LPR, DPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye vote for reunification with Russia

Sep 28 2022 00:15

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

All four regions have said their word; they voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia.

A woman voting in a referendum

The results of the referenda on the accession of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to the country, have been released by Moscow.

The head of the regional electoral committee Galina Katyushchenko declared that 93.11% of voters supported reunification with Russia, as 100% of ballots have been counted in the Zaporozhye Region.

Lugansk People’s Republic

In the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), 98.42% of voters backed accession to Russia, as per the head of the regional electoral committee, Elena Kravchenko.

“With 100% of the protocols of precinct commissions processed, 98.42% voted for the republic’s entry into the Russian Federation,” Kravchenko said.

Kherson

In the Kherson region, 87.05% of voters supported reunification with Russia, according to the head of the regional election commission, Marina Zakharova.

“A total of 497,051 (87.05%) participants in the referendum answered ‘Yes’ to the question put forward at the referendum ‘Are for the withdrawal of the Kherson region from Ukraine, the formation of an independent state by the Kherson region and its entry into the Russian Federation as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation?'” she said.

Donetsk People’s Republic

With all referenda counted, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) reported 99.23% of voters in favor of becoming part of Russia.

There were 2,133,326 voters who voted, accounting for 97.51% of the total number of voters, as per the DPR central election commission.

Meanwhile, more than a hundred foreign observers from 40 countries, excluding specialists from Russia, attending the referenda in the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, as well as in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, on joining the Russian Federation, reported no violations, with the exception of threats and shelling from Ukraine.

The voting in the referenda of DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye, and Kherson’s accession to the Russian Federation has begun early on Friday.

Residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson areas joined the initiative last Tuesday after local public organizations submitted identical demands to their authorities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lately indicated in a televised address last Wednesday that Russia will support the referenda results.

NATO countries came together to condemn the referenda, according to a statement revealed last Thursday.

On his account, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has lately threatened Russia with new sanctions in the event of referenda after White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the US condemned the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye, and Kherson referenda to join Russia as “sham” actions and asserted that the US would not recognize the results.

The referenda, according to Sullivan, and a reported Russian plan to mobilize more soldiers, reflect Moscow’s recent military defeats, including ceding sizable amounts of land to the Ukrainian military.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military took control of the Azov part of Zaporozhye and Kherson, liberating large cities, such as Kherson, Melitopol, and Berdiansk, and cutting off Kiev from the Sea of Azov.

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Over 90 percent of voters favor joining Russia: Reports

Social Movement calls for a referendum on joining Russia

September 20, 2022 

Source: Agencies

A view shows the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power. (REUTERS)

By Al Mayadeen English 

The chairman of Social Movement, Vladimir Rogov, called on the head of the Zaporozhye region Yevhen Balytskyi to promptly hold the referendum on joining Russia.

At a congress of Zaporozhye region citizens, Rogov said: “Let’s not just make a decision together today, but demand that the decision made earlier be finally implemented.” 

Earlier today, the civic chamber of the Kherson region asked Volodymyr Saldo, the regional head, to promptly hold a referendum on joining Russia, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

Earlier this week, the Public Chamber of the Lugansk People’s Republic comes out with an initiative to hold a referendum on the accession of the Lugansk People’s Republic to Russia immediately,” the statement read.

The republic’s accession to Russia will ensure its security and open up new possibilities for the post-war revival, the LPR Public Chamber said.

“We think it is high time to pass a strong-willed decision to hold a referendum in the Lugansk People’s Republic immediately,” the statement added, noting that the people of the LPR would widely support the accession to Russia and consider it a “triumph of historic justice.”

“Moreover, it will ensure the security of the republic’s territory, open up new possibilities on a path of the revival and restoration of the strength of our land, its return to a peaceful life.”

A referendum to join Russia 

It is worth noting that since the beginning of the war, the Russian military took control of the Azov part of Zaparozhye and Kherson, liberating large cities such as Kherson, Melitopol, and Berdiansk, as well as cutting off Kiev from the Sea of Azov.

Kherson and Zaparozhye had new administrations formed in them, with Russian TV channels and radio stations broadcasting there and trade and transport ties with Crimea being restored. Both regions have announced plans to become part of Russia.

Read next: Zaporozhye referendum set for September: Official

The Kherson Region in Ukraine is set to hold a referendum to become a full-fledged entity of the Russian Federation, according to the deputy head of the region’s military-civilian administration, Kirill Stremousov in July. 

“The Kherson Region will forget about neo-Nazism already in the near future. We are getting ready for the referendum, we will hold it. I hope that in the near future already we will become a full-fledged territorial entity of the Russian Federation,” Kirill Stremousov said in a video published on his Telegram channel.

US specialists behind attack on Kherson

The Ukrainian armed forces fired a barrage of missiles at Kherson on September 10, which targeted a highly important hydropower plant, the district administration said.

“No visible hits by Ukrainian missiles were reported in the city. The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was one of the usual targets,” the administration said on social media. 

The power plant’s significance stems from the fact that it supplies the entire district with electricity while providing for the irrigation of large areas of southern Ukraine and Crimea. The district authorities said the Russian air defenses fired at 14 missiles.

Read next: IAEA to issue report on mission to Zaporozhye, Kiev strikes ZNPP again

Moreover, US specialists were behind the attacks launched by Ukrainian forces against the Kherson Region using the US-supplied multiple rocket launcher HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), according to deputy head of the Kherson regional military-civil administration Kirill Stremousov.

Ukrainian troops attacked the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric power station and the Antonovsky Bridge in July, which spans the Dnieper River in Kherson Region. Air defense shot down at least a dozen HIMARS missiles used in the attacks.

“It is not Ukrainian nationalists who are behind the shelling of the Antonovsky bridge. These are specific actions of the Americans. American specialists who have arrived in Ukraine are firing at the bridge,” Stremousov told Sputnik, adding that the bridge will be restored in any case, military and civil engineers are already working on it.

Ukrainian troops have shelled Kherson’s residential districts using US-supplied multiple rocket launcher HIMARS to target the city of Nova Kakhovka. As a result, a hospital and several residential buildings were damaged, and several people died.

Ramzan Kadyrov Forms Brand New ‘Akhmat Regiment’ Within the Russian Defense Ministry

July 21, 2022

Translated by Leo V.

Ramzan Kadyrov Forms a New Regiment

National units are a long tradition of the Russian Army.

Original link:

https://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2022-07-14/5_1197_tradition.html

Article by Sergei Kozlov, a military historian and Soviet-Afghan War Veteran.

In relation to the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov demonstrates a solid patriotic position. And he personally oversees the activities of the national Chechen units of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardiya) operating in Ukraine.

These units, which are often called special forces, perform the corresponding tasks: cleaning occupied territories, protecting the rear and communication between the Russian Army and the People’s Militias of the DPR and LPR.

They Showed Themselves in Battle

These units include: OMON “Akhmat-Grozny”, the 249th Separate Special Motorized Battalion “South”, the 46th Separate Brigade of Operational Purpose of the Rosgvardiya, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment of the Rosgvardiya named after Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov (formerly known as “North” Battalion) and the SOBR “Akhmat”.

OMON “Akhmat-Grozny” is by far the oldest structure that operated during the first and second Chechen campaigns. In total, there are about 30 thousand people in the units.

Since these are not army units, but units of the Russian National Guard, all of them (except for the 141st Special Motorized unit) are armed only with small arms and light equipment. The 141st Regiment has combat equipment on staff.

Participating in Mariupol and Volnovakha, in the battles for Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, Chechen armed formations demonstrated a high level of discipline, field training and the will to win, achieving significant results.

Special Upbringing of Men

Information about the fighting of Chechen units regularly reaches the residents of Chechnya and causes pride among young people. At the same time, attention should be paid to the upbringing of Chechen youth, which explains the patriotic impulse among conscripts. The boy is initially brought up there as a warrior, as a man.

I remember how in 1985, a batch of young recruits arrived in our detachment in Kandahar, and among them four guys from Chechnya. Many officers were wary of them. But I selected two of the newcomers to my group and never regretted it.

One was a gunner-operator in my vehicle, and the second was a squad commander, he later became my deputy.

Of course, there are national peculiarities that need to be taken into account in communication. These people will never respect the boss just because of the position they hold. You need to prove that you really deserve respect – and then you will not find more reliable and loyal subordinates! I succeeded. The newcomers did not study in the training regiment for Spetsnaz in Pechora, but were trained in ordinary infantry training schools. But in spirit they were special forces, and they fought excellently and fearlessly.

And this is not an exception, but rather the rule. Which was later confirmed by the soldiers of the Zapad (West) Battalion, which was formed in 2003 by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (the 305th Separate Spetsnaz Detachment) and supervised by him. The battalion was commanded by Said-Magomed Kakiyev, Hero of Russia. A man of boundless courage and devotion. And the soldiers were a match for the commander. There was not a single former militant in the squad. Everyone fought against Dudayev’s regime from the very beginning.

A little later, the Vostok (East) Battalion was created under the command of Sulim Yamadayev. But in 2008, it was disbanded and the “North” and “South” Battalions were created. They became the basis for modern formations of the Rosgvardiya.

In August of the same 2008, Chechen units distinguished themselves during the operation to force Georgia to peace.

Historical Experience

The Russian Army has a wealth of experience in creating national, or, as previously said, native formations.

So, on August 23, 1914, at the beginning of the First World War, the Caucasian Native Cavalry Division was created. It was staffed by 90% Muslims – natives of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. According to the laws of the Russian Empire, these people were not subject to military service. But being volunteers, they enlisted in the ranks of national formations.

The division fought bravely on the Southwestern Front since November 1914, its merits are great. In 1916 alone, the division conducted 16 mounted attacks. In general, the entire division accounts for the number of prisoners, four times its composition.

There is an important nuance that should be paid attention to now. As the witnesses of those events write, there was a special moral and psychological atmosphere in the division, which largely determined the relationship between its officers and riders. An important feature of the highlander rider was a sense of self-esteem and a complete absence of servility and sycophancy. Above all, it was not ranks and titles that were valued, but personal bravery and loyalty. This is confirmed by my personal observations.

And one more interesting fact. At first, the Muslims of the division were awarded St. George’s Crosses for distinction in battle, where instead of St. George, the coat of arms of the Russian Empire was depicted so as not to infringe on the feelings of the faithful. But after a while, the mountaineers demanded to be given the same awards as Christians. After all, there was a picture of dzhigit George on a horse, and not a “chicken”, as they called the coat of arms.

Following the Traditions of the Ancestors

Thus, it can be argued that the Russian Army has a long tradition of creating national units in the North Caucasus. The competent national policy pursued by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief makes it possible to use this force more widely and effectively. After all, in mid-March 2022, according to Kadyrov, a thousand volunteers went to Ukraine. At the beginning of April, another thousand, in May 600 more volunteers left for the war.

The Spetsnaz training center established in Gudermes has been training not only special forces fighters, but also has been training volunteers for months. Moreover, volunteers who specially come from all over Russia to get trained and go to war. And they are fighting as part of national units.

So don’t be surprised when you see a soldier of absolutely Slavic appearance who proudly shouts: “Akhmat – power!”

Akhmat Regiment

Now the formation of new battalions is beginning in Chechnya. But not from volunteers from all over the country and not on the basis of the Russian National Guard, but exclusively from citizens of the republic and as part of the Ministry of Defense. In total, it is planned to create four battalions under the general name “Akhmat”. According to the staffing size, we can say that the Motorized Rifle Regiment “Akhmat” is being formed, which will include the battalions: “North-Akhmat”, “South-Akhmat”, “West-Akhmat” and “East-Akhmat”.

The composition of a modern motorized rifle battalion, depending on the state, may include management and headquarters, three motorized rifle companies on either BMPs or BTRs, a tank company, one or two artillery batteries, a mortar battery, an anti-air defense platoon, an anti-tank platoon, communications platoons, reconnaissance platoons, an engineering platoon and a logistics platoon.

In order for the units to become a real force, careful training of both individual soldiers and units as a whole is needed. According to Ramzan Kadyrov, the places of formation, smoothing and training of two battalions on the territory of the republic have already been determined, bases will be deployed in Khankala for two more.

“Together with the Chairman of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, Magomed Daudov, I visited the inner-city village of Khankala to inspect a potential building that is to be converted to the needs of two battalions being formed. An approximate location has already been chosen for the first two groups,” Kadyrov said.

The Head of the republic instructed the members of the government to prepare design and estimate documentation, to bring the necessary communications and to asphalt the roadway leading to the territory of the facility.

For the education and training of the military, all amenities are provided, starting with comfortable living and staff quarters and ending with football, volleyball, tennis and sports grounds. There will be a parade ground and a shooting range, the entire surrounding area will be equipped.

Selection of Officers

An important success factor is the competent selection of officers.

It is assumed that for the new battalions they will try to select Chechen officers who are already serving in the ranks of the Russian Army. But they may also be officers of other nationalities. Just as many officers of the Cossack army served in the Native Division at the beginning of the last century.

Special work will be required with candidates for command positions. They are obliged to study the national characteristics of the Chechen people in order to understand their subordinates. To earn their trust and respect, an officer must show that he is better, more professional, stronger and braver than his subordinates. Only then will they follow him into fire and water. At the same time, the officer must know and respect national customs.

For example, mountain customs were strong in the regiments of the [First World War] Native Division: respect for elders, hospitality, etc. This left its mark on life and service in the division.

The guests in the units of the division were welcomed as at home in the Caucasus. The young officer showed respect to his older riders – especially at a rest area, during their break. Contrary to the charter, but according to mountain customs.

It seems to me that it is appropriate to send candidates for the positions of commanders to Chechnya, where they, communicating with the residents, would study local traditions. And as commanders, they could subsequently correctly apply their power to subordinates.

For example, in the Native Division of the 1914 model, newly accepted volunteers made a solemn promise to serve throughout the war. For misconduct, a volunteer could be dismissed from the service. In this case, he lost his shoulder straps in front of the formation, his offense was reported to his native village, benefits were collected from him, weapons and uniforms were taken away. Those dismissed in this way were permanently deprived of the right to hold any elected positions.

In a combat situation, the Native Division proved to be strong, distinguished by high discipline and did not have a single case of desertion before the February Revolution.

The use of such educational techniques will help to form and prepare a new combat-ready unit in a short time. Which is what I sincerely desire for their command, and personally to Ramzan Kadyrov.

Government-Funded CBC Smears Me. Interview With Maverick Media: “CBC Fake News: Hit Piece Targets Journalists (Eva Bartlett)”

 

Eva Bartlett

Government-Funded CBC Smears Me. Interview With Maverick Media: “CBC Fake News: Hit Piece Targets Journalists (Eva Bartlett)”

Rick Walker had me back on his show (listen to our previous conversation about Ukraine’s kill list), this time to discuss CBC’s deceitful, unprofessional, lie-based, smear piece on me.

In the interview, I note how disingenuous the entire piece is, from moment of emailing me to request an interview (no thanks, not interested! I know how corporate hacks roll.); how they intentionally omitted any mention of Ukraine’s kill list, which I am on and which Rick Walker & colleagues specifically contacted the CBC about; their deceitful framing of my journalism (on the ground in the Donbas under Ukrainian bombing) as me being a duped “frontline soldier” in Russian researcher and journalist, Maxim Grigoriev (who I know and respect)’s plot to frame Ukraine as being overrun with Nazis (it is) and committing war crimes (Ukraine & its Nazis are)…and more, including the things CBC omits: Ukraine’s bombing of the DPR & LPR, targeting civilians, apartments, hospitals, schools, city streets, rescuers, etc…

CBC thinks its viewers are idiots, clearly.

I’d like to note, however, that since the smear, I’ve gotten many supportive emails, messages and comments, and an increase in people who ask to support me financially. So, thanks, CBC, and more importantly, thank all of you who support in any manner.

I’ll put related links at the bottom of this post.

Please see also:

My Twitter thread deconstructing the CBC smear:

Karin Brothers’ excellent open letter to the CBC

Some Thoughts On Journalism:

As I wrote in a rebuttal to a Guardian smear, “Addressing “the propaganda that is so often disguised as journalism, ”award-winning journalist and film maker, John Pilger, said (emphasis added):

Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It’s a history few journalists talk about or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertising.

As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called ‘professional journalism’ was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectablepillars of the establishmentobjectiveimpartialbalanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalists. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media.

The whole thing was entirely bogus. For what the public didn’t know, was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources. And that hasn’t changed. Go through the New York Times on any day, and check the sources of the main political stories, domestic and foreign, and you’ll find that they’re dominated by governments and other establishment interests. That’s the essence of professional journalism.

On a publicly-shared Facebook post, journalist Stephen Kinzer wrote:

“I happen to agree with Eva’s take on Syria, but from a journalist’s perspective, the true importance of what she does goes beyond reporting from any single country. She challenges the accepted narrative–and that is the essence of journalism. Everything else is stenography. Budding foreign correspondents take note!!”

In a later interview with Kinzer, he told me:

“The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative. So many people in the American press who write about the world are merely stenographers. The great qualification you need for a journalist is the confidence to go out and see for yourself, and believe that your eyes are actually telling you more than press releases from some other country.

It’s amazing to see how many people have built reputations as commentators on foreign countries and world affairs who have never been there, have no idea, beyond vague tropes, of what those countries are. The intellectual laziness of the American press in covering the world has never been as extreme as it is now. It’s just as dangerous in most what’s called NATO countries to be contradicting the narrative as it is in the United States.”

Author Maximilian Forte recently wrote:

“Regime media may call themselves “news media,” but there is next to no actual journalism involved in their work. In that spirit, students at contemporary Canadian schools of “journalism” are in fact being trained in the methods of policing restive subjects with “unacceptable views”. Embracing “advocacy,” they have degenerated into mere practitioners of propaganda whose ultimate aim is the reproduction of the ideas of the ruling faction of the regime.

Regime media’s public scripts involve a regression to some of the most outmoded forms of propaganda seen since World War I. Their work involves a classically crude command structure: they tell people what to think, plain and simple. Then they tell people what to think about, and here the agenda-setting is particularly exclusive…”

RELATED LINKS:

Far-right extremists in Ukrainian military bragged about Canadian training, report says

Canadian officials who met with Ukrainian unit linked to neo-Nazis feared exposure by news media: documents

Fears that Canadian training mission in Ukraine may unintentionally help neo-Nazis groups

Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine

Twitter thread on various Nazi groups in Ukraine

UN admitted Ukraine’s guilt in the terrorist attack on the Starokrasnyansky home for the elderly

Maxim Grigoriev Telegram

MY REPORTS ON ISRAELI MASSACRE OF GAZA 2008/2009

-THE DOUMA CHEMICAL HOAX

Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoax

Chrystia Freeland’s granddad was indeed a Nazi collaborator – so much for Russian disinformation

Minister Freeland’s Grandfather, Michael Chomiak, the Nazi’s Top Ukrainian Propagandist

Ukraine’s most-feared volunteers – BBC News

UK Newspaper Hides Ukraine Truth in Plain Sight

‘An act of genocide’: A witness recalls the 2014 Odessa massacre

https://t.me/InfoDefenseEn/270

Eight Years Ago, The May 2014 Odessa Massacre: How Neo-Nazi Thugs Supported by Kiev Regime Killed Odessa Inhabitants: Photographic Evidence

Survivor of 2014 Odessa Massacre Reflects Back on Tragedy

“Nazism Has Penetrated All Spheres Of Society.” Former Ukrainian Security Officer Speaks:

‘This is a war of propaganda’: John Pilger on Ukraine

Daniel Kovalik: Why Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is legal under international law

Anti-Russian Ukrainian acts

I Was Arrested by Israel For Protesting Illegal Roadblock

Tear Gassed At Close Range in Bil’in Under Israeli Fire

Protesting Jewish-Only Highway in Occupied West Bank, Occupied Palestine

Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when TERRORISTS really destroy Syrian hospitals, they are silent

Ukraine Continues Killing Children in The Donetsk People’s Republic, Including With Western Weapons:

-Brian Berletic, The New Atlas

https://t.me/brianlovethailand

*Previous conversation with Rick of Maverick Media:

Sitrep Operation Z0V: Back to Hot Steel Rain

July 14, 2022

Source

By Saker Staff

The Ukraine conflict is in fact already a world war, given that the West is fighting Russia via its proxies in Kiev, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told local media on Wednesday.

Serbian President Vucic: “I know what awaits us. As soon as Vladimir Putin has done his work in Seversk, Bakhmut and Soledar, after reaching the second line Slaviansk-Kramatorsk-Avdeevka, he will come up with a proposal. And if they [the West] don’t accept it, – and they won’t – all hell will break loose.”

On the Hot Front

The situation in the Soledar direction as of 12.00 on July 14, 2022
🔻On the Seversk front:
Units of the Allied forces are fighting on the outskirts of Verkhnekamenskoye with the aim of reaching the eastern outskirts of Seversk.
Clashes continue in the vicinity of Ivano-Dariivka, taking the settlement and the station is important for reaching Seversk from the south, as well as cutting the road to Soledar.
🔻On the Soledar front:
Soldiers of the 6th Cossack regiment of the LPR took the settlements of Novaya Kamenka and Stryapovka, reaching the eastern outskirts of Soledar.
Units of the Allied Forces are fighting in Yakovlevka.
The units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are entrenched in the eastern part of Berestovoye on the Soledar — Lisichansk highway.
🔻On the Bakhmut front:
Russian forces are fighting near the village of Pokrovskoye. Together with the nearby Bakhmutsky, they are the last settlements controlled by the AFU on the approaches to Bakhmut from the east.

We have a naming problem from time to time.  With translations, the names of the villages and areas frequently get mistranslated.  (Eg. Kharkov in Russian, is Kharkiv in Ukrainian, and Ilium in Russian translates to ‘Raisins’ in English machine translations).

So, for those struggling to follow, let’s repeat two simple maps for orientation:

Overview

Oblasts

Yes, the front line is on fire.  As we’ve seen before, there is a lot of quiet time, positional battles, rest and relaxation for soldiers and then hell breaks loose.

On the broader front (please note the correct channel for the Russian Mod in English – https://t.me/mod_russia_en and in Russian  https://t.me/mod_russia)

⚡️Russian Defence Ministry report on the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine

▫️The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue the special military operation in Ukraine. The enemy suffers significant losses.

💥High-precision strikes near Bereznegovatoye, Nikolaev Region, Konstantinovka and Kramatorsk, Donetsk People’s Republic, hit temporary deployment points of units of 35th Marine Brigade, 54th Mechanized Brigade, 81st Airmobile Brigade and 109th Territorial Defence Brigade. As a result of strikes, the total losses of these formations amounted up to 1,000 personnel and more than 100 pieces of military equipment.

💥High-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit temporary deployment point of 14th Mechanized Brigade battalion manned by nationalists and foreign mercenaries near Chasov Yar, Donetsk People’s Republic. The attacks have resulted in the destruction of 43 militants and about 170 injured.

🚁💥Russian army aviation hit temporary deployment point of 97th Battalion of 60th Mechanized Brigade of AFU near Malaya Tokmachka, Zaporozhye Region, with high-precision missiles. The attacks have resulted in the destruction of 30 militants and about 37 injured.

