across Russian territory, being prevented from leaving at the Kharkov railway station. We are ready to accommodate these students. I don’t have enough time to list all the instances. I encourage you to visit our Ministry’s website, which provides a detailed description of what the Kiev neo-Nazi regime is doing. I know you are fond of the word “kill.” The real killers are fighting on the side of the Kiev regime.

Question (retranslated): Do you believe that President Vladimir Zelensky, the first Jewish president of Ukraine, whose family died during the Holocaust, is a Nazi?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe he is being manipulated by nationalists and neo-Nazis. Otherwise, I find it difficult to explain how President Zelensky can “preside” over a society where neo-Nazis and neo-Nazism are flourishing. They openly hold marches and torchlight processions, and he has his guard of honour stand guard as they do so. They conduct exercises, learn methods of urban warfare, sabotage, and provocation. All of that is happening under President Vladimir Zelensky. He claims that his grandfather fought on the fronts of WWII. Look at the laws he signs. How can a president, who is a “citizen of the world” (as every Jewish person is supposed to be), sign a law on indigenous peoples of Ukraine? Russians are not listed among the indigenous peoples. How can a president who is not a racist sign and support laws that ban the Russian language not only in schools (which is ugly in and of itself), not only in education, but in everyday life as well? You cannot ask a pharmacist for medications in Russian. By the way, Crimea (which some people in the West worry so much about) has three state languages – Russian, Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian – which was never the case under Ukrainian rule. Any Russian citizen living in Crimea can come to any federal or local office and speak his or her native language, and they must answer them in the same language. The list goes on and on. I know that you go for catchy images and so you don’t have time to deal with the facts and really understand them. For once, spend at least 30 minutes to read what’s posted on the website of our Ministry, or on the website of the Russian Defence Ministry. I know that you will not be allowed to raise your voice. Yesterday, President of France Emmanuel Macron said that it was a lie to accuse Vladimir Zelensky and Ukraine of allowing Nazism to flourish. He got his answer already. However, the best answer came from his fellow citizen, a French journalist who visited Donbass and described the shelling of a school, the death of two women, two teachers who worked at that school, and she shamed the Western leaders who refuse to see it. Of course, she was not allowed to publish this, but her comment is still available on social media. I encourage you to learn about the facts rather than try to pretend that the same Hollywood “action movie” is unfolding according to the script about absolute evil and absolute good which was written by your colleagues.

Question (retranslated): Not so long ago we interviewed some European officials. They said NATO really did not want to expand eastward. Russia was not supposed to have any problems with this. Now such statements are no longer made. Why have these changes appeared and why were such Russian media as Sputnik and RT blocked in the EU? We are seeing disinformation from social and traditional media. What is your response to all this?

Sergey Lavrov: What is my response to all this? This fact is well known and cannot be concealed. The Soviet leadership and then the Russian leadership was reassured that NATO would not move to the east, that not a single piece of NATO’s military infrastructure would appear to the east of the Oder River. You know what happened afterwards. President Vladimir Putin has spoken about this many times. There were five consecutive waves of NATO expansion. Moreover, each time the rhetoric, military planning and exercises of this alliance became increasingly directed against the Russian Federation.

We have talked about this and explained it many times. But we did not see a response that would indicate NATO’s readiness to speak on equal grounds, based on respect for each other’s interests and concerns. I deliberately cited statements that were made at the highest level in the OSCE in Istanbul in 1999, in Astana in 2010 and the statements of the Russian and NATO leaders at the summit in Pratica di Mare in 2002. It was clearly said that nobody would enhance their security at the expense of the security of others and that not a single organisation in the Euro-Atlantic region had the right to claim domination in the OSCE space. NATO members are categorically refusing to honour both.

You have asked me a very good question: Why is this happening and why do they need to maintain this position? I see no other explanation but the stubborn, relentless desire to maintain their superiority in all areas and show everyone that it is NATO that is dictating orders in Europe. Now Yens Stoltenberg has said that NATO bears global responsibility for global security. So, all this talk about the defensive character of the Alliance is cheap talk, “in favour of the poor” as we say here. If the Alliance was defensive it would have had to defend itself by now. But nobody has ever attacked it. And yet the Alliance decided itself: Now we are defending ourselves along the conventional Berlin Wall. Then the Berlin Wall was gone – why don’t we defend ourselves somewhere else? Then they started moving eastward. Each time, they drew a defensive line independently and unilaterally. It has already approached the Russian Federation. This was explained many times. President Vladimir Putin explained this explicitly in his public statements and long conversations with Western leaders. When they speak with us at the bilateral level, they seem to show understanding, but something happens with them as soon as they get together. Apparently, what happens is that they are already ruled by the United States that is issuing orders and instructions to them. It’s sad. We remain open to a conversation. It is bound to start eventually anyway.