▫️Conflicts and clashes with the use of weapons have increased among nationalist fighters. On July 13, more than 200 fighters of the 226th Kraken nationalist formation refused to follow the command’s order to move to the Kramatorsk area and claimed a “transfer” to the Kharkov city’ territorial defence. During the ensuing fight with the commanders and the ensuing gunfight, 6 militants were killed.

▫️Russian Armed Forces continue strikes against military facilities in Ukraine.

💥High-precision sea-based Kalibr missiles destroyed multiple rocket launcher vehicles of 45th Artillery Brigade of AFU hidden in hangars at the high voltage equipment plant in Zaporozhye city.

💥In addition, high-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed 4 command posts, including those of 61st Infantry Jaeger Brigade of AFU near Bereznegovatoye in Nikolaev Region and 80th Airborne Assault Brigade near Kramatorsk, 3 ammunition depots near Soledar, Tat’yanovka in Donetsk People’s Republic and Nikolaev, 1 fuel storage facility for military equipment near Kharkov, and 21 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration.

💥As part of the counter-battery fighting, 1 battery of multiple rocket launchers near Slavyansk, 1 platoon of MLRS near Nikolaevka in Donetsk People’s Republic, and 1 artillery platoon of US-made M-777 howitzers at firing positions in Pervomaiskyi in Kharkov Region were destroyed.

💥Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery hit 19 command posts, 78 areas of artillery units in firing positions and 232 areas of AFU manpower and military equipment concentration.

✈️💥Russian Aerospace Forces fighters have shot down 2 aircraft of Ukrainian air force in the air: 1 Su-24 near Slavyansk and 1 MiG-29 near Troitskoye, Donetsk People’s Republic.

💥Russian air defence means destroyed 12 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Balakleya, Izyum, Lozovaya, Shchurovka in Kharkov Region, Snegirevka, Novaya Kakhovka in Kherson Region, Belogorovka, Karmazinovka, Slavyanoserbsk, Mikhailovka in Lugansk People’s Republic and Derilovo in Donetsk People’s Republic.

💥In addition, 2 Tochka-U ballistic missiles and 6 rockets of Uragan multiple-launch rocket system were intercepted near Novaya Kakhovka in Nikolaev Region.

📊In total, 249 Ukrainian airplanes and 137 helicopters, 1,534 unmanned aerial vehicles, 354 anti-aircraft missile systems, 4,050 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 744 multiple launch rocket systems, 3,145 field artillery and mortars, as well as 4,292 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.

The Nikolaev Ukrop base now looks like this:

Yet, another shelling of Donetsk Center has just happened.  Here is the video:  https://t.me/russianhead/5253?single

https://t.me/russianhead/5253?embed=1

Military summary at the end of day yesterday starts with, The Worst Nightmare for the Ukrainians has Started.

We remain with questions:

What is Mr Putin going to do in Iran next week in his talks with Raisi and Erdogan?

and, can we take Vucic seriously?

Serbian President Vucic: “I know what awaits us. As soon as Vladimir Putin has done his work in Seversk, Bakhmut and Soledar, after reaching the second line Slaviansk-Kramatorsk-Avdeevka, he will come up with a proposal. And if they [the West] don’t accept it, – and they won’t – all hell will break loose.”

Are we reaching an end phase of this part of the SMO?

Ukrainian propaganda is in full voice and that includes western propaganda.  Keep ‘yer eyes peeled.  Take in Larry Johnson’s latest:  “The speed of Russia’s advance appears to be accelerating. There are reports today that Russian forces are entering the outskirts of Seversk, one of the key strong points of the new Ukrainian defensive line. If true, the Russians are likely to achieve a strategic breakthrough in the Donetsk. What the gullible reporters and the morons who staff the CIA and DIA fail to comprehend is that Russia’s tactic of systematically destroying the air, armor and artillery assets over the past three months appears to have achieved Clausewitz’s culminating point–i.e., the point at which a military force is no longer able to perform its operations.” https://sonar21.com/western-media-and-military-analysts-still-dazed-and-confused/

Sergey Lavrov: Presser following talks with Vladimir Makei, Belarus

July 02, 2022

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei following talks, Minsk, June 30, 2022

Esteemed Mr Makei,
Ladies and gentlemen,
As my colleague and friend has just said, our talks took place in a truly friendly atmosphere of trust and were very substantial, as they should be between allies and strategic partners. First, I would like to thank our Belarusian friends once again for their traditional hospitality in the wonderful city of Minsk and for the brilliant, streamlined organisation of our work.

The visit is timed to an important historical date – 30 years of diplomatic relations (June 25). Of course, this is just one more, albeit important, landmark in the centuries-old history of our truly fraternal nations. To mark this occasion, we have just cancelled postal envelopes specially issued for this date and signed an anniversary joint statement that I hope you will read. It is worth it.

We emphasised that in the past few years we have traversed a long road in developing our integration. The foreign ministries of Russia and Belarus provide diplomatic support for implementing 28 union economic integration programmes endorsed by the Supreme State Council of the Union State in November 2021.
Today, we reviewed topical bilateral issues. We also discussed the schedule of forthcoming contacts, including preparations for a joint meeting of the foreign ministry collegiums of Russia and Belarus, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. We reviewed implementation of the plan for foreign ministry consultations in 2022-2023.

We believe we have managed to achieve remarkable success in trade, and economic and investment cooperation. Last year, bilateral trade reached about $40 billion. Major joint projects, such as, for example, the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, are underway. Industrial cooperation is on the up and up, paving the way for new industrial and logistics chains.

We have a high opinion of the vigorous and broad development of interregional ties. Today, the 9th Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions is to kick off in Grodno, where contracts worth an estimated $1 billion, a record-high amount, are expected to be signed.

We spoke at length about regional and international matters and agreed to continue enhancing foreign policy coordination and stand up together for the interests of our two countries in the world arena, in keeping with the two-year programmes on coordinating our actions in foreign policy.

We supported further steps towards more active cooperation in multilateral associations, primarily, in the EAEU, CSTO and the CIS. We have almost identical views on how Eurasian cooperation should develop in the future.

We agreed that we would also continue to coordinate our approaches in other multilateral formats, first and foremost, at the UN and the OSCE. We discussed the progress on the projects that are being carried out in Belarus under the auspices of the United Nations, many of which are being funded by the Russian side. We will vigorously continue to oppose any attempts to politicise human rights issues. We see hopeless attempts like this being made at the UN and the OSCE. The West keeps making them with enviable persistence.

We are seriously concerned about NATO’s activities in close vicinity to our borders, primarily in the Baltic states and Poland. We share the opinion that these activities are openly confrontational and tend to lead to more tensions, as well as the division of the European security and cooperation space, that is, they are producing the results which the establishment of the OSCE was supposed to help prevent. Now they are dismantling all this with their own hands, waiving, among other things, the principle of indivisible security, which was publicly declared at the highest level in the OSCE in the late 1990s and in 2010, when it was said that no country should enhance its security at the expense of others. The West’s actions have buried this principle.

In the light of the manifestly unfriendly steps taken by the United States and its satellites towards our countries, we reaffirmed that we are firmly determined to further preclude any attempts by the West to interfere in our domestic affairs. We agreed to continue to join efforts to oppose illegitimate unilateral actions by Washington, Brussels and their allies in the international arena.

We advised our colleagues of our assessments of the special military operation in Ukraine. We maintain regular dialogue on these issues. Our presidents discussed this topic at a top-level meeting in St Petersburg on June 25.

We are grateful to our Belarusian allies for completely understanding the causes, goals and tasks of the special military operation. President Vladimir Putin discussed these issues in his remarks yesterday concerning the results of the Caspian Five Summit in Ashgabat.

We focused on biological security, while exchanging opinions on strategic stability and arms control. We agree that US activities on post-Soviet space are quite dangerous and non-transparent. The activities of Pentagon’s biolabs in Ukraine highlight the risks they bear. We exposed these facts but failed to obtain a US response. 

[Biological Security] … we initiated a process, stipulated by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention …

We sent inquiries to countries, parties to this important international treaty. We perceive threats to the national security of Russia and Belarus, the reluctance of the United States to ensure the transparency of its military-biological activities in many countries on post-Soviet space, primarily those around Russia and Belarus. We have an agreement, within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, to establish close and transparent interaction on these issues, in order to counter attempts to advance such projects (that cause concern in our countries) behind the scenes and without due transparency.

We are also cooperating in order to counter the dirty information war unleashed by the collective West against our countries. We agreed to expand and upgrade Russian-Belarusian media cooperation, and you should be particularly interested in this issue.

We are satisfied with the results of the talks. They help advance our foreign policy coordination still further on the basis of allied and strategic partnership for the benefit of our countries and fraternal nations.

Question:  A risky redivision of the world’s energy sector is taking place. What are the United States and the EU counting on, while renouncing Russian imports?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that everyone understands what they are counting on. They have no misgivings about openly discussing this issue. They noted this once again yesterday, at the NATO summit in Madrid. They are expecting all other states to unfailingly obey their will, reflecting their selfish interests, primarily those of the United States. We have repeatedly been convinced that modern Europe, in the form of the EU, is losing its independence or even the signs of independence that it once had. Europe completely obeys positions that the United States imposes on it, including those in the sphere of economic sanctions. It is renouncing Russian imports and demolishing logistic and financial chains that had taken decades to create.

Look at the current list of sanctions. I suggest that you conduct this interesting analysis. Compare restrictions that European countries are imposing on Russia and Belarus with the relevant US restrictions. The United States is sparing itself and is trying not to encroach on various spheres that could seriously damage its own economy. Yes, the United States is also experiencing negative effects from this activity, but Europe is suffering much more. I believe that, apart from “punishing” our countries, the United States wants to weaken the European Union as its rival.

Question: At the Madrid summit, NATO stated that Russia was the main threat to the Alliance according to its new strategic concept. Following this statement and their decision to fortify the eastern flank, does Moscow consider itself bound by its commitments under the Russia-NATO Founding Act, or has this document lost its validity?

Sergey Lavrov: In the legal sense, the Founding Act continues to exist. We did not initiate the procedure for terminating this agreement. In the run-up to the summit, NATO had lengthy and vocal discussions about whether they still needed the Act or whether they would be better off abandoning it. As a result, they decided to let this matter be, but 

[NATO] … their decisions grossly violate the Founding Act …,

primarily with regard to NATO’s commitment not to permanently deploy significant combat forces on the territory of new (Eastern European) Alliance members.

We will analyse the situation and decide on our further moves depending on how and in what form NATO will move forward with the decisions it adopted and announced.

Question: Will it be possible to restore more or less acceptable political and diplomatic relations with EU countries in the future? Will there be another Iron Curtain? Do we have a bloc like NATO or the EU?

Sergey Lavrov (adding after Vladimir Makei): I agree with almost all of that. As for our relations with the EU, Russia has not had them since 2014. Brussels swallowed the humiliating move by the opposition forces which perpetrated a coup in Ukraine in defiance of EU guarantees. In response, the Crimea residents refused to live in a neo-Nazi state. Ukraine’s eastern regions did the same, and the European Union failed to muster enough courage to talk sense into the putschists who carried out an illegal power grab, and in fact began to support them in their attack, including physical, on the people of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. When the referendum took place in Crimea and the DPR and the LPR were proclaimed, the European Union, instead of pushing for compliance with the agreements between President Yanukovych and the opposition it had co-sponsored, sided with the ultranationalist and deep down neo-Nazi regime which proclaimed fighting the Russian language and culture as its goal. In the years that followed, the regimes led by Poroshenko and Zelensky proved Kiev’s loyalty to this particular course.

In 2014, when it all happened, the EU, feeling powerless and aware of its own inability to enforce implementation of its own proposals, said the Russian Federation was to blame. It imposed sanctions on our country and cancelled the Russia-EU summit planned for June 2014, destroyed every other mechanism that it took us decades to create, such as biannual summits, annual meetings between the Russian Government and the European Commission, four common spaces that underlay four road maps, 20 sector-specific dialogues, including a dialogue on visa-free travel and much more. All of that was ruined overnight. Relations have been non-existent since then. There were occasional technical contacts, but nothing major. No wonder there are no relations now, but we never close ourselves off. From now on, we will never trust the Americans or the EU. We are doing our best not to depend on them in the sectors that are critically important for survival of the state, the people and our security. When and if they get over their obsession and come back with some kind of a proposal, we will see what exactly it is about. We will not play along with their self-serving plans. If it comes to resuming the dialogue, we will push for a level playing field for everyone and a focus on balancing the interests of all participants on an equal footing.

With regard to the Iron Curtain, it is already on its way down. They should make sure they don’t get anything caught in it as it goes down.

In all other matters, we have a straightforward position: we are for things being fair.

In 2014, our “partners” refused to hold a summit amid serious events, including a coup, a referendum in Crimea, and a radical change in the situation in the Black Sea region. If you were serious about searching for solutions, this meeting was the way forward. It could have been used to have a candid discussion about the complaints and the counter questions the partners in the Russian Federation had for the EU. The withdrawal from all contacts that took place after March 2014 only goes to show that the EU is not interested in a dialogue, and does not want to understand our interests or listen to what we have to say. What it wants is for everyone to agree with the Brussels’ decisions which are a carbon copy of the decisions made in Washington. We have been able to see that in recent years.

Question: Norway has refused to allow Russian cargo, including food, medicines, and necessary equipment, to Spitsbergen. What steps will be taken to resolve this issue? What might our response be, if any?

Sergey Lavrov: First, we want to see Norway respond to our reaction that immediately followed the incident. We sent an official request demanding clarification as to how this move aligns with Norway’s commitments under the Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920. I hope they will respond promptly. Then, we will analyse the situation. And we will act quickly.

The Lugansk People’s Republic has now been brought under the control of the LPR & Russia

 

Eva Bartlett

The Lugansk People’s Republic has now been brought under the control of the LPR & Russia

All of the Lugansk People’s Republic has now been brought under the control of the LPR & Russia.

The population who were treated as subhuman (at best), or imprisoned, starved, tortured, executed…by Ukrainian forces & Nazis can now lively freely & without enduring the hell of Ukrainian rule any longer.

RELATED:

Israeli mercenary fighting for Ukraine taken captive by LPR

1 Jul, 2022

Source: Israeli ,media

By Al Mayadeen English 

“Israel’s” Foreign Ministry confirms that an Israeli mercenary fighting alongside Ukrainian forces was captured by LPR forces.

Israeli mercenary Vladimir Kozlovsky displaying his Israeli ID card, June 30, 2022 (Telegram)

An Israeli mercenary fighting for the Ukrainian armed forces was captured during fighting by LPR forces.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that it was aware of the case after videos surfaced on social media showing the captured Israeli, Vladimir Kozlovsky, showing his Israeli ID card.

Identification card of the Israeli mercenary captured by the Lugansk forces

In the video, the Israeli identified himself as a signal operator in Ukraine’s intelligence forces. He also said that he was recruited into the Ukrainian military by border officials who he claimed would not let him leave.

Earlier in April, a footage also surfaced showing several Israelis fighting alongside Ukrainian forces and thanking “Israel” for its assistance. The videos, which went viral, showed the men dressed in Ukrainian military uniforms in an unspecified forested area.

“We want to give thanks to the people of ‘Israel’ and the government of ‘Israel’ for the help they give us. We are here fighting against the Russians in this very difficult war,” said one fighter.

“I want to say thank you to the whole Jewish people who are helping us — we are here for you, for the whole nation,” said another man. “We are here for all those whose lives are in danger. We are fighting for you, doing good work.”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the BBC TV channel, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

June 18, 2022

Ed Note:  This transcript is not complete and we will issue an update when it is completed.  We post it now because of the renewed DDoS attacks on Russian infrastructure.

In addition, Mr Lavrov had two more quite serious interviews.  They are available here:


https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1818228/

Question: Did President Putin, before taking the decision and announcing the start of what he calls a special military operation, consult you on whether he should?

Sergey Lavrov: Every country has a decision-making mechanism. In that case, the mechanism existing in the Russian Federation was fully employed.

Question: Did he consult you?

Sergey Lavrov: Again, there are things we do not speak about publicly. There is a mechanism for taking decisions. It was followed in full.

Question: I am asking because you have been foreign minister for 18 years, and invading a sovereign neighbouring state is a foreign matter. The President surely assumed that there would be international repercussions. I thought he would consult you.

Sergey Lavrov: You are an experienced journalists well-aware of the realities in Russia, around Russia, and in the post-Soviet space. Your question seeks to cancel everything prior to February 24 of this year. For eight years, we had been promoting the necessity of implementing the Minsk agreements, unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council, with the help of our intelligence agencies, Foreign Ministry, and Defence Ministry.

Throughout those eight years, we were insisting that Donetsk and Lugansk (which initially, as you may remember, in 2014, declared their independence in response to the neo-Nazi coup d’etat in Kiev) should sign the Minsk agreements, which guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. When nowadays Chancellor Olaf Scholz claims that Russia must be forced to reach agreements with Ukraine, agreements that would respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state, I have a feeling that he is not of this world but someone from “outer space.” Because all those eight years we were trying to ensure the implementation of agreements which guaranteed the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state.

Question: But the situation changed four months ago …

Sergey Lavrov: The situation has not changed. We are going back to what the Minsk agreements were coordinated for: protecting Russians in Donbass, who have been betrayed by the French and Germans. The British also played a leading role. All our Western colleagues kept saying they were unable to make Kiev honour the Minsk agreements.

Question: If the goal is to protect Russians in Donbass, why have more civilians been killed in the DPR and LPR in the four months since the start of the special military operation than in all of last year?

Sergey Lavrov: Did you also watch German ARD television and the main French TV channel, which declared recently that a maternity clinic and a marketplace had been shelled by the Russian army killing dozens of civilians? They declared without any qualms that this had been done by the Russian military. Just like they claimed some time ago that a railway station in Kramatorsk had been hit by Russia. Although the Western journalists proved that the missile had come from the territory controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Question: Last year, eight civilians were killed in the LPR and DPR, and seven the year before. While every death is a tragedy, that did not constitute the genocide Russian officials often invoke. With these numbers in mind, can you say that invading Ukraine was a reasonable decision?

Sergey Lavrov: We did not invade Ukraine. We announced a special military operation after being left with no other means to make it clear to the West that it is engaging in criminal activity by dragging Ukraine into NATO, by coddling and doting on a neo-Nazi regime, whose president Vladimir Zelensky said in September 2021 (you didn’t tell your viewers about it, did you?) that, if someone in Ukraine feels Russian, they should leave for Russia. He said that publicly. When a CNN correspondent told him that the Azov Regiment was listed as an extremist and terrorist organisations by some Western countries, the US, and Japan, Vladimir Zelensky shrugged his shoulders and said they had many such battalions and regiments, and they were what they were.

Question: Let’s look at the consequences. Four months have passed. The result: thousands of civilians have been killed; over 14 million Ukrainians have fled their homes; Russian troops sustained considerable losses and a host of sanctions have been imposed on Russia. Do you still call it the right decision?

Sergey Lavrov: I will tell you again: we didn’t have any other choice. We have explained this many times, a thousand times. Today, the Ukrainian regime is attacking civilians with your Western weapons just like they did in 2014 when the putschists came to power, when the centre of Lugansk was bombed by aircraft and 50 people were burned alive in Odessa. Does anyone recall this now?

Question: If you didn’t attack, there wouldn’t have been any weapons from the West.

Sergey Lavrov: We didn’t attack anyone. Russians were attacked in Ukraine. Imagine you are English. English or Scottish?

Question: I mentioned the figures to you. Eight dead in the past year, seven…

Sergey Lavrov: I am telling you that the Ukrainian regime is bombing its own population and you are selling weapons to it so it can continue doing this. Now about genocide. Are you English? What if Ireland (not Northern Ireland but the Republic of Ireland) banned the English language? How would the English feel?

Question: They wouldn’t invade Ireland for certain.

Sergey Lavrov: Wouldn’t you feel humiliated? The Russian language is banned in Ukraine. Try to speak Russian in a street in Kiev when young people with a certain look are walking there.

Question:Why do you consider NATO a threat? Why do people in Russia often talk about five waves of NATO’s expansion?

Sergey Lavrov: I think that NATO is a threat because we have been close friends with Serbians for a long time. They told us what the North Atlantic Alliance is about. The Afghans with whom we maintain relations in Afghanistan (and that includes practically all ethnic groups) also told us about the alliance and how it bombed wedding ceremonies. Just because these pilots wondered why some people had got together. They must be bombed, just in case.

I will explain to you why NATO is a threat. Talk to citizens of Iraq and Libya. Their countries were razed to the ground. After this, NATO still claims to be a defensive alliance. We are told not to worry, that Ukraine’s accession to NATO wouldn’t pose a threat to the Russian Federation. This is what we were told. With all due respect for our colleagues from the North Atlantic Alliance, I must say that Russia has the right to decide for itself what threatens its security and what does not.

Question: There were no NATO troops in Eastern Europe before the annexation of Crimea in 2014…

Sergey Lavrov: Moreover, there was no annexation of Crimea, either.

Question: As a result of Crimea’s annexation, there appeared 4,500 troops in 2016, and 40,000 after February 24, 2022. This is the result of Russia’s actions.

Sergey Lavrov: You are a clever man. These are facts. I will cite different facts for you. Your entire analysis is based on “cancel culture.” You are changing everything that preceded the event that you call an invasion or annexation. What happened in Ukraine on February 21, 2014? What we call a coup d’etat. How do you call it?

Question: I was the first to ask you. How do you call it?

Sergey Lavrov: I’ve already said that this was a coup d’etat that took place the morning after France, Poland and Germany affixed their signatures under the agreement between the then president and the opposition leaders. In the morning, the opposition leaders spat in the faces of Germany, France and Poland which  swallowed it. We called this a coup d’etat. And how did you call it?

Question: Do events of eight years ago give you the right to do what you are doing?

Sergey Lavrov: This is not about the right. I want to hear your honest response. We called it a coup d’etat. How do you call it in Britain?

Question: I wanted to ask you about this.

Sergey Lavrov: I want to understand your logic because if you want me to give you clear answers you must clearly explain to me what you are talking about.

Question: I want to grasp your logic. You say that NATO is a threat. Now you are saying that there is too much NATO on Russian borders. And yet now “there is even more NATO” as a result of Russia’s actions. Finland and Sweden are joining the alliance.

Sergey Lavrov: Finland and Sweden have long been subordinate to the Anglo-Saxons as the EU and NATO have drawn closer together. The EU has lost its meaning.

Question: Is the fact that Finland and Sweden are becoming NATO members a failure of Russian diplomacy?

Sergey Lavrov: Sweden and Finland are exercising their sovereign right and they are acting according to their governments’ decisions. They also are not overly concerned with public opinion, just as they didn’t concern themselves with public opinion in different countries as they carried out the objectives set by NATO.

Question: Does that mean it is not a threat to Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: We shall see how it will end. When and if Sweden and Finland join NATO, we will see what will go into effect on the ground. Whether weapons are delivered there and new contingents deployed. That said, I assure you that nobody is going to listen to either Europeans, or Finland or Sweden. They are telling us now that they will have no foreign troops or military bases. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that the US intends to increase its military presence in Europe, they have not yet decided if it will be permanent, rotational or permanent-rotational. He never said the EU should be consulted. He does not want to hear from European allies. He just decided, and announced that decisions will be made in Washington.

Question: Russia says that Ukraine is fighting Nazis.

Sergey Lavrov: Ukraine is not fighting Nazis. Nazism is flourishing in Ukraine.

Question: Listen to what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says. She spoke in May following a monitoring mission and said that the Russian military kept 360 people including 74 children and 5 disabled persons for 28 days in a school basement in the village of Yagodnoye, Chernigov Region, without a toilet and water. Ten elderly people died. Is this fighting Nazism?

Sergey Lavrov: International bureaucrats, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and, to my immense disappointment, the UN Secretary-General and many other UN representatives, are being put under pressure by the West and are often being used to amplify fake news spread by the West.

Question: So Russia is squeaky clean, isn’t it?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia is not squeaky clean. Russia is what it is. And we are not ashamed of showing who we are.

May I inquire with you to better understand your media outlet’s policy on the Bucha tragedy? Did you report on the frame-up job in Bucha? You definitely said it had been carried out by Russia, right? The Guardian newspaper published in London later got preliminary forensic results which showed that most people whose dead bodies were shown by all the world’s TV channels got their wounds from artillery shrapnel.

Question:  Why do you ask? We have little time.

Sergey Lavrov: We have little time but you do not want to tell me why you keep saying untruths, to put it mildly. I asked you a question about how the BBC had covered the events in Bucha.

Question:  I wasn’t in Bucha. I am in Russia and this is why I am asking you about Russia’s position. The purpose of the operation as it was stated by President Putin back then is regime change, isn’t it?

Sergey Lavrov: The purpose of the operation is to protect the rights of Russians which have been blatantly ignored not only by the Kiev regime but also by the entire West and the civilised community which refused to implement the Minsk Agreements.

If you did not want to secure the rights of the Russians in Donbass through Kiev’s adherence to a UNSC resolution, we will ensure the rights of Russians ourselves. That is what we are doing.

Question: On February 25 of this year, Vladimir Putin addressed Ukrainian soldiers and urged them to take power in their hands because it would be easier for Russia to come to terms with them than with this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis in Kiev. This sounds like a direct call for a military rebellion.

Sergey Lavrov: No, it sounds like a direct call for fulfilling their military duty instead of serving Nazis who are cancelling everything that their regime doesn’t like, including Russian education, culture and media. They didn’t cancel BBC because you haven’t told the truth about what was happening there for eight years. I asked you a question: Did you or any of your BBC colleagues go to Donbass during the eight years when Kiev soldiers were bombing civilians there?

Question: Over the course of six years, the BBC had many times contacted the leadership in the separatist-run areas asking for permission to go and see what was happening. We were refused entry every single time. I think if genocide had really taken place there, they would have been interested in letting us come and see but no. Why were we denied entry?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t know why you were denied entry. Our journalists worked there 24/7 and showed the results of bombing by Kiev battalions. You should have gone to the Ukrainian side of the contact line. They do not have such destruction there.

Question: Recently, your President praised Peter the Great for reclaiming primordial Russian territories and even added that “to return and strengthen is also our lot.” How many more territories and what territories are you going to reclaim?

Sergey Lavrov: President Vladimir Putin said it all. I have nothing to add. I will tell you again: you want to forget everything that preceded this event. You deny, cancel and do not want to hear what happened before February 24 of this year, what happened before the voting in Crimea. You cannot accept that we are very patient. But when our patience runs out, we respond to rudeness and the humiliation of the Russian people, like the coup in February 2014 when power was taken by people who cancelled the regional status of the Russian language and were going to oust Russians from Crimea (they sent armed people there). What did BBC report about this? Nothing at all. You said this was a normal democratic process.

Question: Can you say categorically that Russia won’t launch another special operation and won’t invade neighbouring territories?

Sergey Lavrov: We believed words for a very long time. Your comrades-in-arms, your compatriots together with other members of the North Atlantic Alliance solemnly proclaimed a principle of indivisible security where nobody has the right to enhance their security at the expense of the security of others. When we said that NATO’s five expansions undermines our security, we were simply ignored. Now President of France Emmanuel Macron said they must talk to Russia and should not humiliate the Russians. Do you know who replied to him? Some Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky. He said Macron didn’t understand anything, implying that Russians must be humiliated. What is your attitude to this?

Question: I want to ask you about the Brits who recently got a death sentence …

Sergey Lavrov: You should do an interview in the Donetsk People’s Republic about it.

Question: Russia is the only country that recognises the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, it is not the only one, several more countries have recognised them.

Question: I think the DPR has a lot of influence in Russia.

Sergey Lavrov: We are friends and allies.

Question: In the eyes of the West, Russia is responsible for these people. Do you think the death sentence …

Sergey Lavrov: I am not interested in the “eyes of the West” at all. I am only interested in international law, according to which mercenaries are not combatants. So nothing in your eyes matters.

Question: They are not mercenaries, they were serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Sergey Lavrov: This should be determined by the court.

Question: Do you think the court there is independent?

Sergey Lavrov: I am confident they have independent courts there. Do you think your courts are independent? After Alexander Litvinenko’s death your “independent” court announced “public process,” that is, had the case classified. You did the same with the Skripals. That’s your law.

Question: Did the UK government contact you about the fate of these boys?

Sergey Lavrov: I have no information about their contacting us. They are used to doing everything publicly. They began saying they are worried about the fate of their subjects. I do not know if they contacted us or not. They should contact the DPR.

Question: How would you characterise relations with the UK now? Saying they are bad would be putting it mildly.

Sergey Lavrov: I think there is no room for manoeuvre left in the relationship. Boris Johnson and Elizabeth Truss say publicly that they must defeat Russia and bring it to its knees. Come on, do it!

Question: How does Moscow view Great Britain now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a country which is once again sacrificing the interests of its people for the sake of politicians’ ambitions, who only think about the next election and nothing else.

Question: You criticise the countries, which are supplying weapons to Kiev. Who is more to blame – the countries supplying weapons to a country, which is defending its lands, or the country that has attacked it?

Sergey Lavrov: How is it defending its lands, when it bombs its own citizens? Let me remind you once again: Vladimir Zelensky said in September 2021 that those who think in Russian and feel they are Russian should beat it back to Russia. Why don’t you talk about that? Why do you ignore past events? Now, when they are shelling their own cities, towns, markets, maternity homes, and hospitals – everything is all right [with you]. You ask me why Russia is waging a “war” – in response to what we are showing. If they do not show in Britain the aftermath of the [Ukrainian] shelling of Donetsk, Kramatorsk and other places, you can certainly watch it here. Do you report anything on that?

Question: You said that you are defending Donbass and the people in Donbass. I told you that since the start of the operation twenty times more people had died …

Sergey Lavrov: And I told you that those people are being killed by neo-Nazis. I ask you: Do you show the results of the AFU’s shelling of towns and villages? Or you don’t show them in your reports? You don’t show it, correct? That is why you want to squeeze some words of regret from me about the current developments so as to send a report to London and use my words to back up the false version of events in Ukraine, which you keep broadcasting.

Question: You are wrong about that.

Sergey Lavrov: Being in Moscow, you cannot fail to see what journalists in Donbass are showing, what is happening as a result of [Ukrainian] artillery attacks on  peaceful towns and civilians. Do you report on that or not?

Question: I want to ask you…

Sergey Lavrov: So that means you don’t.

Question: I have been in Russia for almost 30 years. I have toured the country. The phrase I heard most in the villages and cities I visited was “if only there is no war.” I understand that your country suffered terrible losses, that is why it beggars belief that your country has “unleashed a war” in Ukraine. I don’t understand why it was needed. To ruin Ukraine and the future of your own country?

Sergey Lavrov: I got your point. You have no problems with understanding the political course pursued by Kiev in the past ten years – to cancel anything Russian – do you? You think “if only there is no war” means a possibility to humiliate Russians and Russia (as the Czech foreign minister said replying to Emmanuel Macron who had spoken out against humiliating the Russians). For some reason, nobody is speaking about that. You grabbed what you needed for your line, for the narrative of your broadcasts.

The phrase “if only  there is no war” is deeply ingrained in the Russian people. But it also has pride ingrained, what we call self-respect, which they are trying to take away from all the Russians in Ukraine, with your support.

To be continued…

Sitrep Operation Z: + consequences = petty Tabaquis howling

May 26, 2022

by Saker Staff

After the Russian forces took POPASNA, the pace increased. There are still battles, but the Russians are now rolling over everything else in the Donbas. The Ukrainians are being annihilated, more and more soldiers are refusing to fight, reports of mass surrenders pour in, and the Russian strategy of cauldrons and partial cauldrons is proving incredibly effective. It is a bloody war in that area exacerbated by the Ukrainian leaders because orders for a sensible retreat are not forthcoming.

Two videos today – both quite detailed:

This first video from Military Summary on Rumble, describes the logjam against sensible retreat.

This second video describes some of the very recent battles and how these brought the Ukraine to this point.  Very detailed and he draws his maps on the fly as he talks.

A few hours ago reports started filtering in of huge forces of the Russian Aerospace Forces passing over Lugansk towards the front, and powerful explosions thundered everywhere. The correspondent of “Russian Spring” rusvesna.su from the capital of the LPR reports that he sees this for the first time, a lot of combat aircraft and helicopters swept over the city in several waves. Of course we do not know yet the what, why and where of this, excepting the Russian MoD report of this morning tells the story of the increased pace.

Take a look at the numbers:

💥High-precision air-based missiles have hit 48 areas of AFU manpower and military equipment concentration, 2 artillery batteries, and 2 ammunition depots near Nikolaevka and Berestovoe in Donetsk People’s Republic during the day.

▫️1 Ukrainian electronic reconnaissance centre near Dneprovskoe, Nikolaev Region, has been destroyed, including 11 servicemen from the combat unit, as well as 15 foreign engineering specialists who arrived with security guards.

▫️In addition, 1 Osa-AKM anti-aircraft missile system launcher has been destroyed near Nikolaevka in Donetsk People’s Republic, and 1 radar of the Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system near Chuhuev in Kharkov region.

✈️💥Operational-tactical and army aviation have hit 49 areas of AFU manpower and military equipment concentration, 2 mortar crews, as well as 1 depot of missile and artillery weapons and ammunition.

▫️The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 350 nationalists and up to 96 armoured and motor vehicles.

💥Russian air defence means have shot down 1 Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter over Husarovka, Kharkov Region. 1 Ukrainian Air Force military transport aircraft delivering ammunition and weapons has been also shot down in mid-air near Kremidovka, Odessa Region.

▫️In addition, 13 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles have been shot down near Zelenyi Gai in Kherson Region, Bolshie and Malye Prokhody, Gavrilovka, Veseloe in Kharkov Region, and Epifanovka and Kirovsk in Lugansk People’s Republic, including 2 Soviet-made Tu-143 Reis jets near Melovatka in Lugansk People’s Republic.

💥Missile troops and artillery have hit 62 command posts, 407 areas of AFU manpower and military equipment concentration, 47 artillery and mortar units at firing positions, as well as 3 ammunition depots.

▫️Units and military equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ 10th Mountain Assault Brigade, which arrived to reinforce the Ukrainian grouping in Donbass, have been destroyed during unloading near Pokrovsk railway station in Donetsk People’s Republic.

……………

Ukrainian General Staff says “The invaders are actively advancing in several directions at once.” — Specifically, the Russians are advancing simultaneously in Severodonetsk, Bakhmut, Avdeevsky, Novopavlovsk and Liman directions.

……………

We also had a short explanation of why the perceived slow down in the Russian operation. The slowdown of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is intentional with a view to evacuating the population and avoiding casualties among civilians, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said.  Russia’s Armed Forces are creating humanitarian corridors and announcing ceasefires to ensure the safe evacuation of residents from encircled settlements, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu explained, despite this approach stalling the progress of the country’s forces.  “Of course, this slows down the pace of the offensive, but it is being done deliberately to avoid civilian casualties,” he explained at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Council of Defense Ministers.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev spoke on the Ukraine specifically and geopolitics:

▪️All the goals set by the President of the Russian Federation during the special military operation will be achieved, it cannot be otherwise. Russia is not chasing deadlines in the course of a special military operation in Ukraine.

The ideal scenario for US-led NATO is an endlessly smoldering conflict in Ukraine.

▪️Nazism must either be eradicated by 100%, or it will raise its head in a few years, and in an even uglier form.

▪️Ukraine, if it had remained an independent country, and not controlled from outside, “would have long ago expelled all Nazi evil spirits from its land.”

▪️Moscow will be obliged to respond to the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, which is a direct security threat to Russia. Finland and Sweden will be accepted into NATO, despite the objections of Turkey and Croatia, “because Washington decided so.”

▪️The West is today obscuring Russia’s contribution to the preservation of other states in different historical periods with all its might.

……………

The political and geopolitical situation is heating up and at the same time becoming more surreal.

They’re even dusting off Kissinger at Davos.  (Note Pepe Escobar’s ascerbic entry to his telegram channel at the end.)**

There is a small window of opportunity to wind down the armed conflict in Ukraine and find a peace settlement, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger has told a gathering of Western elites in Davos, Switzerland. Beyond that, Russia may break from, the rest of, Europe for good and become a permanent ally of China, he said on Monday during a speech at the World Economic Forum.

“Negotiations on peace need to begin in the next two months or so, [before the conflict] creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” the 98-year-old veteran diplomat said of the crisis. The outcome will determine the rest of Europe’s relationships with Russia and Ukraine alike, he said. “Ideally, the dividing line should return to the status quo ante,” he said.

“I believe pursuing the war beyond that point would turn it not into a war about the freedom of Ukraine, which had been undertaken with great cohesion by NATO, but into a war against Russia itself,” he added.

There are more voices from Europe asking for a peace process to start but first, the Ukrainian response:

Ukrainian presidential advisor Alexey Arestovich resorted to obscene language to criticize those in the West urging Kiev to cede part of the country’s territory to Russia for the sake of peace.

“Go f**k yourselves with such proposals, you dumb f**ks, to trade Ukrainian territory a little bit! Are you f**king crazy? Our children are dying, soldiers are stopping shells with their own bodies, and they are telling us how to sacrifice our territories. This will never happen,” Arestovich said in an interview on Wednesday.

Soros calls for Putin’s defeat:  George Soros told the World Economic Forum in Davos the West needs a quick victory over Russia in Ukraine so it can focus on climate change

The process of ‘disowning’ the Ukraine has started.

Gen. Milley notes that the US has reopened military-to-military level talks with the Russians. His call to his Russian counterpart last week was “important” and it was “purposeful”

Of course, the talk of another peace plan is not born of care for people or human rights or democracy or deep held care for the Ukrainian people.  It is driven by desperation and is a desperate grasp at avoiding a psychological defeat bigger than Afghanistan.

TASS/ Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin took to his Telegram channel to highlight that the US and its partners do not plan to provide real assistance to Ukraine.

  • Ukraine will only get 15% of the $40 billion promised by the US, he said.
  • “Washington and Brussels do not really intend to help Ukraine, or solve its economic and social issues. They only need Ukraine to fight Russia till the last Ukrainian,” Volodin said.
  • According to the recent aid to Ukraine legislation signed by President Joe Biden, 35% of the $40 billion is going to finance the US Armed Forces, he explained. Meanwhile, 45.2% of that amount is set to be spent on other countries, not Ukraine, while another 4.8% will be earmarked to support refugees, and restore the US diplomatic mission in Ukraine. “Ukraine will only receive 15% of the allotted sum,” the speaker revealed.
  • But Ukrainians will have to pay off the whole sum, he said. The US is aware that Kiev will not be able to service the debt in the future. “That is why they are seizing Ukraine’s last reserves, including grain, which is what we are seeing right now”.

Quo Vadis Ukraine?

A list of those that want a piece of the pie is shaping up. Of course, Poland is not suddenly in love with the Ukraine without a reason.  They want their piece of the land pie. I suspect Hungary is also not innocent in this matter. Will the Ukraine be apportioned? Or will it lose its nation-state status completely, and cease to exist? Nobody knows because nobody knows the Russian plan. In Europe and the US/NATO, fear is taking hold. Nobody knows where Russia plans to stop after liberating the two new Republics, Donesk and Luhansk. Is this the moment that they will choose to push NATO back to its agreed borders?

Maria Zakharova noted that these peace proposals that are appearing (talking about the Italian one specifically) could show that Rome is perhaps “beginning to think about the depressing consequences of the military psychosis that was caused by the reaction of the West to the special military operation of Russia in Ukraine” – and the supposed plan could be an attempt “to offer some alternatives to the current escalation, which threatens to develop into a full-scale military conflict between Russia and NATO.”

The deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said that “any peace proposal built purely in the interest of NATO and the Western world order should simply be ignored.”

“Or rather, their authors should be told to go in a certain direction,” Medvedev said.

Russia is ‘building back better’ and major reconstruction is starting as well as President Putin signed a decree relaxing rules for granting Russian citizenship to residents of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye and Kherson Region.

The amendments are added to the decree that previously introduced a similar procedure for residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR).

Russia continues to do business.  Delegations from over 90 countries have confirmed their participation in the 25th edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) scheduled for June.  Russia and Iran also agreed to implement the MIR payment card system in Iran.

That is it for today. Enjoy your discussion and careful on the Ukie propaganda. It is still everywhere.

**Escobar Telegram Channel:

THE PLIGHT OF DR. K – IN ONE MINUTE

War criminal Kissinger’s performance at Davos should be summed up as yet another massive failure of his master’s trademark Divide and Rule.

Ukraine/404 has always been a sort of Rubicon in terms of downsizing Russia (think Brzezinski).

It consumed A LOT of capital – physical and political. It was THE red line – success or failure – setting the stage for the triumph of the NWO and its top secretion, The Great Reset.

Kissinger – even as a mere Rockefeller messenger boy – was at the center of this racket for DECADES. It was Kissinger, under Rockefeller’s orders, that groomed cypto Dr. Evil Klaus Schwab to build the WEF and the Davos ethos.

Even if Davos is a mere outlet for the people who really run the show, the WEF remains the premier Influence Scoundrels club on the planet bent on forcing their agenda all across the spectrum. Still toxic after all these years. Yet now even Kissinger knows it’s bound to fail.

Sitrep Operation Z: ‘The Grind’ is mainly done for now – Donbas Arc lights up like a solar storm

May 24, 2022

by Saker Staff

This is an open thread on the entire Donbas Arc where the ‘grind’ is now paying off and the Russians are running and counting coup, working like a well-orchestrated orchestra.  (Unforgivable hyperbole in writing, but it is quite a thing to watch!).

Over to the commentators to give us the details.

Keep eyes on for confirmation:  UNCONFIRMED but oh boy this would be juicy if confirmed.  How about those Poles?  From Intel Slava:

Against the background of information about the arrival of units in Pavlograd from the territory of Poland, a missile attack was launched on a military facility in the city.

Which object was hit is still unknown. It is likely that the target was precisely the place of concentration of those same armed groups that arrived from Poland.

Pavlograd is the most important transport hub for supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donbass.

Roads run from it to Pokrovsk, Kurakhovo and Marinka, as well as towards the Kramatorsk-Slavic agglomeration. The railway goes towards Avdiivka.

For now, Readovka’s report and map.

Today from Avdiivka to Estuary Russian Armed Forces and allied forces storm Estuary.  Most of the city has been liberated and serious military operations are underway. The entire Donbass arc is in motion. Ukrainian sources report the withdrawal of troops from Severodonetsk. The main supply routes are under the fire control of the Allied Artillery.

Kharkiv Front. Today, fighting continued in the area of Liptsov, Ternovoye and Rubezhnoye.

Izumo-Luhansk front. In the morning, it was reported that a bridge across the Lugan River was blown up near Svitlodar, then information appeared about the breakthrough of the Allied forces in this direction. Later it became known about the beginning of the assault on Krasny Liman, and about the capture of almost half of the city by the Allied forces.

Russian aviation and artillery are also working in the area of Soledar and Bakhmut (Artemivsk). From the Popasnyansky front, they reported the end of the battles for Toshkovka (in favor of the Allied forces) and successes in the Zolotoe area. The Russian Armed Forces and allied forces storm Zolotoe Positions are occupied at the entrance to the city The 6th Regiment of the People’s Militia of the LPR occupied two streets in Kamyshevakh. Access to the borders of the LPR and DPR from Troitsky was also made.

This morning, the Russian Aerospace Forces launched a missile attack on the railway infrastructure in Korosten, Zhytomyr region. Powerful explosions thundered in Kharkiv and Pavlograd-military facilities were destroyed.

Repulsed provocations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on our territories. A Ukrainian drone was shot down in the Rostov region. Air defense systems were destroyed APU made an unsuccessful attempt of provocation in the Kursk regionAir defense systems destroyed all air targets in the Kursk region. Anti-aircraft missiles flew into the sky over the Belgorod region in the evening.

Sitrep Operation Z: The Ukrainian fighters’ will to resist is deteriorating fast

May 20, 2022

Source

by Saker Staff

Khodakovsky’s (commander of Vostok Battalion) noted that they have +1,800 prisoners of war in custody. Another 80-90 surrendered over the past 24 hours and the estimate is that a few hundred is still in the hole.

It is visible! It is palpalable! Morale in the both the Armed Forces of the Ukraine as well as in the general society is dropping like a stone. Soldiers are laying down their weapons, surrendering or simply try to walk home after Azovstal, because the fairy tale, the fantasy of proud and committed nazi soldiers bravely resisting, has shattered. The will to resist from the Ukrainian side is crumbling fast.

These are just a few and reports of Ukrainian forces surrendering are many and increasing.

  • 11 servicemen of the 25th airborne brigade and 17 soldiers of the 54th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and went over to the side of the DPR – Yevgeny Poddubny 2022-05-18 https://t.me/greatrussia1/8253
  • We are now witnessing the breakdown of Ukrainian forces in the Donbas. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdKWfPLO_Emwqd8HnTOeJkw/community?lb=UgkxXrkzaSFo2aE_q38cwwpgE-XuCwsIT1SC
  • The period of disintegration of the Ukrainian army has begun.  https://voenhronika.ru/publ/vojna_na_ukraine/period_raspada_ukrainskoj_armii_nachalsja_2022/60-1-0-12136
  • We are now witnessing the breakdown of Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.  http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/05/they-are-getting-message_18.html
  • RusVesna Reports: There is a mass surrender of Ukrainian soldiers in the LNR against the backdrop of the surrender of the Azov militants from Azovstal: “We want to live,” says a serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
  • … they were sent to go on the offensive, despite the fact that the commanders had already fled, abandoning their subordinate soldiers. The remaining Ukrainian servicemen surrendered because they “wanted to live”. https://t.me/EurasianChoice/13843
  • War correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny reports that in the DPR, twenty servicemen of the 95th Airborne Assault Brigade of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered.
  • During the night, five more servicemen from the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine surrendered to the DPR forces.
  • The prisoners said that the command recently used them as ordinary infantry, which was tasked with “being in the trenches and trying to hold back the offensive.”
  • In the trenches, from where the Ukrainian paratroopers surrendered, at least three dozen of their colleagues died, who could not withstand the attacks of artillery and armored vehicles, and then collided with an assault unit of the special forces of the allied forces of the DPR and the Russian Federation. The survivors refused further resistance and raised the white flag.