Everyone knows that a coup d’etat took place in Ukraine. It was not provoked by anything. It took place a day after the President and the opposition signed an agreement on early elections which the opposition was bound to win.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin asks his colleagues: Why did they stage this coup? If there had been no coup the afore-mentioned agreement would have been fulfilled. It wouldn’t have occurred to anyone to start an uprising in Crimea against the putschists. Crimea would have remained Ukrainian. We have said and explained all this.

But in the current situation we cannot tolerate this threat because Ukraine has been turned into “anti-Russia”, into a bridgehead for undermining everything Russian. This continued for a long time. This was part of a big geopolitical game. Do your remember Zbigniew Brzezinski said that Russia and Ukraine together were a superpower? I believe he also said that it necessary to make every use of Ukraine to undermine Russia’s interests, influence and culture. I’d like to emphasise that he urged his colleagues to use Ukraine to cause the collapse of the Russian Orthodox faith, which is now being actively done. President Petr Poroshenko started this line and President Vladimir Zelensky is doing much to support it. So, there is no lack of goodwill on our part but we cannot allow and will not tolerate continuous crude encroachments on our interests that create a physical threat to Russia’s security.

Question (retranslated from English): What is your assessment of the current situation after the talks with Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot say now what the situation will be like after the talks. The talks have not started yet. I believe the head of the delegation, who is holding talks with Ukraine, will make a statement as soon as they are completed. Then we will learn all about it.

Question (retranslated from English): Russia is isolated in the diplomatic arena, with only four countries having voted against the resolution calling on Russia to stop its military operation immediately. For perhaps the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO is united as never before. In diplomatic terms, it has been a fiasco, or a defeat for Russia, has it not?

Sergey Lavrov: That is for you to judge. I cannot judge my actions or my country’s actions. We are confident that we are doing the right thing.

I want to say again that it is bad, very bad that people are dying.

I am not thinking of a diplomatic fiasco but rather of the West’s “talent” for diplomacy. Thousands of people died – about 14,000 people died over the eight years of war in Donbass. Not a single person from your channel or any other media outlet in the West has ever thought of travelling to Donbass to see how people whom the Ukrainian regime declared terrorists, although they had never attacked anyone, live there. They were attacked and called terrorists. These people come under fire every day, civilians are killed there, schools and kindergartens are destroyed and acts of terrorism are committed.

If you choose what the West says as the criterion for your professional actions, then so be it. If you call those eight years of silence on the part of Western media and Western politicians and eight years of torpedoing the Minsk agreements, with the Ukrainian regime not only failing to implement the agreements but continuing to use force against civilians – if you call those eight years of choosing to ignore and remain silent a diplomatic triumph, that is your right. You represent an independent media outlet, as I understand. Russia has stood up for its interests and NATO, as you said, is finally united as never before. Has NATO sought to bring back the reason for justifying its existence? The reason vanished following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation. Later, it was Afghanistan. Recently, NATO has triumphantly pulled out of Afghanistan. However, this event failed yet again to provide motivation for uniting and keeping a tight rein on all allies. What strategic autonomy is President of France Emmanuel Macron talking about? Nobody will ever allow anyone to have strategic autonomy. The United States has already shown it clearly. This is, perhaps, the diplomatic triumph of the United States. But then I will not say who in Europe is suffering a diplomatic fiasco.

As for the arithmetic you mentioned, we know well what methods our Western colleagues use to achieve results like these: pure blackmail and arm-twisting. They tell all counties without exception and without mincing words: there will be voting and you must vote the way we tell you. They say this to officials in foreign countries who have accounts in the West and whose children study in universities in Western countries. Exactly like this, without ceremony. I know this because many of my friends tell me that such pressure is being put on them: “I’m sorry, we can’t vote differently, it is my life, and the life and well-being of my family.”  Yes, these methods are used to achieve a diplomatic triumph. My congratulations to you. However, the truth will out ultimately.

Again, I want to invite you to visit the Foreign Ministry website for irrefutable documentary evidence of what Ukrainian military and neo-Nazis were doing in Donbass and other parts of Ukraine. That is why we are not feeling political loneliness.

Question: Is the plan to bring back Viktor Yanukovych to power in Kiev? Is this the endgame for Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: Again, your question shows that you came to this interview without even reading through what President Vladimir Putin and I have said on multiple occasions. It is up to the Ukrainian people, or rather all the peoples living in multi-ethnic Ukraine, to decide on the future of Ukraine and on who should be their leader.

Question: I have a question about Polina Zakhodinskaya. She was in her final year of primary school. She was shot dead by the Russians as she was in her family car in Kiev on Saturday. Mr Lavrov, I know you have a daughter yourself. I want you to look me in the eye and just tell me how do you sleep at night knowing that Russian bombs and bullets are killing children?

Sergey Lavrov: I can’t add anything to what I have already said. Every human life is precious. Unfortunately, hostilities involve casualties, not only among the military, but also the civilians. Our servicemen participating in the special operation have a strict order to use only high-precision weapons to suppress the military infrastructure. Even the barracks with the Ukrainian military are not targeted.

I can only convey my condolences to the bereaved families.

Question: You say high precision is used, but hundreds of civilians have reportedly already died. This is now being investigated by the International Criminal Court. I wonder if you personally are preparing your defence in a war crimes tribunal?

Sergey Lavrov: You are keen on asking pointed questions, I’m sure you’ll have a big audience. You will charge this audience emotionally. As I understand, this is your job. This is not so much a media outlet as a tool for inculcating what Western leaders need into the people’s heads. I’m here to say it again: I do not justify any actions that result in civilian deaths.

We did not come up with the term “collateral damage.” Our Western colleagues came up with it during their reckless undertakings in Iraq, and before that in other countries such as Libya, and Latin America. Have you ever covered the developments in Iraq or Libya with the same emotional zeal? With hundreds of thousands of dead civilians? I can’t remember that. So, I regard your question as rhetorical.

Question: Yes, of course, this is my job, but you started this war, and Polina’s blood is on your hands, isn’t it, Mr Lavrov?

Sergey Lavrov: I prefer not to play these games. You’re acting as if it’s some kind of a talk show. If you want to know my position, I have outlined it in the most detailed way, including the humanitarian aspects of the ongoing operation.

I understand that you will cover all this the way you need to, but I want you to remember (probably, any journalist on a put-up mission still has a conscience), what you did during these eight years, when little girls, women, and older people were killed by the thousands in Donbass. The Ukrainian regime killed them. Go ahead and visit our Ministry website. I’d rather not take up your time with long stories. And if you are so worried (and rightly so) about the humanitarian consequences of any hostilities, it would be only fair if you looked at the chapters that you have so far preferred not to touch upon in your work.

Question: Russia has officially lost 500 soldiers in just one week of fighting, and other estimates are much, much higher. At this rate, we’re looking at one of the most costly campaigns in recent Russian history, far deadlier that Afghanistan or Chechnya, for example. The official message was that Russians would be welcomed with open arms, and that the Ukrainian army would lay down its weapons. What has gone wrong?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a subjective view. Yes, there are losses. There are always losses in such situations. But I have already spoken about this.

As for what has gone wrong, I don’t think you’re familiar with our plans, which are kept secret. They underlie the operations of our group which is implementing the special military operation on orders from President Putin. Yours is an abstract question.

I would like to point out that this situation cannot be considered separately from all the other developments, from the past 30 years that were full of various events in relations between Russia and the West, and between the West and the rest of the world, in particular the United States.

President Putin has said on numerous occasions that the threat has come right to our border. I don’t think it is a big secret that the Pentagon is seriously concerned about the chemical and biological facilities in Ukraine, where it has built two military biological laboratories that were creating pathogens, in Kiev and Odessa. They are worried now that they will lose control of these laboratories. At the same time, the Americans categorically refuse to establish a verification mechanism in keeping with the Biological Weapons Convention and continue to build its military biological facilities along the perimeter of the Russian Federation. Miliary bases were being built in Ukraine, including by the British, and many other things were taking place there. The CIA had an extensive presence there at all times.

The Ukrainian army was clearly not trained to fight against Poland. When similar events took place in Iraq, the United States announced that they were a threat to the US national security. Has anyone wondered why the US decided to restore order in a country 10,000 kilometres away? ­Nobody did, because this is arrogant great-power behaviour. When Russia pointed to the threat it was facing, we were told that there was no threat at all, and that we were safe.  They think that they can determine the conditions of our security when the threat is right on our border. We don’t interfere in situations 10,000 km from our borders to set things right according to “our rules.” What we are doing now is a forced decision, because they refused to listen to us and instead kept lying to us for the past 30 years.

There will probably come a time when we will need to come to an agreement, but we will only do this on the basis of the principle all sides have adopted:  not to strengthen one’s security at the expense of others’ security and not to claim dominance. Only an equitable dialogue. But our Western colleagues are not ready for this; they are playing at absolute good by grossly abusing diplomatic methods and by forcing small and medium-sized countries to carry out their orders. This happened in global history many times before. So, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions.