We can fill a page or two with similar reports.

The rule of thumb is that if you have a competent fighting force of say 600 ‘bayonets’, and 200 walk off the job, either by attrition or by surrender or by simply going awol, the fighting force cannot fight any longer. Yes, they can do a lot of damage still, and as many reports of surrenders as there are, unfortunately, there are as many reports of these forces willy nilly firing on villages and towns, taking over houses and larger structures (schools, hospitals) and hiding behind civilians and non-combatants where Kadyrov’s special forces take them out in brutal hand to hand combat while these combatants torture the civilian inhabitants.

It remains a hard and bloody grind. Yet, cauldrons are forming and the Russian forces continue the grind, day by day, and night by night. Here are some sketches of what looks like four forming now. Cauldrons https://t.me/russianhead/3173

It seems that these settlements have truly now been liberated by Russian forces/LPR National Militias over the last 24 hours as part of the offensive from Popasnaya:

  • Vladimirovka
  • Tripolye
  • Khamyshevaka
  • Vrybovka
  • Zolotoe.

At least in this area of the Lugansk People’s Republic the Ukrainian defense lines are crumbling.  Shoigu confirms:

Shoigu gave an overview of the situation:

Opening speech by the Russian Minister of Defence, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, at the Russian Defence Ministry Board Session  (https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1749)📑Key points

🔻About the special military operation

▫️ The liberation of the Lugansk People’s Republic is nearing completion. The Ukrainian Armed Forces, trying to delay the advance of Russian troops, are not letting local residents out of cities and towns and are using them as human shield.

▫️ Suffering defeat on the “ground”, the Kiev regime seeks to achieve at least short-term successes in certain areas, passing them off as major ones.

▫️ On the eve of Victory Day, the Ukrainian authorities made an adventurous attempt to seize Snake Island. This dubious action turned out to be a complete failure. Any provocation in the future would be severely dealt with

▫️ The blockade of the Azovstal plant continues. Nationalists blocked inside the plant are actively surrendering. To date, 1,908 people have laid down their arms.

▫️ The Russian Armed Forces are doing all they can to prevent civilian deaths. More than 1,377,000 people have been evacuated to Russia from dangerous regions of the people’s republics, as well as from Ukraine, since the beginning of the special military operation.

▫️ I would like the personnel for their professionalism, courage and heroism in accomplishing the tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

🔻On the situation in the Western strategic direction

▫️ The situation in the Western strategic direction is characterised by growing military threats near Russia’s borders. Over the past eight years, US strategic bomber flights in Europe have increased 15-fold. American ships with guided missiles have entered the Baltic Sea on a systematic basis.

▫️ Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO. Tensions continue to rise in the Western Military District’s area of responsibility. Adopt adequate countermeasures.

▫️ By the end of the year, 12 military units will have been formed in the Western Military District. The ongoing organisational measures are synchronised with the supply of modern weapons and military equipment to the troops.

🔻On equipping the Aerospace Forces and the Navy with medium- and long-range unmanned aerial vehicle systems

▫️ Unmanned aerial vehicles are actively used by the Armed Forces for a wide range of missions. Over the past 10 years, their flight intensity has increased sevenfold and their annual flight time has risen 23-fold. Since 2015, unmanned aerial vehicles have been monitoring almost all of Syrian territory around the clock.

▫️ During the special military operation in Ukraine, UAVs conduct aerial reconnaissance and carry out selective point-blank strikes against enemy targets in dense urban areas, preventing damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties. Information obtained from UAVs is transmitted in real time to consumers. This enables troops to react quickly to changes in the situation and act as effectively as possible.

▫️ The army and navy continue to receive modern systems with unmanned aerial vehicles for operational purposes.

▫️ Strategic UAVs are expected to be delivered in the near future. Their use will save pilots and significantly reduce the cost of reconnaissance and firing missions by reducing the consumption of ammunition and the resource of aircraft.

Let’s take a quick look at the battlefield through the eyes of the intrepid reporters at Readovka:

The topic of the day was the surrender of the touted “Azovstal hero” radical Sviatoslav Palamar with the call sign Kalina. Our sources reported in the morning that the “manure” was already (https://t.me/readovkanews/34318) in Rostov-on-Don. By evening, however, a video appeared online (https://t.me/russianonwars/701) in which “Kalina” himself was broadcasting that the 85th day of the war was going on, and that he and his command were still at the Azovstal plant. He also talked about some kind of secret special operation. Some authors ironically say that it is most likely a sex change operation.

⚔️ The situation on the fronts remains tense, but the successes of the Allied forces are hard to ignore:

▫️ On the Kharkov front, losses in manpower, equipment, and concentration by Ukrainian forces are beginning to be felt. Today ours were able to liberate (https://t.me/russianonwars/691) Ternovaya near the Russian state border.

▫️Izium front – fighting near Krasny Liman, where up to 1,500 enemy soldiers are under threat of being surrounded. Heavy fighting is going on in the woods near the village of Dolgenkoye.

▫️The Lugansk front is becoming a black mark for the Ukrainian army. Even the commanders on the ground themselves are already telling the top military leadership about the lack of heavy equipment and the incompetence of some leaders. So the 3rd battalion of the 115th brigade of the AFU refused (https://t.me/voenacher/18972) to go into battle near Severodonetsk. Meanwhile, our forces are developing a grandiose offensive from Popasna in several directions – it is not for nothing that they fought so hard for this bridgehead for almost a whole month. It is reported that Allied troops from the north of the city entered (https://t.me/boris_rozhin/49516) Viktorovka, to the south they took (https://t.me/boris_rozhin/49498) Troitskoye, to the northeast they half-cleared Toshkovka, and to the west they are fighting for Pilipchatino. There is also information that our paratroopers have liberated (https://t.me/boris_rozhin/49523) the village of Vladimirovka, near Soledar, and Wagner’s “music” has liberated Tripillya. In fact, all this work that has been done guarantees tight fire control of our artillery over the Soledar-Lisichansk highway. The storming of Severodonetsk does not stop either – the fighters go into battle from three directions at once.

▫️On the Donetsk Front, fighting is taking place near Novoselovka-2 and Novobakhmutovka, as well as on the outskirts of New York – the Avdeevka cauldron continues to “forge”, the front is pushing further away from Gorlovka.

▫️ In Mariupol, more than half of the garrison in bunkers left Azovstal (https://t.me/readovkanews/34327). This was reported by the head of the DNR Denis Pushylin. More than 2,000 heavily armed fighters have now surrendered (https://t.me/readovkanews/34329).

▫️The Southern Front appears to have taken an operational pause to bring in reserves and strike assets. “Courtesies” are being exchanged between artillerymen on both sides.

💣 Our border territories have once again been hit by chaotic Ukrainian shelling. This time it was (https://t.me/readovkanews/34319) the village of Tetkino in the Kursk region, where, according to the governor, one person was killed by shrapnel. In the evening, there was another report from Kursk region that AFU fired mortars at (https://t.me/readovkanews/34397) the villages of Alekseevka and Dronovka.

🚀Air Arrivals. Yasinovataya again received (https://t.me/RtrDonetsk/5970) strikes on civilians by the AFU. They also reached (https://t.me/RtrDonetsk/5953) the settlement of the mine named after them. Lenin. The Petrovsky district of Donetsk was also shelled (https://t.me/readovkanews/34326). There was air defense work in Kherson.

👁From interesting things: swastikas, prayers and pagan rituals – Azov people, who in a hurry left the base near Mariupol, abandoned (https://t.me/readovkanews/34361) all their nationalist paraphernalia on it

👁It’s no secret that stopping the supply of weapons and ammunition to the AFU on the front line is the main task of our army. We found (https://t.me/russianonwars/692) on the net a list of large ammunition depots in the central part of Ukraine, which is definitely worth “calibrating”.

The grind will continue and so will the reconstruction. The Russian government has now created a special office responsible for the restoration of the liberated territories of the Ukraine, says the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Marat Khusnullin.

It is interesting to note also if you read the Russian MoD early morning report, the numbers of military targets being hit, are increasing.  Notable this morning is: 17 Ukrainian Smerch multiple-launch rockets intercepted near Topolskoe, Malaya Kamyshevakha, Snezhkovka in Kharkov Region and Chernobaevka in Kherson Region.

We close with two wonderful reports on the Azovites where the meme: ‘I laughed my Azov’ took root.

Translate this one for sure. It is the journalist Steshin who was on the spot and probably still is.  https://www.kp.ru/daily/27393/4588115/

That is it for today. Enjoy your discussion and be careful with the Ukie propaganda. It is everywhere.

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, May 18, 2022 (Extensive)

May 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1813888/

Table of contents

  1. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting
  2. Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 100 Questions for the Leader project at the Yevgeny Primakov Gymnasium
  3. Update on Ukraine
  4. Involving minors in Ukrainian nationalist formations
  5. Statement by Western leaders accusing Russia of cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure
  6. EU allegations of Russia’s “responsibility” for global food insecurity
  7. Biological warfare research in Ukraine
  8. Closing Canada’s CBC bureau in Moscow
  9. Situation at the JCPOA reactivation talks
  10. The situation in the Republic of Moldova
  11. Russia’s stance on Cyprus settlement
  12. Growing terrorist activity in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries
  13. Desecration of Soviet military graves in Gdansk
  14. Desecrating a memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died when crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge (Switzerland)
  15. 13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022
  16. 2nd Kostomarov Forum
  17. Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek

Answers to media questions:

  1. Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of the Baltic Sea States
  2. The transportation of grain from Ukraine
  3. The death of Al Jazeera journalist
  4. Calls for “regime change” in Russia
  5. Ukraine’s decision to nationalise Russian banks’ property
  6. Russia’s reaction to Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO
  7. Mass shooting in the United States
  8. Russian diplomats working in new conditions
  9. Russia’s reaction to the Western embargo on Russian energy exports
  10. Finland’s economic losses
  11. The future of Ukrainian militants who surrendered at Azovstal
  12. Situation with individuals detained in Ukraine
  13. Russia’s stand on NATO membership for Ukraine and Finland
  14. Russia’s response measures to Finland’s NATO membership
  15. Exchange of prisoners in Ukraine
  16. The possibility of Russia-Ukraine talks
  17. Trilateral working group
  18. Meeting of the Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on border delimitation and border security
  19. Acts of vandalism in Nagorno-Karabakh
  20. CSTO response to developments in Afghanistan
  21. Escalation in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of Tajikistan

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting

On May 19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the BRICS countries via videoconference.

The ministers will review global and regional issues, as well as the problems of maintaining peace and security and settling acute international conflicts. They will focus on coordinating the approaches of the BRICS nations at key multilateral platforms and intensifying cooperation in countering new challenges and threats.

The ministers will review the BRICS strategic partnership in three key areas – political, economic and humanitarian – in the context of preparing for the upcoming 14th summit of the association.

At the initiative of the Chinese Presidency in the Council of Foreign Ministers, a separate session will take place in BRICS-plus format with the participation of the foreign ministers from a number of developing nations.

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Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 100 Questions for the Leader project at the Yevgeny Primakov Gymnasium

On May 23, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with students at the autonomous non-profit general education organisation Yevgeny Primakov Regional Gymnasium as part of the 100 Questions for the Leader project.

The project represents a special format for trustworthy conversations held by students with famous politicians and outstanding representatives of science, art and sports. It provides a priceless experience for direct dialogue between the rising generation and today’s leaders.

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Update on Ukraine

The special military operation continues in Ukraine. As Russian leaders have said more than once, it is going according to plan, and new territories are being freed from the Nazis every day.

The Ukrainian military personnel and militants in Azov nationalist units that entrenched themselves in the underground bunkers of the Azovstal Plant, began to surrender in Mariupol this week. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 959 Ukrainian nationalists, including 51 with severe wounds, have laid down their arms over two days. They receive medical aid at the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR, and the rest were sent to a pretrial detention centre in Yelenovka in the suburbs of Donetsk. Indicatively, on May 17, this centre was shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs). The Kiev regime has always treated its citizens like this, and this case was no exception.

Russian leaders had repeatedly stated that resistance was senseless and announced the opening of humanitarian corridors for militants and Ukrainian military personnel to leave the Azovstal Plant after laying down their arms. They were urged to stop the hostilities. In the meantime, the Kiev regime was doing all it could to prevent civilians, military personnel and militants from leaving the plant. Why? They were brainwashing the public.

It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out. Later, Russia organised humanitarian corridors in cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I would like to emphasise that the initiative on announcing and opening these corridors was ours.

The wounded troops are provided with professional medical help. This fact is being turned upside down and misrepresented in the Ukrainian and international media. Remember the footage showing how the militants and the Armed Forces of Ukraine treat POWs in Ukraine? Everyone saw it. It horrified many, others pretended not to have seen it. Russian POWs were shot to death by militants from the nationalist units that became part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Russia has adopted a different approach. You see footage showing professional help being provided to the wounded [Ukrainian troops]. It is not being provided “for show.” It is provided to real individuals regardless of their background. Humanitarian law is not just something we abide by; it is of fundamental importance for us. No one should have any doubt about this.

According to Ukrainian POWs, the military leadership of Ukraine forbids the troops to retreat or surrender. Their key goal is to destroy as much civilian infrastructure as possible in order to leave behind uninhabitable ruins and make it hard to restore peaceful life. This is not our messaging, but the testimony received from the Ukrainian side over the past weeks.

The nationalists, who have long been using the tactics of ISIS terrorists, do not hesitate to use kindergartens, schools and hospitals as ammunition depots and strongholds. They are not hiding this. They take pictures inside preschools or with preschool buildings in the background to show how they fight there. The civilians are not allowed to evacuate. They are forcing people to leave their apartments so that they can set up firing positions there. They are driving people to basements that are used by militants or as weapons depots. The other day, Ukrainian nationalists began to bring in ammunition and deployed air defence systems on the grounds of the Odessa film studio. The territorial defence force militants go door-to-door in order to identify residents who do not accept the nationalist way of thinking. They are taken away to unknown locations and there’s no information about the fate of many of them.

Earlier, the Zaporozhye administration banned the evacuation of civilians under the pretext of security. All attempts by the citizens to leave the city in private vehicles and on foot are stopped by the territorial defence militants at checkpoints. Those who resist are subjected to physical violence. Their vehicles are seized and they are sent back on foot.

On May 16, Ukrainian nationalists used the Smerch MLRS to attack Kherson’s residential areas. There are no Russian troops in Kherson, which the Ukrainian side is well aware of. This means they specifically targeted civilians in retaliation for supporting Russia’s actions. This is yet another war crime committed by the Kiev regime. Fortunately, all 10 missiles have been intercepted by Russian air defence systems.

Unfortunately, we do not see the international organisations, Western countries or their media respond to the criminal methods used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To be sure, it’s because there is no response. Moreover, the Western countries continue massive arms supplies to the Kiev regime. We consider this as direct support for neo-Nazis and an effort to make the fighting last as long as possible. We cannot ignore the fact that Western weapons are used to kill Russian troops and shell Russian territory.

Arms deliveries are running into the billions of dollars which is comparable to military budgets of large states. The United States, Great Britain, France, Canada, Poland and the Baltic countries are doing the most to arm Kiev. Washington alone sent $3.8 billion worth of military equipment to the Kiev regime which is close to the military budgets of Austria, Portugal and Finland. The US Congress is considering a proposal to provide another $40 billion in “aid”, including about $25 billion worth of military equipment. This is half the military budget of Germany and France. I would like to draw the attention of the US public not so much to the size, which is comparable with the military budgets of other countries, as to the needs of the American people. They can put these funds to good use. If this money were sent as subsidies, aid, or sponsorship related in some way to humanitarian aid, one would understand it. But money is being sent to the Kiev regime for it to kill and to continue this phase of the crisis.

More and more weapons abandoned by the Armed Forces of Ukraine are becoming the spoils of war for the People’s Militia of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Armed Forces of Russia. These include Javelin and NLAW ATGMs, Starstreak and Stinger MANPADS, Bayraktar drones, Switchblade loitering munitions, Skynet Longbow EW systems, CAESAR and PzH 2000s self-propelled and M777 towed howitzers.

EU, US and UK officials keep saying that “victory must be achieved on the battlefield,” that “Russia must sustain a strategic defeat” and “cannot be allowed to win.” All these statements, in addition to the trade and economic blockade that has in effect been imposed on our country and the hybrid war unleashed against it, prove once again that the Western countries are waging war against Russia in Ukraine and that Ukraine itself and its citizens are an expendable resource for them. Our Chinese partners used the expression “cannon fodder.”

In their information war, the Western countries resort to outright lies. They are trying to accuse our country of creating a global food shortage. We commented on this many times. Each time we cite facts, figures and other information that cannot be refuted. But nobody is trying to refute them. Western-spread lies are not supposed to be refuted. They are too absurd to comment on. It is forgotten that crisis phenomena in the world food market are linked with the West’s accumulated mistakes and miscalculations in macroeconomic, energy and agricultural policy. The coronavirus pandemic has contributed as well. In the middle of 2020, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme David Beasley warned about the threat of “famines of biblical proportions.” Unilateral Western sanctions exacerbated this trend. So, millions of people will have to go hungry because of the geopolitical ambitions, egotism and stupidity of the collective West.

At the same time, we are seeing a striving of the Western curators to take out of Ukraine everything that may be of some value. This is also a repetition of history of 80 years ago. Hundreds of grain carriers are crossing the Ukrainian border on the way to Europe. The Kiev regime has organised massive daily exports of agricultural products to Europe in exchange for weapons by road and rail, as well as by river on the Danube to Romania via the port of Ismail.

Think of what is happening. Against the backdrop of statements by the collective West about the imminent famine (the Kiev regime is supposed to trust the West), the leaders of Ukraine are getting rid of food products. Ukrainian citizens need them now. The Armed Forces of Ukraine also need them since the Kiev regime is not going to stop hostilities. However, food products are being sent abroad instead. Where to? To NATO countries. The Ukrainians receive weapons in exchange for these products so that they can continue killing themselves. This is not Nazism. This are even more terrifying maniacal ideas that are even worse than the misanthropic concepts applied to the population of Ukraine, Russia and the rest of the former USSR in the middle of the 20th century.

These are tremendous amounts of grain, maize, oil crops and livestock animals. On May 10 of this year, US President Joseph Biden said that Washington was thinking about ways of exporting from Ukraine 20 million tonnes of grain, supposedly with a view to reducing prices in the world markets. You know how much the United States and the White House care about the needs of hungry people in Africa and Asia, how much they want all people in the world to live a better life, eat well and be wealthier. We know this bewitching American pacifism and striving to do good for everyone. But this is not the case. This is about robbing Ukraine, its citizens and military of the last things they have. Washington obviously is not concerned about what the Ukrainians will be left with after this feast. Ukrainian citizens did not believe us 10 years ago and five years ago. Maybe it’s time to wise up. To realise that they are being deprived of the last things they have. Food products, grain – the results of their labour – are being taken out of the country. When we were in school and university, we were told that the fascists and Nazis hauled away Ukrainian natural soil by railway and this was presented as the supreme manifestation of their hatred for Soviet citizens. Now the logic is even more gruesome – Ukrainian citizens are being deprived of the fruits of their labour at a time when their country is engaged in hostilities.

For our part, we are paying close attention to the humanitarian situation in the liberated areas and facilitating the restoration of peaceful life. Russian military are clearing Ukrainian mines in cities and farming lands. People in the DPR, LPR and a number of regions in Ukraine have already been supplied with 20,000 tonnes of basic necessities, food products, medications and medical devices.

We regret that the United States, Britain and several European countries are supporting and sponsoring those who are preaching in Ukraine the ideas of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism. They continue supplying the Kiev regime with arms and robbing the Ukrainian people. However, these efforts will not change the situation.

As the Russian leaders said more than once, Russia will achieve the goals of its military operation on denazifying and demilitarising Ukraine, defending the DPR and the LPR and removing the threats to its own security.

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Involving minors in Ukrainian nationalist formations

As the nationalist formations of Ukraine continue to be driven out of Donbass, new facts have come to light which confirm the involvement of children in these hate-crazed units. We have repeatedly stated that right-wing radical organisations operating under the patronage of the Kiev regime have systematically spread extremism among minors in order to embed the ideas of militant nationalism in Ukrainian society.

Neo-Nazis from Azov began large-scale recruitment of children back in 2015 when, upon the initiative of the National Corps leader Andrey Biletsky, they set up the Youth Corps’ “children’s camps.” In 2015, they took in children aged 9 to 18 and since 2016, 7 to 18.

A military youth wing called National Squads was formed at the National Corps in 2018. Hundreds of young people over the age of 14 joined it. The instructors from Azov taught them how to fight the “enemies of Ukraine,” including with firearms.

The specialised Youth Corps’ needs are covered by the Ukrainian state budget. Does that sound familiar? In 2019, organisations associated with the National Corps received $17,000 to hold events for children and youth. We see it. And we know what kind of values people with Azov insignia on their sleeves and nationalist and neo-Nazi symbols are teaching ​​young people. There are training camps for teenagers such as Azovets, Bukovynets, and Dnepryanin in different parts of the country. Teenagers were lured through social media and messengers.

Eyewitnesses are saying that neo-Nazis from Azov do not limit themselves to “children’s camps” and have expanded their group by bringing aboard minor orphans which fact is corroborated by the situation at the Piligrim orphanage in Mariupol. Azov worked closely with the children from this orphanage training them in combat, including sharp shooting, during eight years beginning in 2014. Reportedly, in 2014, children from Piligrim helped the Ukrainian army dig trenches outside Mariupol and build checkpoints later in October. Residents of Mariupol say that during the events of February-April 2022, the Respublika Piligrim Children’s Rehabilitation Centre was the headquarters of the territorial defence, where militants from Azov and other radical groups were based. There’s video evidence showing that teenagers from Piligrim took part in the hostilities on the side of the neo-Nazis, and also set fire to civilian homes.

“The neo-Nazi Ukrainian group Azov-operated Piligrim orphanage in Mariupol is a prototype of Ukraine that the Nazis wanted to build and what it would inevitably become if it were not for the special operation by the Russian Armed Forces,” Alexey Selivanov, former (until 2014) Advisor to the Defence Minister of Ukraine and Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Interior Ministry for the Zaporozhye Region, said. This is what someone who served in the Armed Forces of Ukraine had to say.

According to Selivanov, Piligrim can stand in for all of Ukraine, and the orphanage, in which children were converted into militants, is a clear confirmation of the fact that something drastic had to be done with this Ukrainian project.

These facts clearly show that Ukraine violated its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning the involvement of children in armed conflicts. When ratifying this international treaty in 2005, Ukraine declared that the minimum age for voluntary (on a contract basis) enlistment into national armed forces was 19.

We call upon relevant international organisations, such as the UN and the OSCE, as well as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, to pay special attention to Kiev’s involvement of children in criminal neo-Nazi organisations and spreading of radical ideas among minors.

There is no need to pretend that in a surge of patriotism these children went to the barricades in February 2022. They have been trained to make war for many years. And the militants of the nationalist battalions are the ones who did it.

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Statement by Western leaders accusing Russia of cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure

The West continues its attempts to portray Russia as a cyber-aggressor. We perceive the recent statements, made on May 10, 2022, by foreign policy agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies in precisely this context. These statements accuse Russia of launching cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure in February 2022. Predictably, they did not provide any evidence. As usual, they follow their favourite “highly likely” logic.

Western capitals think of themselves as supreme rulers of cyberspace. They rubberstamp accusations that have nothing to do with reality. They probably believe that they will also get away with this anti-Russia provocation. They think all states will perceive this propaganda as a sufficient reason for bringing to account culprits arbitrarily appointed by the US administration. After depleting the potential of sanctions, they are now resorting to other ploys from their rich cinematographic legacy, including promises to pay handsomely anyone who will testify in favour of Washington’s allegations.

Obviously, the policy of intimidation and deception is called on to camouflage the futile US attempts to impose its own perception of an international political order, to conceal its own flaws regarding protection of personal data, the right to privacy and inability to maintain constructive cooperation between specialised agencies to thwart illegal activities in the IT sphere.  Consequently, they want to continue their long-term digital dictate against the public at home and in other countries and to plunder their intellectual resources with the help of companies and agencies affiliated with security services.

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EU allegations of Russia’s “responsibility” for global food insecurity

The EU, the United States and their supporters have unleashed a campaign accusing Russia of provoking a global food crisis. The main thesis is that Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, including the “blocking” of the Ukrainian grain exports via Black Sea ports, are leading to food shortages and hunger in the world’s poorest countries. We know how the “collective West” is “helping” these countries. They are considering ways to turn ordinary countries into poorest states (by transporting grain to their own countries), and they never or hardly ever think about the poorest countries.

As usual, Brussels is deceiving the international community by openly distorting the reasons for the current situation. The EU is openly trying to use the allegation of Russia’s “responsibility” for the deteriorating global food security to convince other countries to support the anti-Russia policies of the West. They simply tell the countries that have a neutral and balanced position that there is a dire shortage of food in their region and that this situation can be remedied if these countries assume the anti-Russia position. They ask them to sign certain documents, vote the “right way” or make a required statement, saying that this will ensure food supplies. It’s a staple of the genre, not a new invention. At the same time, Brussels is using open blackmail, offering food for loyalty.  It has not yet stooped to heavy-handed interference, but this approach cannot be ruled out in the ideological and political spheres. Countries are being forced to make a choice, and this is being done with media assistance.

Meanwhile, the EU has done nothing to prevent the “Ukrainian crisis” and continues to send weapons to Kiev, which makes it responsible for tensions on the global food market. There are numerous indications of this.

The EU has openly declared a total trade and economic war on Russia. We know that Washington actually pressured the EU into doing this, which the United States has openly admitted and trumpeted. The EU politicians who are advocating and shouting about new sanctions are comfortable with the fact that Russia is a global leader in the supply of basic agricultural products, which have no or very few alternatives, such as grain, barley, sunflower seeds and feed crops, as well as mineral fertilisers, a major share of which are exported to the low-income countries that are facing food shortages. The EU politicians do not care about this, because nobody has ever called them to account.

The disruption of trade, logistics and financial chains and, consequently, a sharp rise in food prices throughout the world are a direct result of the irresponsible adoption of even more anti-Russia restrictions and threats of increased sanctions pressure on Russia. Russia’s bank settlements and flights to and from EU countries have been blocked. Isn’t this a direct cause of the situation on the food market? Only those who live in a vacuum can think so. Brussels has adopted unprecedented restrictions on Russian fertiliser exports and individual sanctions on major Russian fertiliser producers and exporters. The declared goal of this policy is to undermine Russia’s economy, including agriculture, which moved into top gear over the past years. Blinded by their hatred for Russia, nobody stopped to think about the consequences for the countries which traditionally depend on our supplies. When they became aware of what happened, they attempted to shift the blame on Russia. It’s crossing the line beyond good and evil.

Cynically claiming to be concerned about humanitarian matters, Brussels is rushing to offer its help. They simply love to create problem and then break their brains over them. The question is who should tackle the current problem. The so-called “solidarity lanes” plan to improve EU-Ukraine connectivity for grain export, which the European Commission presented the other day, is nothing other than requisitioning. Actually, Brussels has declared a full-scale mobilisation campaign to remove the available Ukrainian grain to the EU. When Ukraine, prompted by the West, shouted about the Holodomor, when grain was taken from producers in a bad harvest year, and presented it as the genocide of Ukrainians, the West applauded and looked for other pretexts to accuse Russia of unimaginable sins. What will it do now? It has announced that “hungry times” are coming. Why are they trying to remove the last remaining grain stocks from Ukraine? This is impossible, but it’s a fact. This is requisitioning.

The EU plan provides for creating alternative lanes to export Ukrainian agricultural produce to the EU and other countries, because the sea route has been blocked through Kiev’s fault. The EU will ease the formalities, expedite the sending of additional freight rolling stock, vessels and lorries to the Ukrainian border for transporting grain, transfer mobile grain loaders, make rail slots available for these exports, and suspend customs duties on Ukrainian exports for a year. Is this a licence to take advantage of Ukraine’s situation? To grab what you can lay your hands on? That’s rich!

Brussels views the large-scale transportation of grain from Ukraine as part of its “fundamental geostrategic goal.” The EU intends to achieve it even though international experts believe that Ukraine’s grain harvest will be much smaller this year. They expect problems in Ukraine, and yet they are taking away its last grain stocks. To present this as a noble act, Brussels has announced that it is guided above all by a desire to protect the world from Russia, which allegedly wants to take advantage of the global insecurity problem it presumably created in the first place, and to “steal” Ukraine’s share on the global market, so as to gain geopolitical weight in its confrontation with the West by supplying food to the most vulnerable poor countries. This is inhuman. We would like to tell our EU neighbours that this is not our but their methods.

The soaring prices of grain, feed crops and fertilisers, not to mention energy, and the unprofitability of farming and fishing businesses were a major concern for the EU member states long before the current crisis. Take a look at your own statements, reports and television shows. In late March 2022, a regular EU summit adopted a decision on the need to ensure food affordability in the member states. Several weeks later, the European Commission presented a detailed initiative on the urgent transportation of 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain, which can seriously undermine the food security of Ukraine. However, Brussels, which is being guided by “the worse for Ukraine, the better for the West” principle, is not concerned about that.

We urge the international community not to rise to Western provocations, to accept reality and to rely on facts, since the West is willing to use the global food security problems, which it itself is actively creating and which did not appear yesterday, to attain its time-serving political interests. This is a historical fact. The “collective West” is accusing us because it is “highly likely” that we did it because we “always did it.” They say that we “always” did it, but they are not providing examples, let alone any proof. The West is plundering Ukraine now, just as the colonial West plundered other countries in the past, taking whatever it needed. It is doing exactly the same now.

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Biological warfare research in Ukraine

The Russian Federation has obtained materials indicating that biological laboratories in Ukraine operating with support from the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and its affiliated companies – Black and Veatch and CH2M Hill – engaged in biological warfare research in violation of Articles I and IV of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC).

The laboratories conducted research into dangerous and highly dangerous pathogens in the interests of the Pentagon’s National Centre for Medical Intelligence, with the BSL-3 Central Reference Laboratory based at Ukraine’s Mechnikov Anti-Plague Research Institute in Odessa playing the key role in these programmes.

The following research centres were also actively involved in their implementation:

– State Scientific and Research Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary and Sanitary Expertise,  Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the Academy of Agrarian Sciences, and the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Station of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Kiev;

– Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, State Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine, and Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Lvov;

– State Regional Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine in Dnepr;

– Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Kherson;

– Sanitary and Epidemiological Station Laboratory in Ternopol;

– Transcarpathian Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Uzhgorod;

– Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Vinnitsa;

– National Scientific Centre Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Kharkov.

Thirty Ukrainian laboratories in 14 cities were involved in full-scale biological warfare research in Ukraine. The registration card of the relevant programme was signed by Deputy State Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Viktor Polishchuk.  The legal framework was provided by the Agreement between the Department of Defenсe of the United States of America and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine Concerning Cooperation in the Area of Prevention of Proliferation of Technology, Pathogens and Expertise That Could be Used in the Development of Biological Weapons.   The RC determined the commissioner of the work – the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency – and a list of biological facilities.

The employees working with dangerous pathogens in Ukraine were US citizens who had diplomatic immunity. The group included biological weapons experts; they established contacts with Ukrainians, who were previously involved in Soviet biological warfare programmes. For example, Project UP-8 studying the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Hantaviruses is evidence that all serious high-hazard research was directly supervised by US specialists.

The documents obtained allow us to state that the Ukrainian biological laboratories (including divisions of the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry) engaged in activities aimed at enhancing the pathogenic properties of agents inducing plague, anthrax, tularaemia, cholera, and other deadly diseases, using synthetic biology methods.

On February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian Health Ministry publicly issued instructions to immediately dispose of the reserves of dangerous and especially dangerous pathogens stored at biological facilities, which proves that the Kiev regime did try to sweep any traces of these operations under the carpet. The review of the disposal statements confirmed that these facilities worked with the plague, anthrax, leptospirosis, and brucellosis agents. In the Lvov laboratory alone, they destroyed 232 containers of leptospirosis agents, 30 of tularemia, 10 of brucellosis, and 5 containing plague pathogens, and in total, over 320 containers. This inventory, coupled with the excessive quantity of pathogens, demonstrates that we are dealing here with biological weapons programmes carried out in violation of Article 1 of the BWC.

We also obtained evidence that two biological laboratories in Mariupol were working with the Pentagon. The preliminary review of the remaining documents showed that Mariupol served as a regional hub for collecting and classifying cholera agents. The selected strains were then transferred to the Public Health Centre in Kiev, which then forwarded these biological samples to the United States. Carried out since 2014, this activity is evidenced by statements confirming the transfer of the strains. Why did it start in 2014? The reason lies in the anti-constitutional coup. It upended Ukraine’s independence in making decisions, and overseeing and analysing activities of this kind. People from the United States, Canada and other NATO countries flocked to Ukraine to take charge of the main domestic, foreign policy and economic activity and everything related to defence, military and strategic affairs, etc.

A statement was discovered in a sanitary and epidemiological laboratory. Dated February 25, 2022, it provides for the disposal of a collection of pathogenic microorganisms, demonstrating that the facility worked with cholera, tularemia, and anthrax agents.

In the rush to dispose of the inventory, part of it remained in this veterinary laboratory. The fact that it contained agents that are not typically found in livestock, such as typhoid, paratyphoid, and gas gangrene, is quite perplexing. This could mean that this laboratory, too, took part in the biological weapons programme.

We have every reason to assert that the DTRA focused its operations in Ukraine on collecting strains of dangerous microorganisms and exporting them to the United States, as well as studying naturally occurring agents in this region, which can be transmitted to people, with the aim of potentially using them in biological weapons. In 2020, two mobile laboratories arrived in Donbass in order to collect biological samples from the local population, primarily in the country’s eastern regions, and study them. Black and Veatch acted as DTRA’s contractor in this project.

It was with DTRA’s support that the laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa in Ukraine took part in the UP-4 project before 2020 to study the transmission of especially dangerous infections (highly pathogenic influenza A H5N1, which has a mortality rate of over 50 percent for humans, as well as the Newcastle Disease, which affects poultry) by wild birds migrating between Ukraine, Russia and other Eastern European countries.

In addition, the documents we obtained show that the United States planned to work on bird, bat and reptile pathogens in Ukraine this year, followed by a study of whether they could transmit the African swine fever and anthrax (P-781, UP-2, UP-9, UP-10 projects). This was a system-wide research effort carried out since at least 2009 and controlled directly by US specialists as part of projects P-382, P-444 and P-568. DTRA’s office head at the US embassy in Kiev was among those overseeing this activity.

One of the goals of the UP-2 project consisted of locating places where animal carcasses had been buried and collecting soil samples from burial sites of cattle infected with anthrax. The epidemiological situation in Ukraine as far as anthrax was concerned was quite positive, which begs the question: What was the Pentagon actually looking for? I would like to remind all geography buffs out there in NATO (we saw incredible people who thought that the Baltic and the Black seas form one big lake) that the United States does not share a border with Ukraine. Even if they want to find one, it is still not there. Attempts by the Pentagon to present this as a national security concern are groundless and do not hold water. But what was the Pentagon doing in the Ukrainian biological laboratories in the first place? The fact that the US military biologists were so keen to study disease-transmitting insects near cattle burial sites was not a coincidence, since during the 2016 anthrax outbreak in Russia there were cases where flies, including horseflies, transmitted the disease.

In addition, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation discovered three drones, equipped with 30-litre containers and sprays, in the Kherson Region on March 9, 2022. In late April 2022, they discovered 10 more devices of this kind near Kakhovka, after Russia released documents demonstrating Ukraine’s attempts to obtain drones equipped with sprays from the maker of the Bayraktars.

More than 4,000 people took part in studies under project UP-8. According to the Bulgarian media, some 20 Ukrainian soldiers died and 200 were hospitalised in the Kharkov laboratory alone during the experiments. The United States cannot carry out this activity on its own territory, so its military carry it out abroad. Where? Where they can, where there are no laws, where there is nobody to implement or enforce the law. This happened to be Ukraine.

It is an established fact that potentially dangerous biological agents were tested on the most vulnerable social group – patients at Kharkov’s regional psychiatric hospital No. 3. We have evidence describing in detail the Pentagon’s inhuman experiments with Ukrainian citizens at psychiatric hospital No. 1 (Strelechye, Kharkov Region).

The research results on the spread of dangerous deadly diseases like cholera, smallpox, anthrax, and botulinum toxins, were sent to military biological centres in the United States. These include the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Naval Medical Research Centre, as well as US Army Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick, which used to be the key facilities in the US biological weapons programme. The US virologists focused on analysing the obtained samples to identify gene mutations in the agents and assess their virulence, pathogenic power and resistance to treatment.

Incidentally, about 2,000 blood serum samples taken from Ukrainian citizens of predominantly Slavic ethnic background have been sent to the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. More than 140 containers with bat ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks have been transferred to Germany.

The programmes were financed either directly under DTRA contracts with private American companies (mainly СН2М Hill) as part of the Defence Department’s project to counter especially dangerous pathogens in Ukraine until 2024, or through the Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine. Overall, more than $1.5 billion has been allocated for the implementation of bioprojects over the past 10 years. In particular, the Rosemont Seneca investment fund with financial resources of at least $2.4 billion has been involved in financing this activity. At the same time, it has been found to be closely linked with the main Pentagon contractors, including Metabiota, which, along with Black and Veatch, is the main equipment supplier for Pentagon’s biolabs across the world.

According to reports, DTRA informed the Pentagon in early March that the facilities in Ukraine used by US biological research programmes were a growing danger for European countries due to the hostilities on Ukrainian territory.

Worse still, the experiments with dangerous and highly dangerous pathogens carried out in Ukraine in the interests of the Pentagon had long been attracting attention from Ukrainian nationalist groups. In case of a military defeat, the nationalists could use those materials to implement the so-called scorched earth tactic, which was an additional threat.

Furthermore, during the special military operation, Russia obtained materials that evidenced the deliberate use, in 2020, of a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis pathogen to infect the population, including minors, in the Slavyanoserbsky District of the LPR by distributing flyers that looked like counterfeit banknotes. According to the Lugansk Republican Sanitary and Epidemiological Station report, “… the banknotes have most likely been infected artificially because the sample contains extremely dangerous strains in a concentration that can ensure infection and the development of the tuberculosis process.” The chief physician of the Lugansk Republican TB Prevention Centre has confirmed in a letter that “there are all signs of deliberate, man-made contamination of flyers with highly pathogenic biomaterial.” Do you know what they are testing the Ukrainians’ samples for in the EU? Tuberculosis. Why? Because they know what NATO agencies have been doing there.

DTRA has proposed to the Pentagon chiefs to take additional measures to monitor the epidemiological situation in Ukraine and neighbouring European countries. In case of any infection outbreaks, the recommendation is to immediately accuse the Russian Armed Forces of “attacking research and medical institutions,” or blame “Russian sabotage groups.” They have already established the necessary communication channels with the Pentagon’s partners in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

According to available information, DTRA demanded that the Ukrainian ministries of defence and health ensure the guaranteed destruction of all remaining materials from the bio-research projects in Ukraine. The people who are now in the EU countries, many of them suffering from tuberculosis, are not victims of airstrikes on Ukrainian research centres used by the Pentagon. They weren’t subjected to any of that. They are just carriers. Because the United States has been carrying out that activity on the territory of the country where they lived. DTRA was afraid the international community would interpret the information about the results of their experiments as a violation of the BTWC by the United States. Most of the documents have been removed from the labs in Kiev, Odessa and Kharkov to the Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene and American diplomatic institutions in Lvov.

The materials obtained by the Russian Federation suggest an unambiguous conclusion that private American companies affiliated with the Pentagon had been supporting the development of bioweapons in labs on the territory of Ukraine in the immediate vicinity of Russia. The urgent destruction of especially dangerous pathogens was required to prevent the discovery of violations of Articles 1 and 4 of the BTWC. This has confirmed the validity of Russia’s repeated claims, in the context of the implementation of the BTWC, about the biological warfare activities the United States and its allies have been conducting in post-Soviet countries.

We are preparing to invoke the mechanisms of Articles 5 and 6 of the BTWC, according to which the states parties must consult one another and cooperate in solving any problems that may arise in relation to the purpose of the Convention or the implementation of its provisions, as well as cooperate in any investigation of possible violations of BTWC obligations.

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Closing Canada’s CBC bureau in Moscow 

With deep regret we continue to note blatant attacks on Russian media in the countries of the “collective West.” They call themselves civilised, developed democracies. Among recent examples is Canada’s ban on the Russian television channels RT and RT France. We said that we would respond. The response would be symmetrical, similar, proportional, it does not matter. But it would be adequate.

We have repeatedly warned that such unilateral restrictive measures that defy the principles of freedom of speech and hinder the work of the Russian media will not be left unanswered. Everybody must realise that our response is inevitable and will happen following any such incident.

In this regard, a decision has been made to respond to Canada’s actions, namely, to close the Moscow bureau of CBC, the Canadian state television of radio broadcasting corporation, including cancelling the accreditations and Russian visas of its journalists.

Unfortunately, it is blatantly clear that the official Ottawa is pursuing an openly Russophobic course. It is understandable. Who had been steering the country’s foreign policy for many years? A person with roots going back to mid-20th century collaborationism. It is clear why they turn a blind eye to neo-Nazism in Ukraine: they were the ones who encouraged it. In addition to direct political, military and financial support of the Kiev regime, the attacks on dissenting views and media censorship have been part of their Russophobic course. Any alternate point of view is always dubbed the Kremlin’s disinformation.

Ottawa’s anti-Russia policy is reflected in the most negative way in the actions of Canada’s state television and radio. In fact, CBC has transformed into the voice of propaganda that distributes fake news and questionable information regarding Russia, consigning journalist ethnics and even elementary rules of decorum to oblivion. We would have put up with that. We did for many years; we ignored or disavowed fake information, disclosed and refuted it. But there have been actual restrictions against Russian media. So, we respond in kind.

Once again, we emphasise that Moscow’s retaliation measures towards the hostile actions of the Trudeau’s government are not aimed against the people of Canada, who our country traditionally respects. The problem is with Canada’s ruling elite and the media that serve it. They are deliberately destroying Russia-Canada relations to the detriment of its own national interests.

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Situation at the JCPOA reactivation talks

Despite a certain lull at the talks in Vienna, the countries, parties to the nuclear deal, as well as US representatives, continue to exert vigorous efforts, while searching for the most effective and mutually acceptable way of resuming the full-fledged implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under its initial parameters. All the concerned parties realise that there is no alternative to the nuclear deal.

The parties to the negotiating process continue to maintain their contacts. Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service and Coordinator of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, visited Tehran last week. European and Iranian colleagues positively assess the meetings that took place during this visit, and note incipient progress. This instils a certain hope that we have taken one more step towards our main goal, namely ensuring the full-fledged reactivation of the JCPOA.

In turn, we intend to continue doing everything possible to ensure the positive outcome of the talks in Vienna, which require wholehearted efforts from all the participants, including Iran, the United States and European countries. This is our firm and objective position. We are urging all healthy forces to use their energy to preserve the JCPOA and restore the calibrated balance of interests on which it hinges.

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The situation in the Republic of Moldova

We have noted a number of events in Moldova that are a cause for concern.

On May 11, 2022, Moldova’s TV-8 television channel broadcast a Skype interview with Leonid Volkov, a member of the Russian opposition. He is a person of interest in criminal cases that have been opened in Russia, and arrest warrants have been issued for him in CIS member states under the Agreement on Interstate Search for People of December 10, 2010, of which the Republic of Moldova is a party. At the same time, the country stipulates tough broadcasting restrictions for Russian media outlets, claiming “unbalanced” information content provision. Has Moldova banned CNN or BBC broadcasts? Has it banned the websites of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Financial Times? Or do they provide completely balanced information content?

On May 13, 2022, the Moldova Post said it was temporarily suspending the delivery of all letters and parcels to the Russian Federation, citing “technical reasons.” Over 220,000 Russian citizens now live in Moldova, and Moldovan diaspora in Russia has more than 200,000 members. The Moldova Post’s decision infringes upon the right of Russian and Moldovan residents to maintain business, cultural, humanitarian and personal contacts.

The above-mentioned actions of official Chisinau, as well as some of its other actions and statements, make one doubt that the country’s leadership is really committed to the Republic’s neutral status, to honouring the rights and interests of its residents, as well as to maintaining pragmatic and mutually beneficial partnership with Russia.  I know that Chisinau reacts sensitively to our statements, but we are no less sensitive to their actions.

Although the Moldovan authorities did not announce this, various national agencies are applying Western anti-Russian sanctions in the banking sphere and during the re-export of Russian goods. With the connivance of the Moldovan authorities, protesters have been staging daily anti-Russia rallies near the Russian Embassy in Chisinau for almost 60 days, and these rallies hamper the normal work of the diplomatic mission. A recent outrageous ban on using St George ribbons in the Republic caused a public outcry in Russia and Moldova.

We are once again urging the Moldovan party to refrain from actions that are detrimental to relations with Russia and not to follow in the wake of forces striving to involve the Republic of Moldova in the anti-Russia campaign. This negatively affects the citizens of our countries, in particular.

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Russia’s stance on Cyprus settlement

Once again, we are seeing certain media outlets spreading rumours that Russia is changing its principled stance on the Cyprus settlement. These provocative rumours have nothing to do with reality and pursue just one goal: to discredit our country and its foreign policy.

We have never questioned the principles of the peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue. We continue to consistently support a solution in line with international law and UN Security Council resolutions, which provide for creating a bicommunal bizonal federation with common international identity, sovereignty and citizenship.

Once again, our approach to the situation in Cyprus is widely known and remains unchanged concerning all aspects, including the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFYCIP), which plays an exceptionally important stabilising role in the current environment of uncertainty. We believe it is important to continue the operation of UNFYCIP as it was important to appoint a UN Secretary-General Special Representative in charge of the settlement that reports to the UN Security Council.

I would like to note for Cypriot media that we are always ready to comment on any leaks they may get to prevent misinformation on their pages.