The operation is ongoing, and its goals have been stated clearly: the demilitarisation of Ukraine, which means that no weapons that can pose a threat to Russia must be deployed there at any time; the denazification of Ukraine, because the Nuremberg Trials’ verdict has not been reversed; and, of course, guarantees for Ukraine without its admission to NATO. President Putin has pointed out that NATO’s expansion is unacceptable to us, but we are ready to openly discuss security guarantees for Ukraine, for Europe and for the Russian Federation.

Question: Just to follow up on what you said on Russia’s demands. You said yesterday that Russia isn’t looking for Ukrainian capitulation. Are you now prepared to deal with Ukrainian President Zelensky? What exactly does he need to agree to to stop the fighting? Are you looking to take control of the whole of Ukraine before talks make any kind of progress? Does that mean the full destruction of the Ukrainian army?

Sergey Lavrov: No, that does not mean what you have referred to in such an emotional manner. Let me spell this out one more time for you. Despite all my efforts to explain this, I keep getting questions as if no one hears my answers. We are ready for talks. When President Vladimir Zelensky asked to hold talks, President Vladimir Putin immediately agreed and sent a delegation. After that Vladimir Zelensky changed his mind. Probably the Americans told him to slow down. Later they said that they were going to come. They were not there on the agreed day, however, and arrived only 24 hours later. We waited for them there. The talks took place. We communicated our negotiating position to our Ukrainian colleagues. They promised to come to this round of talks with their negotiating position. We are ready to talk, while continuing our operation, because we cannot allow Ukraine to retain infrastructure which poses a threat to the security of the Russian Federation.

We will see to it that the demilitarisation is carried out all the way through, meaning the destruction of infrastructure and weapons posing a threat to us. Even if a peace deal is signed, it will definitely include a provision to this effect.

Question: President of France Emmanuel Macron and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin are frequently in touch. Do you think President Macron and France have a special role to play for achieving a diplomatic solution?

Sergey Lavrov: France has quite a long-standing tradition of acting as a mediator in various conflicts. We remember President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped settle the situation which started with Mikheil Saakashvili’s criminal order to bomb peacekeepers and South Ossetia. We know that President of France Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor contributed proactively to creating the Normandy format. In fact, it is within its framework that the Minsk agreements were signed. These agreements were an important step in these efforts, but the story did not end there. With the Minsk agreements signed and approved by the UN Security Council, neither France nor Germany did anything to force Ukraine to fulfil them. On the contrary, they started saying that Ukraine does not have to carry them out and that it is up to the Russian Federation to do its part. They said that there must not be any direct dialogue between Kiev and Donetsk or between Kiev and Lugansk because this is all just for show, while the real “culprit” is the Russian Federation. We tried to bring our French and German partners to their senses and showed them the Minsk agreements and the UN Security Council resolutions saying that all key matters must be settled with Donetsk and Lugansk. This did not help.

I have already mentioned that President of France Emmanuel Macron has been quite proactive in his efforts. He has talked with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the phone quite a few times and visited Russia just recently. Another telephone conversation between them is underway at this very moment. If France succeeds in bringing about an agreement this time, this will only make us happy, as long as the agreement is based on principles approved by the OSCE and enshrined in international relations. However, yesterday President of France Emmanuel Macron said that statements on the spread of neo-Nazism in Ukraine are lies, as I have already mentioned. Hearing this from an ally… Don’t they see any parallels with what is happening in Ukraine regarding Jews and Russians: aggressive statements, torch processions and lots of violent crimes, including in Donbass. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is France’s partner within the Normandy format (which no longer exists, as far as I can see) said that it was ridiculous to describe what is happening in Ukraine as genocide. Hearing this from a German representative is not a very pleasant experience. If our German colleagues are unable to recognise these cues… Olaf Scholz has recently talked about the seriousness of the situation in Europe by claiming that they have not seen anything of this kind for 75 years. Does this mean that our German colleagues forgot or failed to notice how Yugoslavia was bombed, or maybe they just missed the whole thing?

You see, no matter where our discussion takes us, we always come across double standards. This absolute good our American colleagues are now trying to create with your assistance implies that you can do as you please: hand out guilty verdicts whenever you deem necessary and sweep under the carpet things you find inconvenient because of the direct involvement of the West, primarily the United States. I do understand that solidarity and allied relations are important for you, but this does not benefit the world or international relations in any way. What you are now trying to establish in the Russian Federation is a dictatorship without democracy, brotherhood, or equality of any kind.

Once again, we welcome the mediating efforts of President of France Emmanuel Macron. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has explained on multiple occasions our vision of settling the current situation.