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Growing terrorist activity in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries

We are concerned about significantly intensified extremist activity in Burkina Faso and increasingly frequent cases of the extremists crossing over to the neighbouring countries.

In particular, on May 14‒16, 2022, a series of attacks on gendarmerie posts and self-defence groups, as well as attacks on a column of civilians near the border with Benin took place in the northern and eastern regions of Burkina Faso. The attacks resulted in more than 40 victims, including among civilians.

Earlier, in the early hours of May 11, 2011, as a result of a large-scale attack from the northern territory of Burkina Faso targeting an advance outpost of the Togolese armed forces, eight members of the military were killed and 13 sustained injuries of different severity levels. This was the first terrorist attack with casualties in the history of the state.

We strongly condemn these crimes and extend our condolences to the loved ones of those killed and wish speedy recovery to the injured.

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Desecration of Soviet military graves in Gdansk

We were outraged by an act of vandalism committed on May 11, 2022, in Gdansk, where perpetrators tore out and damaged 20 stars on the memorials to Soviet liberators on the graves of the Red Army soldiers killed while liberating the city.

The nature of this heinous act is absolutely clear: insulting the memory of the dead is now an integral part of Polish political provocateurs’ arsenal. This latest incident is not a random occasion but part of a deliberate campaign pursued by official Warsaw to disparage everything that is sacred for the people of Russia and those who fought against the brown plague.

Sadly, regular reports on criminal and immoral acts against the Soviet military legacy in Poland have long become ordinary news indicating that Polish officials have unleashed a Russophobic campaign. Recently, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki publicly confessed to his hatred of everything Russian thus revealing the nature of Warsaw’s policy against our country. Or is it just his personal opinion?

We can confidently say that Warsaw, neglecting all moral and international legal norms, has embarked on a course of state-supported vandalism against the memory of Soviet soldiers who gave their lives to save Poland from extermination by Nazis.

We want to remind any frenzied Russophobes that all their barbaric acts and dirty pillaging will not destroy the truth about the Victory. We will not allow it.

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Desecrating a memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died when crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge (Switzerland)

On May 15, 2022, unidentified individuals desecrated the memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died while crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge in Switzerland. The memorial cross and inscription were splashed with paint. What did Suvorov do to offend them?

We are deeply outraged by this horrendous act of vandalism. The incident demonstrates the level of culture in Switzerland. It has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with you and those who stand behind this kind of campaigns, condone them and fail to search for or covers for the perpetrators.

We sent a protest note to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation demanding that it takes urgent measures to rectify the damage caused, find and prosecute the guilty and ensure proper security of the memorial.

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13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022

On May 19‒21, 2022, the 13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022 will take place in Kazan. The event is held under the aegis of the Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group, chaired by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov.

KazanSummit is a well-established platform for presenting the Russian Federation’s economic opportunities and investment potential to its partners from Islamic countries. It serves as a modern dialogue platform for building new connections between representatives of international organisations, financial institutions and government bodies, embassies, and the senior managers of major Russian and foreign companies. Several events are scheduled on the sidelines of this year’s summit, including Russia Halal Expo 2022, the Machine Engineering Cluster Forum, World Halal Day and festivities marking the 1,100th anniversary of Volga Bulgaria’s adoption of Islam.

Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East Mikhail Bodganov and Ambassador-at-Large Konstantin Shuvalov will take part on behalf of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The 6th OIC Young Diplomats’ Forum (hereinafter the “forum”) will also take place during the summit, to be attended by representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Council of Young Diplomats, as well as invited guests and experts.

The forum will focus on issues of indivisible security, prospects for cooperation with OIC countries, countering new challenges and threats, and the role of young diplomats from the Islamic world in forming a major foreign political agenda. The International Association of Young Diplomats will hold its first induction ceremony.

The forum has been held since 2015, with more than 160 representatives of the OIC foreign ministries and agencies attending over the years. The forum is organised by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Council of Young Diplomats, the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Academy of Youth Diplomacy public organisation.

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2nd Kostomarov Forum

One of our country’s priorities on the foreign humanitarian track is supporting and promoting the Russian language abroad. The Kostomarov Forum, organised by the Alexander Pushkin State Institute of the Russian Language, significantly contributes to developing international cooperation in this area.

This year, the forum will be held on May 24‒25 and will focus on the role of the Russian language and its functioning in the new conditions created by the information revolution and technological breakthrough of recent decades.

The forum programme includes a presentation of the Pushkin Institute’s research paper, 2021 Russian Language World Index, a panel discussion on preparations for the Year of the Russian Language as a Language of Interethnic Communication Across the CIS, to be held in 2023. The Cyril and Methodius Readings research and practice conference will comprise 30 sessions on sharing experience in linguistics, literature studies, teaching Russian as a foreign language, and social sciences and humanities. A roundtable meeting on the history and modern issues concerning the Cyrillic alphabet will be held. The detailed programme is available on the forum’s website.

Russian and foreign scholars, teachers, literature researchers and journalists, as well as representatives of government bodies, professional and public associations and business organisations are expected to attend.

The forum’s working language is Russian. The event will be held in the hybrid format. Sessions will also be streamed online on its website.

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Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek

On May 26, Bishkek will host the Eurasian Economic Forum. Its topic will be ‘Eurasian economic integration at the time of global change. New investment opportunities.’

We expect the forum to serve as a networking platform where businesses, government agencies, academia and experts can discuss the key matters on the development agenda of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), promoting entrepreneurship across its space and green energy, as well as strengthening region-to-region ties and cooperation.

The forum’s main programme includes six panel discussions covering the strategic prospects for Eurasian integration, ensuring economic stability for EAEU member states, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and transport infrastructure, the digital agenda, as well as new areas of cooperation for the EAEU.

You can register for the forum and explore its programme on its website. You can also follow its online stream.

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Answers to media questions:

Question: Russia withdrew from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, citing the lack of dialogue. What is your assessment of the diplomatic contacts in this region?

Maria Zakharova: Let me draw your attention to the statement that we made yesterday announcing Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

The situation within the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) has been deteriorating. NATO and EU countries within CBSS rejected equal dialogue and the principles that lie at the very foundation of this regional structure in the Baltic, consistently striving to turn it into a tool of their anti-Russia policy. Illegal and discriminatory decisions have been made in violation of the consensus rule. Russia has been suspended from further participation in the Council’s activities and projects, and Belarus, which has an observer status within the Council, was also suspended.

The CBSS has been riddled with contradictions for a long time now, and we pointed out many of them. You can find this in our briefings, statements and comments. Our former partners sought to politicise the Council’s activity by promoting their own ideology-driven agenda. Russia, in turn, focused on practical cooperation, prioritising stable socioeconomic development for the Baltic region. Unfortunately, the destructive logic of the other side prevailed.

The Western countries – to call them what they are – monopolised the Council for the sake of their momentary interests and they want to make it work against Russia’s interests. They project extra-regional issues onto the Baltic, pressure those who are interested in continuing full and unabridged cooperation, threatening to undermine everything that has been achieved over the past years, as well as regional stability. On May 25, 2022, Kristiansand, Norway, is expected to host the CBSS Ministerial Session without Russia. They de facto stole our contribution to the CBSS budget and refuse to return it, citing sanctions.

We don’t see any prospects for putting the Council back on track. Instead, it is sinking deeper and deeper into Russophobia and lies. We believe staying in the CBSS would be unreasonable and counterproductive for our country. Russia will not participate in turning this organisation into yet another platform for subversion and Western self-admiration.

In response to these hostile acts, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to CBSS ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as well as the Council’s Secretariat in Stockholm to notify them of Russia’s withdrawal from this organisation. At the same time, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation took the decision to leave the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference.

Ending Russia’s CBSS membership will not affect its regional presence. Attempts to expel our country from the Baltic are doomed to failure. We will continue working with responsible partners and hold events on the key issues on the development agenda of the Baltic region that we all share, as well as to defend and promote the interests of our compatriots.

The current situation within the CBSS rests on the conscience of those who undermined the very foundations of this organisation.

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Question: The United States, the EU and UN have stated they are willing to assist in the removal of grain from Ukraine. Have they discussed these initiatives with Russia?

Maria Zakharova: The EU member states were seriously concerned over the rapid rise in the prices of grain, fodder and fertilisers, let alone energy prices, even before the current crisis, as well as the unprofitability of private farming and fishing. All of this was put in black and white. The EU summit held in late March passed the decision on the need to guarantee, under the existing circumstances, the affordability of food in the EU member countries.  A few weeks later, the European Commission came up with a detailed initiative to this effect (I spoke about it earlier today).

We urge the international community not to succumb to provocations. I have no information confirming that the initiatives I have mentioned were in any manner discussed with Russia.

Question: What can you say about the murder of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh?

Maria Zakharova: This tragedy has stirred up the entire Arab world. Few people remain indifferent to it. The Palestinian journalist was killed in the line of duty as she was selflessly covering an Israeli raid on the refugee camp in Jenin on the West Bank.

Yesterday, while meeting in Moscow with Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), member of the Fatah Central Committee and Head of the General Authority for Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, Sergey Lavrov expressed condolences on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and voiced his support of the Palestinian demand to hold an unbiased investigation into her death.

We should focus separately on the outrage that occurred during her funeral, when the military assaulted the people carrying the body and accompanying the funeral procession. I can tell you honestly that I have never seen anything like that.

As for a response to what was going on at the funeral from related international institutions… Were they there?

I would like to note that the lack of progress in the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the stalemate in the negotiating process repeatedly explode into fierce standoffs that leave in their wake numerous victims among peaceful civilians, including women and children. These tragedies could be avoided by achieving mutually acceptable compromises regarding the final status via a direct dialogue based on the generally recognised international legal framework of Middle East settlement that provides for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The Russian leaders have repeatedly spoken about this.

Question: How will the Russian Foreign Ministry respond to the Lithuanian Foreign Minister’s call for a regime change in Russia? 

Maria Zakharova: This is an attempt to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs and destroy what remains of our bilateral relations. He is trying to curry favour with his overseas masters.

Mr Landsbergis, who lives in a state that tramples underfoot the basic human rights and freedoms, has clearly forgotten that the Russian President is elected by the people. This has nothing to do with his personal views or his country’s position. But the pathological hatred that he feels for Russia is blurring his vision and depriving him of the last of his reason. Consequently, he can’t see the obvious. This is Russophobia, pure and simple.

Let us take a look at the people who make these statements. We always comment only on statements. But who makes them? They are made by people who have Russophobia in their blood. It is inherited as a specific “legacy” or, possibly, a genetic trait.

I have a lot to say about the Landsbergis regime. They are a dynasty. Let me give you just a few widely available facts. You will understand who I am talking about. All materials are from open sources. They are also available in the archives.

Suffice it to recall the great-grandfather of the current Lithuanian foreign minister, Vytautas Landsbergis-Zemkalnis, who in 1941was the utilities minister in the Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis Government that collaborated with the Nazis. Landsbergis was directly involved in the effort to create concentration camps all over Lithuania, including in Kaunas. He was the Landsbergises regime’s great-grandfather. It was there, at Fort Nine, that on October 29, 1941, the Nazis committed a heinous crime, executing 9,200 Jews, including 4,273 children.

Landsbergis-Zemkalnis also collaborated with Gestapo, the German secret police. After the war, he fled to Australia (which also does not notice neo-Nazism in today’s Ukraine, but has introduced all sorts of sanctions against Russian citizens) but was granted the right to return to the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1959 after he contributed information about other Nazi fugitives to the Soviet security bodies.

The foreign minister’s grandfather, Professor of the Vilnius Philharmonic Society Vytautas Landsbergis, continued the family tradition of conformism and change of political position. He actively collaborated with the USSR secret services: at their recommendation he was appointed the leader of the movement of the Lithuanian intellectuals in support of the perestroika (Sajudis). At his will, it later transformed into a separatist movement for the withdrawal of Lithuania from the USSR. So much for the family.

Vytautas Petkevicius, Landsbergis’s colleague at the Sajudis action group, wrote the following about this grey eminence of Lithuanian politics: “From the very first days, Landsbergis sought to turn the organisation into his pocket political party, with membership, party cards and membership fees.”  In all evidence, he was motivated by his knowledge of the best totalitarian practices. Later he started mixing up Sajudis money with his own. This was something in the liberal economy genre. Still later, contributions from compatriots became this gentleman’s personal money box, a source of payments to his allies, extras for participating in rallies, and funds for foreign travel. The same pocket ate up one million dollars collected by Canadians for Lithuanian orphans and a Norwegian donation to the Lithuanian people. But Landsbergis again managed to get himself out of the mess, declaring that he had created a fund bearing his name.

Autocracy pales in comparison with the Baltic democracies and their representatives. If you only knew how Baltic officials start cringing when you come to citing facts from their biographies or those of their relatives who have directly influenced their civil service promotion or career advancement.  Do you know how much they dislike it? But why are you so embarrassed about it? These are the facts of your biography, and you should be proud of them. We didn’t invent anything. We have just facts and quotes. And you have disproved nothing. So, take it and sign for it.

Question: Could you comment on the Ukrainian authorities’ recent decision to nationalise the property of Russia’s banks VEB and Sberbank?

Maria Zakharova: The Kiev regime stopped caring about the norms and principles of international law and the Ukrainian Constitution long ago, both with regard to its own citizens and those of other states. It is hardly surprising that, on May 12, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the executive order of President Vladimir Zelensky on the so-called enforced confiscation of Russian property in the country. In effect, this amounts to a brazen theft of assets owned by subsidiaries of Russia’s Sberbank and the State Development Corporation of Russia VEB.RF located in Ukraine. These assets are worth $860 million. This is a continuation of the same logic. However, no one in Kiev has any misgivings about the fact that the nationalised subsidiary banks also manage the money of Ukrainian citizens and legal entities, and that the Ukrainian authorities are simply robbing them.

This unconstitutional escapade of the Kiev regime replicates the worst actions of this kind by Washington, Brussels and London. Let them call it whatever they like. In reality, this is banal theft.

Question: The President of Finland described Vladimir Putin’s response to his country joining NATO as surprisingly calm. How does this calm Russian response tally with the Deputy Foreign Minister’s statement that Russia will not simply reconcile itself to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO?

Maria Zakharova: This was how the Finnish party perceived reality. You should ask them why they got this impression and whether it was correct. This is their perception. Let’s not confuse things. Everyone has a right to perceive things the way he or she sees fit.

The Russian party has set forth its position regarding the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. We have published our arguments and statements.

Every state has a sovereign right to choose specific options to ensure its national security. However, no one should ensure its own security at the expense of other countries’ security.

The Russian Federation will respond, and the content of its countermeasures, including military-technical elements, will largely depend on specific NATO membership terms for Finland and Sweden, including the deployment of foreign military bases and strike weapons systems on their territory. Our response will feature less words and more actual steps.

Question: An 18-year-old neo-Nazi who shot at a crowd in the United States sported the insignia of the Azov battalion. Can you comment on this coincidence?

Maria Zakharova: This is not the first mass shooting based on such hatred. It goes without saying that a comprehensive investigation should be conducted, including confirmation of the fact that the shooter used Nazi symbols, the so-called “black sun.”  We saw the video and think that an investigation must be held. This is important because a lot of unverified information is now circulating. Let’s be guided by the facts.

However, the very atmosphere of a deep public fissure in American society, as well as neglected problems of racism and institutionalised violence, due to free access to weapons, generate new manifestations of crime that are horrendous in terms of their scale and the ways they are carried out.

Regarding the link with Nazi symbols and Azov, which you have mentioned, this amounts to the flirtation of the US administration and its security services with neo-Nazis all over the world, with obvious consequences. They forget that all this will also spill over into the United States. In fact, this has already been happening for a long time. If they see nothing unusual in the fact that neo-Nazi ideas are spreading in “client” countries, then why should they be surprised that such symbols are actively used in various US states? The problem lies elsewhere. This isn’t just about symbols, it is about a revival. Many do not grasp the gist of this. We are talking about the actions that these symbols provoke. They explain a person’s planned future actions, and they are like a warning danger sign or a semaphore.  Many perceive this as an endorsement of such symbols and the related actions in the United States. This flirtation, which we have mentioned, leads to such tragic results.

Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy that “in the current environment, we are witnessing a serious shift in the mindsets of many of our comrades in all spheres of Russia’s life.” What effect is this having on the staff of the ministry’s central office, the embassies and consulates general?

Maria Zakharova: Like the rest of the country, we have rallied even closer together. Awareness of the historical shift underway in the world, which is life-changing for Russia, has given a fresh impetus to the resolve of our personnel to do their professional duties even more professionally and diligently.

Crises can catch you unawares, when you can’t think straight, feel at a loss and lose heart, or it can give you more inspiration. The latter is our case. We have rallied together and joined forces and efforts to attain the goals set for us by the nation.

The completely unprovoked outbreak of Russophobia in the West, the illegal trade and economic restrictions and the desire to demonise everything Russian have reinforced the belief of our staff and their families that truth, justice and moral probity are on the side of Russia and its people. They have found themselves at the forefront of the political stage, that’s for sure. You can’t imagine the situation they’re living in now and the actions that are being taken against them, from provocations and threats to open violence, psychological pressure and the creating of conditions that those behind these things believe will make their work impossible. We are proud of our people!

They have shown remarkable personality traits, such as comradeship and professionalism. I am referring both to our rank-and-file employees and to the senior officials in our foreign offices, as Sergey Lavrov pointed out.

We are reshuffling our personnel. Those who are returning home will be offered new positions. The relevant departments are regularly reporting on this to the minister.

As for foreign policy guidelines, we have redoubled efforts to strengthen our diplomacy on the eastern track and in Africa, Latin America and the CIS. The results will not be long in coming.

Question: Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Department of Economic Cooperation at the ministry, noted recently that the EU’s decision to suspend Russian oil and gas imports would have an extremely negative effect on the European and global economies. What effect will this embargo have on Russia? What countermeasures can your ministry take?

Maria Zakharova: The physical volume of Russian hydrocarbon exports has decreased amid the foreign sanctions pressure. However, we believe that our export revenues will at least not decrease, due to rapidly rising oil and gas prices. The so-called embargo, which the EU is now considering, could send oil prices soaring.

Our obvious logical response in this event would be to reorient our oil and gas exports.  This is not an easy task. It will involve changing logistics routes, as well as legal and business matters. Russia is already reorienting its coal, oil and gas export infrastructure towards the East. It is worth noting that energy needs around the world, and especially in the Asia Pacific region, will be growing. We have no doubt about demand for Russian energy resources. The Foreign Ministry is helping Russian companies find counterparties, including in Asia Pacific.

Question: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has pointed out that joining NATO will not strengthen the security of Sweden and Finland. As for economic ties, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has made several other unfriendly moves towards Russia, notably regarding the nuclear power plant project with Rosatom. Maybe a picture of possible economic losses should be provided to Helsinki?

Maria Zakharova: Finland is aware of its economic losses because of the European sanctions and our response measures. We regard the decision taken by Finland’s Fennovoima to stop cooperating with Rosatom companies within the framework of the agreement on the construction of the Hanhikivi 1 Nuclear Power Plant as openly politicised. It is obvious that the decision to stop that commercial project was forced on the client by the Finnish authorities, who were pressured by their foreign partners. It is not a coincidence that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which is responsible for energy matters, hastily welcomed that decision, which it described as “principled and consistent.” We know very well where such instructions are issued.

Rosatom State Corporation put forth its position on that matter in a May 2 statement. It expressed disappointment at the decision of Fennovoima Oy, which was taken without any detailed consultation with the project’s shareholders, the largest of which is RAOS Voima, which has a 34 percent stake in the project. Rosatom concluded that it reserved the right to defend its interests in accordance with applicable contracts and laws.

Question: Can you provide any information about those who left Azovstal? We know of discussions on a possible exchange on the Ukrainian side. Is there any discussion underway in Russia? We heard that Russian lawmakers are considering reinstating the death penalty for these people. What is the real situation?

Maria Zakharova: This is the competence of the Russian Ministry of Defence. At the same time, we would like to note that all the wounded and seriously injured people and anyone who needs medical assistance has been receiving it. They are in the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR. The rest have been placed in a pre-trial detention centre in Yelenovka, a suburb of Donetsk.

As for other issues, they will be resolved in due course. At this stage, the most important issue is the safe exit of everyone from Azovstal, and providing them with medical care, other necessary humanitarian assistance and accommodation.

As for other questions, we will certainly provide regular updates.

Question: Is an exchange being discussed?

Maria Zakharova: At this stage, the information I shared is all I have. I have nothing to add.

Our priority, the one we have been stating for three weeks, was their exit from Azovstal. We have persuaded people to come out every day, and made several announcements of humanitarian corridors for everyone including civilians, militants and military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Only now has the Kiev regime allowed them to do so. At the moment, our priorities are their safe exit and the provision of assistance to them. This problem needs to be solved, and it is being solved now.

Question: What happens to those civilians who came out through the humanitarian corridors, but were stopped by the “filtering” procedure? Where are they being held? Will they be entitled to due legal procedure? What are the conditions of where they are kept?

Maria Zakharova: You mean the people who came out – when? Today? Who are exiting now? Those who needed medical assistance are receiving it, or have received it by now. I can check where the rest went, because this matter is the competence of the Russian Ministry of Defence. I promise to find this information. I’ll check and get back to you.

Question: Why does Russia consider Ukraine’s NATO membership and its cooperation with NATO such a big threat, while, according to Sergey Lavrov, Finland’s NATO membership does not have such great importance for Russia?

Maria Zakharova: I do not remember Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying it the way you quoted. Let me find the exact quote.

We have long insisted that any expansion of NATO has a bearing on, and significance in the context of global international and, in particular, European security. This was the security guarantees we demanded, because we have seen the alliance expand and reach our borders. You certainly understand the difference between the situations in Finland and Ukraine.

I don’t know, maybe you have some additional information about growing numbers of nationalist battalions in Finland, for example? Maybe dozens of Pentagon biological laboratories are deployed in Finland and experimenting with dangerous pathogens? I am unaware of any information about Finland being pumped full of the same types of weapons that have been supplied to Ukraine under contracts or without contracts to an area of an armed intra-Finnish conflict, but perhaps you know about it? I don’t know anything about it. This is just a brief overview of the differences between Finland and Ukraine in the last decade.

The developments in Ukraine followed a dramatic scenario due to blatant interference by Washington, with the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev being one of the strongest catalysts. Perhaps you have information on a similar revolution in Finland? I don’t know anything about it. This is why the two situations are different, in broad strokes.

The choice of ways to ensure national security is (this is our underlying approach) the sovereign right of each country, but at the same time, it should not be ensured at the expense of other states.

We have no other choice left but to take retaliatory measures. The specifics – including the military-technical aspect – will depend on the terms of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership, including the deployment of foreign military bases and strike weapon systems on their territory.

As for the differences in our reactions to Finland joining NATO and Ukraine’s ambition to become a member of this military bloc, as the Russian side emphasised earlier, in particular, they stem from Kiev’s decision to include in its doctrinal documents its intention to return Crimea, a sovereign Russian territory, possibly by military means. Finland has no territorial claims to the Russian Federation. There are no documents where it would say it could use any means to return any Russian territory. This is another argument to add to the previous ones.