Question: The European Union gives weapons to Ukraine. Do you consider this an act of war? Do you think there is a risk of sliding into a nuclear war?

Sergey Lavrov: It is not us who started the talk about a nuclear war. Conversations to this effect were started by your Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who urged President of Russia Vladimir Putin to keep in mind that France also had nuclear weapons, and by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, and by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said that, if necessary, they would deploy nuclear weapons even closer to the Russian Federation.  Foreign Secretary Liz Truss went on record as saying that she was ready for a war between NATO and Russia. This is the talk you are trying to use in a bid to accuse us of all this.  I reiterate: it is not us who bring up the subject of nuclear war, of a Third World War, in these discussions.  It is probably needed to keep the public in the West on tenterhooks, to continue fanning Russophobia until any Russian becomes a target for aggression. Students are expelled, performers are not allowed to perform, and athletes see their wings cut…  Among other things, this is a case of dishonest, dirty rivalry to make things easier in sports, arts, and other areas of human activity.  This is obscene. My great hope, therefore, is that our main partners will get past this madness. We will be ready to hold talks, but, as I said, solely in a business-like, pragmatic, and equitable manner. If they hope that the world will be different after what is going on now and that Russia will keep its head down and obey the diktat, they are up for a great disappointment. They should remember Russian history.

Question: One of my colleagues mentioned the results of voting on the General Assembly’s resolution. You are certainly familiar with these results. You must also be familiar with how the Security Council voted. Given this attitude towards Russia’s current approach, do you think Russia’s foreign policy priorities, its development vectors might change in any way, maybe switch gears? So far, no security guarantees have been provided by the West. We have heard from you many times how important this is. Do you think the campaign Moscow has launched in Ukraine will result in some kind of security guarantees provided to Russia by the West?

Sergey Lavrov: All conflicts end in agreements, so this isn’t up to us. Our approach is well known. No one has listened to us for 30 years. The West is perfectly aware of our concerns. Endlessly ignoring them with such arrogance has not worked and will not work. Only naive people could have thought otherwise.

As to switching gears – we are ready to work in all areas where there is mutual readiness to do business based on a balance of interests. I can assure you that those countries that have banned their companies from operating in the Russian Federation did so under enormous pressure. They are saying now they are prepared to suffer, as soon as this can “teach Russia a lesson.” Even the Deputy Director of the US National Economic Council said the United States would like to avoid a sharp rise in oil prices because it would benefit Russia. Do you understand? Not because fuel prices at gas stations would rise, American voters would not be happy about the inconvenience and would be dissatisfied with their government – but because it would benefit Russia. Their minds only work one way – how to punish Russia as much as possible. Indeed, this affects both the economy and the social sphere. I assure you that we will deal with whatever problems the West creates for us out of its determination (I emphasise once again – not to ensure their own security, this isn’t about the security of the West at all) to use Ukraine as a tool and a pretext to prevent Russia from pursuing an independent policy. There are few countries left on Earth that can afford such a luxury. Sanctions are a tax on independence, if you like.

Returning to your second question about security guarantees, I have quite enjoyed rereading an article that John Mearsheimer, a professor at University of Chicago, wrote in September 2014 after the events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. He said the West was steering Ukraine along the path of false expectations towards an imminent crash. “The United States and its allies should abandon their plan to westernise Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer” and boost its economy. Ukraine doesn’t have to be caught in the middle, between Russia and NATO. That would be the best option for Ukrainians. But instead, we are inciting Ukraine to gang up on the Russians. We are enticing Ukraine with the idea that one day, the country will become part of the West, and we will defeat Putin. And things will be just as we want them. And time is on our side. Well, Ukrainians are happy to play this game of course. And they no longer want to compromise with the Russians. On the contrary, they want to take a tough stance. Well, if they do, it won’t end well for them. What we are doing now is provoking just such an outcome. I believe it would make much more sense to create a neutral Ukraine. It is in the US interests to end this crisis as quickly as possible. It is in Russia’s best interests as well. And most of all, it is in Ukraine’s best interests.

He wrote this seven and a half years ago and published it in Foreign Affairs. A very authoritative and respected publication the White House and the Department of State listen to. Yet, apparently, this time it was not heard. I am sure that the White House and the American leadership are aware of this opinion. But alternatives are simply ignored because the real aim is different. Their aim is not to protect Ukraine’s security while relying on a balance of interests of Ukraine, the United States and Russia. It is to demonise and finish off the Russian Federation. This was the original goal. Now, unfortunately, there are no doubts left.

Thank you all, colleagues. I understand your emotions, but journalism involves juxtaposing facts. I invite you again to visit the Foreign Ministry website.

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