Question: What kind of military-technical measures does Russia plan to apply to Finland, and what might their timeframe be?

Maria Zakharova: It will be a surprise. A question is for the Defence Ministry. The corresponding decision will factor in the full scope of details and specifics of how Finland’s membership in NATO will unfold. The decision will be made based on all these parameters, and primarily, it will be up to the military.

Question: Is there any discussion on exchanging Azovstal prisoners for the Russian, DPR or LPR soldiers being held captive? We would also like to know something about the fate of Artyom Ryabovichev and Daniil Romanov from a DPR tank brigade. Some Russian journalists wrote about them. According to their reports, they have been prisoners since May 1. Ukrainian militants were torturing them on camera and posting the videos online. Earlier, Ukraine refused to exchange them, saying it would negotiate only with Russia rather than with the DPR. Is the Foreign Ministry aware of the fate of Ryabovichev and Romanov and are there plans to put them on the exchange lists?

Maria Zakharova: Normally, we join in when there are diplomatic relations. After February 24, when Kiev broke off diplomatic relations with Russia and closed the Russian foreign missions in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry lost its channels for dealing with issues like this. Nevertheless, during the special military operation, these problems are being handled by the Defence Ministry of Russia and Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova. The Foreign Ministry constantly informs them of any case of a Russian citizens being detained in Ukraine. All this information is being consolidated.

We are able to raise these issues at international venues. We put these questions to Kiev’s Western sponsors, drawing their attention to the Ukrainian neo-Nazis’ cruel and inhuman treatment of detained Russian soldiers and of People’s Militia fighters from the DPR and LPR. We demand that the standards of international humanitarian law be rigorously observed with respect to these men. We urge related international organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, to take exhaustive measures for their protection, specifically to gain access to them and honestly inform the international community about the results. We hope these efforts will help us find out more about the fate of these two DPR servicemen.

Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went on record as saying that Moscow has information indicating that Ukraine lacks independence at the talks and that it is “guided” by London and Washington. He also said that Russia had received no concrete proposals on Ukraine from the West. Does this mean that Moscow is losing interest in direct negotiations with Ukraine and wants the “collective West” to join the process?

Maria Zakharova: We showed an interest and displayed a lot of patience, an interest in all types of talks, for eight years. We came up with many possible scenarios on how these talks could be conducted. Currently, everything is being decided primarily on the ground.

When Ukraine showed an interest and signaled a desire to hold talks with Russia, we responded. But they started doing all they could to drag out the talks. When there was interest on the Ukrainian side, it was supported by Russia. At this point – the Russian Foreign Ministry and other agencies have commented on this – the Kiev regime is doing everything it can to prevent the talks from being held in a normal negotiating format.

The West has always been behind the Kiev regime, both the current and previous authorities. A “Western hand” has always guided the pen that was allegedly held by any representatives from Kiev. There is nothing new here, no breakthrough.

Question: How would you assess the work of the trilateral working group engaged in unblocking regional economic ties and communications, which is co-chaired by the deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan? What stage is the process at now and when can we expect obvious results?

Maria Zakharova: We have high regard for the work of the Trilateral Working Group (TWG). The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan gave similar assessments during their meeting with Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Dushanbe on May 12.

We believe that the unblocking of all transport and economic connections in the South Caucasus is one of the key goals in the context of the effort to normalise Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and, more broadly, to harmonise cooperation in the region.

The TWG co-chairs have regular meetings designed to work out solutions that will suit all sides. Last week, the Russian co-chair, Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk, visited Yerevan for talks with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Among other things, the officials discussed how to open communications in the region. The co-chairs inform the media of the specific results of the joint work on an individual basis.

Question: Are there any clear agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding a possible meeting of the Commission on Border Delimitation and Security, where Russia is expected to provide advisory support?

Maria Zakharova: We are consistently advocating the creation of a bilateral commission for the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, with its subsequent demarcation with Russia’s advisory assistance. Simultaneously, as the trilateral statement from the November 26, 2021 Sochi summit stipulates, steps are to be taken to increase stability and security on the border between the two countries.

This matter was discussed during the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers in Dushanbe. Our partners said they were close to completing the formation of their national delegations. Russia has already built an expert team. We hope that in the near future, we could launch practical work on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

We would like to emphasise that Russia has unique expert potential in border delimitation and settlement of border disputes between post-Soviet countries. We will be happy to share our experience and practices with our Armenian and Azerbaijani friends as part of the commission.

Question: The Azerbaijani side continues to violate the ceasefire on the border. On May 7, at around 1.50 pm, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired from different calibre firearms at the Sotk gold mine, injuring one of the mine employees. How would you comment on the Azerbaijani side’s actions against the civilian population?

Maria Zakharova: We are confident that the expeditious launch of the commission on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border would effectively prevent any further border incidents. The commission could contribute to developing confidence-building mechanisms, including, for example, by creating contact groups to ensure stability in the border areas.

Question: Recent photos of the Armenian Holy Resurrection Church in Hadrut, a province controlled by the Azerbaijani side, on social media show that its cross has been dismantled and the Armenian inscriptions erased. How would you assess the acts of vandalism against Armenian cultural and religious sites in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Maria Zakharova: I have no information on this score. As Russian representatives have repeatedly emphasised, we call on both parties to preserve the region’s cultural and historical heritage, involving specialised international agencies including UNESCO, if necessary.

Question: The situation in Afghanistan and border security was one of the main issues at the CSTO summit in Moscow. What measures are planned to ensure the security of member countries within the framework of this organisation?

Maria Zakharova: The situation in the CSTO area of responsibility and in the immediate vicinity of our borders makes us be as vigilant as possible and ready, if necessary, to respond timely and appropriately to emerging threats to the security of member nations. This is a task of the organisation.

Pursuant to the instructions given by the leaders at the CSTO Extraordinary Summit on August 23, 2021, CSTO member states prepared proposals for joint response measures to challenges and threats from the territory of Afghanistan. The Russian Federation has proposed a number of specific measures through its foreign policy departments, including:

– Strengthening foreign policy coordination to ensure a unified position of CSTO member states on the political settlement in Afghanistan. Involving representatives of the CIS and SCO secretariats in the meetings of the Working Group on Afghanistan under the CSTO Foreign Ministers Council;

– Intensifying contacts between the CSTO and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia;

– Stepping up cooperation between the competent agencies and special services of CSTO member states in detecting and neutralising extremist and terrorist cells in the countries of the Organisation;

– Taking a range of preventive measures as part of the unscheduled operations Nayomnik (Mercenary), PROXY and Nelegal (Illegal Alien);

– Focusing Kanal (Channel), a CSTO’s anti-drug operation, on suppressing drug trafficking along the “northern route”;

– Implementing joint measures to counter subversive propaganda by terrorist organisations in cyberspace on the basis of the CSTO’s 2016 List of Additional Measures to Counter International Terrorism and Extremism;

– Increasing cooperation between the CSTO and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee.

All these measures are being consistently implemented and serve to strengthen the security of all member states of the Organisation, as well as to maintain stability in the region as a whole.

Question: How does the Russian Federation view the escalating tensions in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan?

Maria Zakharova: We are concerned by the information provided by the official authorities of Tajikistan on the escalation of tensions in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, which, according to reports, was provoked by criminal elements and extremist sympathisers, who joined them. As a result, there were victims and casualties, including among Tajik law enforcement officers.

The Russian Embassy in Dushanbe is in constant contact with the country’s competent authorities. According to preliminary information, there are no Russian citizens among the victims.

The Tajik authorities promise to take the necessary measures to stabilise the situation and ensure the safety of Russian citizens who may be present on the scene.

Two months of Operation Z

May 12, 2022

Source

By Ljubiša Malenica 

After two months of conflict, situation inside Ukraine is somewhat clearer. However, despite the fact that we can now, with more understanding, observe what is happening on the ground, media and propaganda sources, between which the border is often blurred, complicate and make it difficult to build a completely clear picture of the unfolding events. Moreover, certain media, especially the Western ones, have completely abandoned even an attempt at objective reporting and turned, simply put, into propaganda mouthpieces without any credibility.

This text will try, based on available data from numerous sources, to offer a possible explanation for the most important events of the Russian military operation in Ukraine and to point out its importance in the context of continental security in Europe.

To begin with, we will look at the number of soldiers that each side had at its disposal at the beginning of the conflict. Before any Russian soldiers crossed Ukrainian border, both sides grouped troops for an extended period of time. While Kiev was increasing the number of its units in the Donbas area, that is, in the operational zone of what Kiev authorities called the anti-terrorist operation, Moscow was deploying troops on the border with Ukraine. According to Russian sources, before the beginning of the conflict, Kiev deployed nearly 125.000 soldiers in eastern Ukraine, close to half of its regular military forces.[1]During the current fighting in Ukraine, plans for offensive against Donbas republics were confirmed by captured Ukrainian soldiers[2] with additional documentation related to these preparations being revealed by Russian troops in territories previously controlled by Kiev.[3]

All of the above can be dismissed as Russian propaganda, but it should be noted that according to Western sources, the military forces of the two Donbas republics, together, in 2021 numbered just over 40.000 soldiers.[4] In general, total number of troops for Donbas republics varies, according to different sources, between forty and fifty thousand soldiers. One of the generally accepted, though blunt, rules of war points out that in case of an attack on fortified positions, it is desirable that the attacking side has three times number of soldiers in comparison to defenders, the well known 3:1 ratio.[5][6]

As can be seen, before the Russian operation, the ratio of conflicting troops in Donbas roughly corresponded to this rule, so it can be concluded, with a dose of caution, that Kiev really intended to conduct in Donetsk and Lugansk something similar to the Croatian operation “Storm”.[7]

In terms of numbers, at the very beginning of the Russian offensive, Ukrainian army had 245.000 active-duty soldiers,[8] along with an additional 220.000 in reserve.[9] According to some sources, Kiev had as many as 900,000 soldiers at its disposal in the reserve.[10] The number of members in paramilitary formations ranged from fifty to one hundred thousand.[11] After the start of the conflict, between six and ten thousand foreign mercenaries arrived in Ukraine, though numbers varie wildely depending on the source.

On the other hand, when talking about the number of Russian troops on the border, before beginning of the conflict, most of the Western media agreed in the estimate of one hundred thousand Russian soldiers.[12][13] We have already pointed out that most often used figure for military forces of Donetsk and Lugansk is close to 50.000. Generally speaking, in terms of the total number of Russian forces in Ukraine at the moment, figures between one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand soldiers are used.

If we accept that 900.000 reservists is unrealistic, and consider only the lesser number, we see that at very beginning of the conflict, more than half a million soldiers[14] were available to Kiev, as opposed to a maximum of 200.000 Russians and pro-Russians. According to Zelensky’s order, Ukraine mobilized its reserve units[15][16] already on February 23, and on April 8, Zelensky ordered a new, third, wave of mobilization related to reserve officers.[17]

Taking into account this information, it is clear that from the very beginning, balance of forces in terms of available manpower was, roughly speaking, 3:1 in favor of Ukraine. The romantic Western narrative that the conflict is between a weak but brave Ukraine and a strong but evil Russia has no basis in reality and serves exclusively as a propaganda construction.

Both sides have, on several occasions so far, presented results of their military actions, with information about their own and opponents’ losses. Apart from Russia and Ukraine, other indirect participants in this conflict, such as the United States and its NATO satellites, have published their own estimates, but, interestingly enough, only of Russian losses. According to Ukrainian sources, more than 20.000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far[18]. On the other hand, Moscow claims that the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the conflict so far surpasses 25.000. According to NATO sources, after a month of fighting, total Russian losses, killed together with the wounded, missing and captured, amounted to more than 40.000 men.[19] United States used similar figures in early April, as US authorities claimed at the time that number of killed Russian soldiers exceeded more than ten thousand.[20] During an interview for the American CNN, on April 14, Zelensky pointed out that number of killed Ukrainian soldiers is close to 3.000.[21]

Here Mariupol comes into play. In addition to its strategic and moral significance, Mariupol is important because it provides an opportunity to try and see more clearly the number of KIAs from the Ukrainian side. Namely, according to Russian sources, at the beginning of the siege, there was slightly more than 8.000[22] Ukrainian soldiers inside Mariupol. On the other hand, Kiev claims that Mariupol garrison did not number more than 3.500 people, in total.[23] So far we know two facts. During siege, between 1.200 and 1.500 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered to Russian troops.[24] We also know that there are up to two thousand Ukrainian fighters in the underground corridors of Azovstal, both ordinary soldiers and those from the Azov Battalion.[25] If we accept the Ukrainian version, we come to a paradoxical situation. Namely, during the heavy siege of Mariupol, characterized by daily battles, almost no soldier of the Ukrainian garrison died!

The math is quite simple and clear. If close to 1.500 Ukrainians surrendered, and close to 2.000 of them are still inside Azovstal, it can be concluded that the number of Ukrainian dead in Mariupol ranges from a few dozen to a maximum of a few hundred soldiers. From the initial garrison of 3.500 soldiers, almost all survived the full siege that began on March 2, that is, the siege that lasts a little more than sixty days at the time of writing. Statistically, this situation is impossible given that it tries to reconcile the fact that Russian troops occupied Mariupol completely, except for Azovstal itself, and assumption that very few Ukrainian soldiers were killed during this conquest, perhaps only a few.

Things look markedly different if Russian figures are taken into account. According to Moscow, the initial garrison numbered more than 8.000 soldiers. The two previously mentioned facts we know remain unchanged. The logical conclusion is the assumption that more than 4.000 Ukrainian soldiers died during the siege of Mariupol. If we accept this as a reasonable argument, then it further must be accepted that number of dead with which Zelensky appears before the public are nothing but propaganda. The case of Mariupol shows that more Ukrainian soldiers were killed in this city alone than Kiev claims to have died during the entire conflict.

It will be necessary to wait until end of the conflict for true information, but for purposes of this text and consideration regarding the number of soldiers killed on both sides, we can use two military statistical rules. It must be immediately pointed out that, although generally accepted, they do not represent highly precision tools but more of a general picture statistical aids. We have already pointed out the first, and it refers to the necessity of the attacking troops to be three times larger in number than the units which are defending fortified positions.[26] The second rule refers to ratio of dead and wounded soldiers[27] within the same army. This rule points out that number of wounded soldiers in relation to the number of killed ones, roughly speaking, usually corresponds to a ratio of 3:1. The lowest ratio of wounded to dead soldiers, which author encountered, was 2.5:1. According to US sources, troops of the United States, during their wars in the last three decades, were able to achieve a ratio of 10:1 and sometimes even 17:1. Such a high number of wounded in relation to number of killed soldiers is mostly attributed to progress of medical science, medical care on the battle lines, and the improvement in quality of personal protection for soldiers. At the same time, the fact that American troops fought against far, technologically speaking, inferior opponents must also be taken into account.

For purposes of this paper, we will be guided by a ratio of 3:1, since this is the accepted average ratio in both cases. Although it would be wisest for a person watching this conflict from the sidelines to approach each source with a certain amount of reserve, Ukraine’s statements regarding military losses, both its own and Russia’s, must be taken with a high dose of skepticism. This is a natural product of the fact that Kiev official channels have served as just another amplifier of propaganda announcements since very beginning of the Russian military operation. It is quite understandable that civilian population, especially in the modern world, decides on its own to get involved in propaganda war that accompanies every conflict, through false footage and staged images. It is understandable when state information warfare agencies construct various forms of propaganda pieces behind the scenes. What should be inadmissible is that official representatives of the Ukrainian authorities take part in this type of conflict, if preservation of trust in the same representatives is a goal.

So far, top Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, have willingly participated in spreading illusions about the existence of “Ghost of Kiev”,[28] the real events on Snake Island and the fate of Ukrainian soldiers there, the alleged Russian bombing of nuclear power plants, and clearly staged “massacres”in Bucha and Kramatorsk,[29] on the number of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine and the like. Given the long list of violations of this kind by regime in Kiev, the statements of Ukrainian authorities must be taken with suspicion.

In accordance with this, our attitude towards the number of killed Russian soldiers, according to the sources of the Ukrainian army, must be guided by suspicion as well. According to Kiev, more than 25.000 Russian fighters have died on the territory of Ukraine so far.[30] When we take into account the previously mentioned ratio of dead to wounded soldiers, the total number of Russian soldiers unavailable for further combat operations, in under seventy days of fighting, is close to catastrophic one hundred thousand. Let’s compare this with the initial estimates of the total number of Russian troops participating in the conflict. If we accept the maximum scenario, of 200.000 soldiers, Russian side lost squarely 50% of its manpower in Ukraine in roughly two and a half months. To the author, who has no military experience, such losses seem catastrophic, but more importantly, such losses would, logically, in major part, prevent further offensive actions of the Russian infantry, given that this level of losses leads to a conclusion that Ukrainian soldiers are not only more numerous but are qualitatively better than Russians. On the other hand, if we take a more conservative scenario of total number of Russian troops in Ukraine, that is, some 150.000, picture on the ground becomes even grimmer and indicates the inevitable collapse of Russian military operations.

However, when you look at the current situation, Russian military formations have retained their offensive capabilities and are currently showing initiative in the Donbas area. Moreover, judging by available data from the field, advance of Russian troops is slow but constant. Opposite to this, no large-scale Ukrainian offensive has been observed for the entire duration of the conflict. Certainly, at the start of the military operation Ukrainian units at local level were able to organize counterattacks or small-scale offensive actions, certain villages and smaller settlements swapped hands several times but the overall situation, translated into lines on the map, has shown a remarkably high degree of stability in terms of territory possession and control.

There is no doubt that in the first days and weeks of the conflict, Ukrainian forces offered strong resistance, which was accompanied by saturation of social networks with videos and pictures of destroyed Russian, or allegedly Russian, equipment and captured Russian soldiers. Turkish Bayraktar, which almost took on mythological qualities after the conflict in Artsakh, also played a significant role in this period. Foreign portable systems, such as Javelin, Stinger and NLAW, have further strengthened the offensive capabilities of Ukrainian troops against both Russian armor and aviation. Despite all of this, in a period of several weeks, Russian units managed to take, roughly speaking, one quarter of Ukraine. The only great achievement of the Ukrainian troops was reflected in “recovery” of territories that were previously controlled by Russian units deployed on the Northern and Kiev fronts. And this success, if we can call it that, stemmed from the fact that Ukrainian forces took control of the areas from which Russian troops had previously willingly withdrawn.

This observation opens the question of both Kiev and Northern front, that is, their true purposes. Depending on the source, one encounters variations of three different scenarios. The first scenario, represented by Kiev itself and a large number of Western media, sees Russian withdrawal as a defeat, caused by inability to capture the Ukrainian capital and marked with high material and human losses. Bear in mind that this is the Western interpretation of Russian intentions, given that Moscow has never mentioned capture of Kiev as one of its goals. If we accept the narrative that Ukrainian units defeated Russians near Kiev, we must assume the existence of technical capacities for such an endeavor, that is, use of appropriate air and armored forces, and other means of war. If we further assume that Ukraine had such technical capacities after thirty days of war, then we must logically ask why those same capacities were not used to destroy a huge Russian column, 60 kilometers long, that was stationed not far from Kiev for days.[31] The Western media incessantly droned about this concentration of Russian forces and showed satellite images of trucks and other techniques stretching along the highway. For a country that enjoys air superiority, such a sluggish column is a gift from heaven, and it represents extremely attractive target even for ground units. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions, however, during the entire period of existence of this column, not a single air strike or armored and infantry attack was organized by Ukraine.[32]

Second scenario represents a kind of compromise between first and the third. This rationale for Russia’s behavior presupposes that Northern and Kiev fronts were in fact opportunistic attempts to seize the capital and several other major cities while forcing the Ukrainian General Staff to redeploy its available forces from their initial positions on a nearly 3.000-kilometer long line of contact.[33][34]

The final possibility is that both of these fronts were in fact, from the very beginning, feint fronts[35] whose main purpose was to attract and keep in place a significant part of Ukrainian forces in the north and northwest of the country so as to ensure easier maneuvering and advance for Russian troops on the Southern and Eastern fronts, while simultaneously hampering attempts to replace losses and provide logistical support to Ukrainian troops in Donbas. Led by the assumed number of Russian troops in Ukraine, each front could field maximum of thirty-five to fifty thousand Russian soldiers at the beginning of the operation. DPR and LPR troops are included here. Personal opinion of author is that with this number of soldiers, it was not possible to take Kiev, a city of 2.5 million inhabitants, under any circumstances. If we presume Kiev had a garrison of only 30.000, then Russians would need to have at least 100.000 soldiers besieging just the capital, not to mention need to control all those territories which were under Russian control while North and Kiev fronts were active. Also bear in mind many larger cities remained under Ukrainian control, which would require even more Russian troops. Even some Western sources, after Moscow announced its withdrawal from the Northern and Kiev fronts, warned that this was not a defeat for Russia but a regrouping of Russian troops so they could be redeployed in Donbas proper.[36][37][38][39]

We have already mentioned that Maria Zakharova placed number of Ukrainian soldiers in the east close to 120.000, before Russian troops entered Ukraine. Western sources currently estimate that there are between 40.000 and 60.000[40] Ukrainian troops in Donbas, roughly the equal number to that before conflict escalated in 2021.[41] Assuming that these figures are correct, or at least approximately true, it can be concluded that Northern and Kiev fronts attracted close to 50% of Ukrainian forces from Donbas area.

As in the previous phase, it is now clear that Ukrainian forces currently do not have the ability to organize a major military operation that would critically jeopardize the results of Russian advances so far. The air superiority of Russian Federation is unquestionable at this point, and can be easily noticed by the daily campaigns of bombing raids by Aerospace forces of the Russian Federation, complemented by often use of cruise missiles. Russian helicopter units continue their operations, as well as armored and motorized forces, but we see very limited activity of these branches from the Ukrainian force, unlike in the first weeks of conflict. The agony of Ukrainian and Nazi troops captured in Azovstal continues, especially in the light of the fact that Zelensky himself recently pointed out it was impossible to relieve the besieged troops through a military operation.[42] If it is already impossible to organize a large-scale military operation to regain Mariupol, then the same can be assumed regarding a possible operation aimed at supporting Ukrainian troops in Donbas.

At the time of writing, transfer of main operations to the Donbass theatre is noticeable. This front is important for both Russia and Ukraine. One of main reasons is the fact that, according to various estimates, the most capable[43] Ukrainian troops are situated in Donbas. From Moscow’s perspective, eliminating this group would mean removing the best Ukrainian units from the battlefield. From Kiev’s perspective, these troops have the best chance of blunting and eventually stopping Russia’s advance, especially given the fact that Ukraine has been fortifying the area of ​​current operations for eight years.

In everyday events, a special aspect of this conflict has remained largely neglected. Main reason for this is the constant propaganda work of the Western media, which managed from the very beginning, to create a romanticized image of the Ukrainian army. When main Western media talk about Ukrainian troops, in most cases positive terms are used, and even when they refer to well-known neo-Nazi units. Overnight, they all became “brave Ukrainian defenders”, “fighters against Putin’s aggression”, “protectors of Europe from tyranny”, gaining these and many other positive characteristics. On the other hand, the narrative about Russians is diametrically opposed, and terms like “aggressors”, “murderers”, “rapists of Ukrainian women and children”, “Putin’s war machine” and similar are in plentiful supply.

When an individual encounters this Hollywood-made portrayal of conflicting parties again and again, certain mental image of Ukrainians and Russians inevitably begins to emerge. Hyperhumanized, Ukrainian forces are waging a just war, their struggle is also our struggle, they are the guys from the neighborhood, factory workers, teachers, musicians, everyday good people. Opposite them are the Russians, faceless “orcs” emerging from the dark Asian steppe, not even people, but only cogs in the great mechanism of Putin’s war machine that will destroy the whole of Europe as soon as it ends with Ukraine. The dehumanization of the enemy is not foreign to any war, but in this case it has a secondary goal, and that is to present Ukraine as a weaker party, in every sense.

As we have already pointed out, only in terms of available manpower, Ukraine had an advantage of at least 3:1 at the beginning of the conflict, when we compare maximum assumptions about the number of soldiers on both sides. Additionally, often overlooked is the fact that Russian soldiers are currently in conflict with soldiers trained according to NATO standards. Moreover, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed this when he pointed out that the alliance countries had trained “tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers in previous years, provided modern equipment and supported reforms. Ukraine’s forces are now larger, better equipped, better trained and better led than ever before”.[44][45] According to Western sources, within Yavoriv base alone, five Ukrainian battalions were trained during a single year.[46]

Military assistance of the United States, which amounted to more than 2.7 billion dollars in the period from 2014 to 2021, depended on military reforms within Ukraine. One of these reforms focused on Ukraine’s ability to integrate its logistical support with other NATO units during joint operations.[47] Back in 2016, Poroshenko himself sought and obtained experienced military advisers from United States, Canada, Great Britain, Lithuania and Germany, whose purpose was to modernize Ukrainian units and reach NATO standards by 2020, thus achieving a high degree of compatibility with units from other alliance countries.[48][49] Ukraine maybe never would officially become a member of NATO, but judging by the mentioned sources, most of the military institutions in the country are already organized in accordance with NATO procedures and that is telling.

From the author’s perspective, what is currently happening in Ukraine is a conflict between the Russian and Western concepts of war, that is, the concept of war as conceived by NATO. Among other things, this conflict is also a question of the prestige for the West, which has so far seen itself as the most militarily capable bloc on the planet. Having trained Ukrainian ground army[50] to NATO standards and equipped it with anti-tank and anti-aircraft portable systems, the West is now observing performance of these forces against Russian troops. This is, as well, one of reasons for the omnipresent Western propaganda campaign. Moreover, within this conflict, it is necessary to view Ukrainian media and propaganda sources as organic offshoots of Western intelligence agencies and public relations firms, of which at least 150 have participated in creating and spreading propaganda for Kiev since the beginning of hostilities.[51][52] Likewise, make no mistake, majority if not all intelligence at disposal of Kiev is of NATO origin.

In an event that Ukrainian troops are defeated by Russian units, it will be clear that equipping and training army in accordance with NATO standards does not guarantee the highest level of combat capability. At the same time, the possible defeat of Ukraine will shake the reputation of NATO itself, especially the United States, whose last year’s debacle in Afghanistan is still fresh in memory. Russia’s eventual victory would be the second major case in modern times where forces equipped and trained by the West have been defeated by non-Western armies.

In this context, one should also observe the huge military aid that has been pouring into Kiev for two months now by countries of the West and European Union. As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently pointed out, the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”[53] This only confirms what many analysts have already pointed out, that Kiev and Moscow are not at war in Ukraine, but Russia against the collective West led by Washington. The United States needs, both for domestic and foreign policy, Russian defeat in Ukraine.

This is the only way to explain the fabulous sums of money which have, in form of military equipment and financial support, flooded into Kiev from both the United States and European Union. A spokeswoman for the US president, Jen Psaki, told a news conference on April 28 that “as you know, we had $3.5 billion in military security assistance. We have about $250 million of that left in drawdown. So, obviously, we will work to expedite that and provide that to the Ukrainians”.[54] For reference sake, US Congress approved this aid package on March 10![55][56] A new package of American aid for Ukraine,[57] more than 30 billion dollars, is already prepared, according to the lend-lease principle that was used during the Second World War. Under this new tranche of aid, more than fifteen billion dollars will be spent for military purposes. Moreover, if you follow the process of creating this act, you can see that it was introduced into the Senate procedure[58] on January 19, 2022, that is, 15 billion dollars for Kiev in the form of American military equipment was planned at least a month before the Russian operation.

At the same time, most countries within NATO and the collective West provide military assistance to Ukraine. However, some countries, such as Bulgaria,[59] have refused to provide military assistance to Kiev from the outset for reasons of their own political stability, while others, such as Canada[60] and Greece, have ended shipments of military equipment due to depletion of reserves which jeopardize their own security.[61] In a recent address to Bundestag, German Minister of Defense, Kristina Lambrecht, pointed out Berlin’s limitation on further arming Ukraine comes due to problems facing Bundeswehr itself. According to Lambrecht, Germany has on paper 350 Puma infantry fighting vehicles, but in reality, only 150 of them are combat capable. The situation with Tiger combat helicopters is no different – only 9 out of 51 can take off.[62][63] On April 28, Stoltenberg pointed out that NATO allies had sent military aid worth eight billion dollars to Ukraine since start of the conflict.[64]

As we can see, the lion’s share[65] of this burden has been taken over by Washington, but when you consider that West mostly procures its weapons from the United States, it is clear that this “aid” is actually a kind of financial incentive for the US military-industrial complex.[66] According to American sources, by April 22, Washington had delivered more than 11.000 portable anti-tank systems to Kiev, including 4.500 Javelins. In the same period, Ukrainian troops received close to 1.400 Stinger systems. So far, these deliveries also included personal protective equipment, Humwie off-road vehicles, helicopters, huge amounts of ammunition, UAVs, radar systems, patrol boats and more.[67]

Thanks to this feverish pace of weapons delivery to Kiev, people connected with US army warn of reduction to their own stockpiles of weapons. The head of Raytheon pointed out that it will be possible to replenish Stinger reserves, not just in United States but also in other NATO countries, only in 2023 and 2024 due to lack of components and production capacities.[68] The situation regarding Javelin reserves is no better. According to sources from the American administration, number of Javelin systems in US reserves has been reduced by one third, and their replacement can be expected in just under three years.[69][70][71]

It is important to keep in mind that all portable systems that arrive in Ukraine end up in three categories. Some of them reach end users at the front, some are captured by Russian troops, while some, apparently, end up on the black market and are sold to unknown actors.

Free, and therefore questionable, author’s estimate is that Russian units have so far captured at least several thousand different portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems. Washington and its allies do not seem to be worried about the undoubted fact that specimens of their vaunted systems have probably already ended up in hands of Russian engineers.[72] At the same time, the West seems unconcerned about the possibility that advanced military equipment will fall into hands of various other groups, with special emphasis on criminals and terrorists, given that United States loses the ability to track delivered equipment as soon as it crosses the Ukrainian border.[73] Proliferation of this weapons among current opponents of the West, Russian Federation and CPR, certainly does not exclude possibility of its spread among various militias and terrorist organizations in the Middle East and elsewhere in the future. On the contrary, Moscow and Beijing might be more than willing to create problems for US in the same manner Washington is creating for them in Ukraine and Taiwan. With everything mentioned above, question of the efficiency for all these Western systems delivered to Ukraine must be raised.

A little over a month ago, during one of his speeches, Zelensky pointed out that Kiev needs 500 Javelins and the same number of Stingers, on a daily basis.[74] We can assume with some certainty that this is an exaggeration, but what if we reduce the number of these systems to 100 Javelins and Stingers per day? The legitimate question is where and why so many of these systems are consumed on a daily basis. The two answers that arise, although they may not be the only ones possible, are that the capabilities of the Russian armor and aviation were underestimated or that the capabilities of the delivered systems were overestimated.

A common feature of all Western systems, in which we will include Turkish Bayraktar, was a status of “miraculous” weapons that should drastically change the balance of power in conflict by its very presence. The Stingers were praised as an unsurpassed tool against planes and helicopters, Javelins against tanks and armored vehicles, while Bayraktars were presented as a danger against any type of unit found on the battlefield. Many analysts and amateur cheerleaders have missed that even some research institutions in the West have questioned the ability of these systems to influence the overall outcome of the conflict.[75]

However, what we see in the field at the moment is far from the image that was built through the media. In the first few weeks of conflict, we really had the opportunity to watch in action all of these Western systems against Russian troops, although it is necessary to point out that even then propaganda activities often smuggled videos from previous wars as events from conflict in Ukraine. After the first three to four weeks, all those who have been following this conflict since its beginning have seen a sharp decline in number of publications and videos showing either captured Russian soldiers or use of foreign weapons against Russian units. In that same period, a significant increase in material could be noticed from Russian sources, which showed destroyed or captured Ukrainian equipment and downed drones, with special emphasis on Bayraktars. In his recent address to the public, Zelensky himself, referring to Turkish drones, pointed out that “with all due respect, Bayraktar and other drones can help, but it won’t affect the result”.[76][77][78] This is far from the earlier euphoric rhetoric[79] which accompanied Bayraktar, but also other drones such as Switchblade, Phoenix Ghost and Punisher.

Almost from very beginning of the conflict, Zelensky appealed[80] to Western governments for delivery of heavy weapons, which would include fighters, tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, air defense systems, infantry transporters and helicopters, in addition to already presumed shipments of light weapons and equipment. According to the Kiev wish list, which has been circulating on Russian side of the internet for some time, Ukraine needs more than 200 planes, more than 350 air defense systems, more than 400 tanks and other heavy weapons, which also number in the hundreds.[81][82] One Western analyst noted with irony that these quantities of weapons are not needed by a winning army but by military forces starting from zero. According to data of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the heaviest losses so far have been suffered by the units of Ukrainian infantry and armored forces, which to a certain extent coincides with Zelensky’s requests. The Ukrainian navy and aviation, as factors capable of influencing outcome of the conflict, have not existed since the first week of Russian operations.

According to current information, Zelensky’s appeals bore fruit, but only partially. European Union countries are indeed sending heavy weapons to Kiev, but in a significant number of cases they are non-modernized combat systems more than four decades old. Poland sends 200 T-72[83] tanks to Kiev, Germany is ready to sell 50 Leopard 1 tanks, last time modernized in the end of the eighties.[84][85] United States will deliver its M113 armored personnel carriers from Vietnam War, which are largely obsolete today.[86] The United Kingdom, Norway, Australia and other countries have also promised, and some have already delivered, combat vehicles and other heavy weapons to Kiev. Observing the rate of the conflict escalation, one wonders how long will they be able to finance Kiev, especially when we take into consideration current unenviable economic situation in the West coupled with negative forecasts of economic trends in the future.[87][88][89]

While heavy fighting continues in Donbas, the inability of Ukrainian troops to organize an effective counter-offensive, both quantitatively and qualitatively, raises the question of what will happen to Ukraine when/if Russian units fulfill their task and completely defeat enemies in Donbas. If this scenario unfolds, it is doubtful that another similar Ukrainian force exists, capable of taking on burden of fighting Russian troops. The defeat in Donbas, that is, the destruction or surrender of more than 50.000 Ukrainian soldiers, most likely represents an end to Kiev’s hopes for a positive outcome in the conflict and imposes capitulation as the only option. On the other hand, defeat of Russian troops entails the possibility of crisis and internal instability within Russian Federation together with impression of external weakness. Even the heavy weapons that Zelensky demands do not have to affect the course of the fight at all, considering that Russia has initiated more frequent attacks on transport hubs, bridges, electric network and presumed ammunition and equipment warehouses. Attacks with cruise missiles on energy infrastructure and oil depots have been going on for several weeks, and the lack of this energy source is starting to be felt across Ukraine itself.[90][91]

At the same time, Ukraine has become a hole in which foreign weapons are disappearing and, most likely, finding buyers on the black market. Some certainly reach Ukrainian units, but some also fall into the hands of Russian troops. It is almost impossible to expect that this massive infusion of weapons will not jeopardize the security of both the Middle East and Europe itself, which, apparently driven by desire for economic suicide, could overnight find itself in a much worse situation, socially and economically, than the one it is in presently.[92] As prices of basic foodstuffs, utilities and fuel rise, governments across EU will have trouble explaining to their citizens why fabulous sums are being set aside for Ukraine and the new militarization of the continent. On the other hand, we should not forget the problems of Taiwan and China. Can the collective West afford to spend precious military reserves on Ukraine after Washington showed its intention to turn Taiwan into an Asian copy of Ukraine?

Russia’s central bank pointed out that full stabilization of country’s economy is expected in 2024. The ruble has already recovered and is stronger as a currency now than before the military operation began, while inflation has returned to the level recorded before Russian troops entered Ukraine.[93][94] Reorientation and restructuring of Russian economy is expected as a logical product of economic attacks, with special emphasis on opening up to Asian countries and developing its own capacities in order to replace imports from abroad. Russian Federation will reorient itself towards Asia, which will certainly be accompanied by difficulties and challenges, but where will Europe turn if it really cuts itself off from Russian energy sources.

One certain consequence from all these events will be a decline in the level of security and economic stability in Europe. The decline in living standards is almost inevitable, which will, in turn, lead to progressive radicalization or demoralization of the population. The internal cohesion of the Union, already on shaky ground, will only decrease. Political dependence on imperial policy of Washington will undermine the sovereignty of European Union and its prestige on the global level. All of this will be presented as a result of Vladimir Putin’s evil genius and despotic aspirations. As usual, this will not be the truth. The only culprit for the current situation is the NATO alliance and political elite of its leading country, United States. Negative economic and social trends within the collective West will provoke a backlash from their populations, characterized by violence. No matter what form of instability it takes, Europe will be far more exposed to the crisis, given that Washington will use every instrument at its disposal, for sake of its own survival, to transfer the negative consequences of its current moves onto its European satellites in the future.

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Sitrep: Russia is too slow, and other canards

May 06, 2022

Source

by Saker Staff

Looking back at the bigger picture, i.e., Russia is too slow, and other canards:

February 21 president of Russia Vladimir Putin signed a decree to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR and promised to support the republics. On February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the republics of Donbass with a request for help.

The President stressed that Moscow’s plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. Since that time, an operation has been underway on the territory of Ukraine to denazify the country and liberate the civilian population from the Kiev regime.

So that is a refresher on what the focus and objectives are of Russia’s SMO.  Keep this in mind in your commenting.

“Reach Out and Touch Someone”

Highly recommended by Andrei Martynov, Larry Johnson tells us exactly what this means:

A common theme marshaled to “prove” that Russia is failing in its war with Ukraine is that Russia failed to quickly take Kiev and, in fact, was forced to retreat from Kiev. In addition, the military analysts that populate the cable news channels in the United States insist that the Russians are bogged down and not making the rapid progress they (the Russians) expected.

This is nonsense. I defy anyone to show me one statement by Putin or the Russian General Staff where a specific timeline was established or identified. This is a construct of western military analysts who do not have access to Russia’s military plan and are projecting their own wishful thinking as “evidence” of a flailing Russian military.

Russia is not sitting on its haunches licking its wounds. Rather than send troops against fortified positions, Russia continues to hit targets throughout Ukraine with precision missiles. Here is the activity reported on May 4:

  • Russia attacked railway substation in Pyatihatki with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked railway substation in Tymkove with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked railway substation in Volovets with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked railway substation in Lviv with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked railway substation in Pidbirtsi with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked military assets of the AFU near Protopopovka with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked military assets of the AFU near Novaya Dmitrovka with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked military assets of the AFU near Sandjeika with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked military assets of the AFU near Krysino with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked military assets of the AFU near Volnyansk with a high-precision missile;
  • Russia attacked military assets of the AFU near Novoalexandrovka with a high-precision missile.

Larry goes further with a video of a bombardment of Mykolaev aka Nikolaev explaining the  “reach out and touch someone” strategy and explaining that if you think that enduring this kind of shelling is inconsequential, then you have no appreciation of the limits of human endurance to such a sustained barrage.

Russia is reaching out and touching someone with each of their actions!

Read the whole thing and seriously revise the canard of ‘Russia is moving too slow’.  Take a note of The Ukrainian supply lines (just about non-existent), the economy, and the nature of the Russian ground strategy.  He says:

“… I am offering an alternative explanation for Russia’s ground strategy. They are under no deadline. They are not going to send their military units into head-on assaults and risk unnecessary casualties.

And they are going to bomb Ukrainian units relentlessly until they surrender or are destroyed. Time is on Putin’s side.

https://sonar21.com/the-russian-timeline-critique-in-the-ukraine/embed/#?secret=AgLVS7pwxz#?secret=PKt2oDXnk4

Russia is raining a curtain of steel:

Then we will look at another westerner commenting on the Russian strategy.  Brian Berletic is a marine and he has published for many years from the east.  He explains what Russia is doing now on the ground by saying they are raining a curtain of steel.

A summary:

The US and its allies spent 8 years building up the military the Ukraine had at the beginning of Russian military operations in February 2022. This Ukrainin military failed to prevent Russian forces now from shaping the battlefield in Donbas creating the conditions for Ukrainian forces there to be cut off, encircled, and systematically destroyed.

After 8 years – this was the best the US and its allies could do to prepare Ukraine. Despite the urgent (reported) flood of weapons and money into Ukraine now along with remedial training programs – nothing now can be done better or quicker than over the past 8 years – Russia is removing Ukrainian combat capabilities off the battlefield faster than the Ukraine and its allies can replace or regenerate it.

https://odysee.com/$/embed/russia-makes-slow-steady-progress-in/2737cb0027898b0bd79446cd194f86d223c5960b

For detail of the past 24 hours, fierce fighting is still taking place.

Take a look at the Readovka report:  https://readovka.news/news/96041
Yandex will give you the best translation.

There is much FUD being spread about the Red Babushka.  Please be very careful what you read and watch, as the last video is a propaganda of the Ukies.  We wait!

Ukrainian fighting forces are fierce but they have some help:

One of the fighters of the nationalist battalion who laid down arms told about combat drugs used by Ukrainian fighters to suppress fear and lower the threshold for pain. These drugs were supplied to them by volunteers.

💬 “…I can tell you about some medication called Ephedrine, supplied by volunteers to our unit. We used this drug just before the fight, after that we lost the feeling of fear, we could calmly go into battle, being afraid of absolutely nothing…”

https://t.me/mod_russia_en/1356

Another canard needs some debunking.  RT (bless their socks!) had a headline that Putin apologized for Mr.Lavrov’s comments on Jewishness.  And this is being passed around (by our own FUD delivering colleagues) as how bad Mr. Putin is.  Well, here is the readout.  Confirm for yourselves, there is no apology there. http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68356

And it would be a good thing to question all the various announcements and pronouncements on new weapons being supplied to the Ukraine.  Frequently the announcement and the presser are done to the applause of the collective west, but the weapons never make it.   Ukraine is not getting the 40-year old Gepard tanks as it was promised.  Reason, no ammo.  Switzerland makes ammo for these, but they cannot supply to conflict zones.  (Or perhaps, they have none?).

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the Xinhua News Agency (China), April 30, 2022

May 01, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1811525/

Question: What do you think is at the root of the Ukrainian crisis? What can the international community do to solve this problem?

Sergey Lavrov:  When we talk about the Ukrainian crisis, first of all we need to look at the destructive policy of the Western states conducted over many years and led by the United States, which set a course to knock together a unipolar world order after the end of the Cold War. NATO’s reckless expansion to the East was a key component of those actions, despite the political obligations to the Soviet leadership on the non-expansion of the Alliance. As you know, those promises were just empty words. All these years, NATO infrastructure has been moving closer and closer to the Russian borders.

The West was never concerned about the fact that their actions grossly violated their international obligations not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. In particular, Washington and Brussels arrogantly rejected the initiatives put forward by Russia in December 2021 to ensure our country’s security guarantees in the west: to stop the expansion of NATO, not to deploy armaments that pose a threat to Russia in Ukraine and to return the Alliance’s military infrastructure to the 1997 configuration, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed.

It is well-known that the United States and NATO member states have always viewed Ukraine as a tool to contain Russia. Over the years, they have actively fuelled anti-Russia sentiments there, forcing Kiev to make an artificial and false choice: to be either with the West or with Moscow.

It was the collective West that first provoked and then supported the anti-constitutional coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. Nationalists came to power in Ukraine and immediately unleashed a bloody massacre in Donbass, and set the course on the destruction of everything Russian in the rest of the country. Let me remind you that it was precisely because of this threat that the people of Crimea voted in a referendum for the reunification with Russia in 2014.

Over these past years, the United States and its allies have done nothing to stop the intra-Ukrainian conflict. Instead of encouraging Kiev to settle it politically based on the Minsk Complex of Measures, they sent weapons, trained and armed the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions, and generally carried out the military-political development of Ukraine’s territory. They encouraged the aggressive anti-Russia course pursued by the Kiev authorities. In fact, they pushed the Ukrainian nationalists to undermine the negotiating process and resolve the Donbass issue by force.

We were deeply concerned about the undeclared biological programmes implemented in Ukraine with Pentagon’s support in close proximity to the Russian borders. And, of course, we could not disregard the Kiev leadership’s undisguised intentions to acquire a military nuclear potential, which would create an unacceptable threat to Russia’s national security.

In these conditions, we had no other choice but to recognise the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and launch the special military operation. Its aim is to protect people from genocide by the neo-Nazis, as well as to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine. I would like to stress that Russia is acting to fulfil its obligations under bilateral agreements on cooperation and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, at the official request of Donetsk and Lugansk under Article 51 of the UN Charter on the right to self-defence.

The special military operation launched on February 24 is progressing strictly in accordance with the plan. All its goals will be achieved in spite of our opponents’ counteractions. At the moment we are witnessing a classic case of double standards and hypocrisy of the Western establishment. By publicly supporting the Kiev regime, NATO member states are doing everything in their power to prevent the completion of the operation by reaching political agreements. Various weapons are flowing endlessly into Ukraine through Poland and other NATO countries. All of this is being done under the pretext of “fighting the invasion”, but in fact the United States and the European Union intend to fight Russia “to the last Ukrainian.” They do not care at all about the fate of Ukraine as an independent subject of international relations.

The West is ready to jeopardise the energy and food security of entire regions of the globe to satisfy its own geopolitical ambitions.

What ither explanation is there for the unrestrained flywheel of anti-Russian sanctions launched by the West with the start of the operation and which they aren’t thinking of stopping?

If the United States and NATO are truly interested in settling the Ukrainian crisis, then, first, they must come to their senses and stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Kiev. The Ukrainian people do not need Stingers and Javelins; what they need is a solution to urgent humanitarian issues.

Russia has been doing this since 2014. During this time, tens of thousands of tonnes of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to Donbass, and about 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid have already arrived in the part of Ukraine liberated from the Kiev regime, the DPR and the LPR, since the launch of the special military operation.

Second, it is essential that the Kiev regime stops cynical provocations, including in the information space. Ukrainian armed formations are barbarically shelling cities using civilians as living shields. We saw examples of this in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. Captured Russian servicemen are being abused with animal cruelty, and these atrocities are being posted online. At the same time, they use their Western patrons and global media controlled by the West to accuse the Russian army of war crimes. As they say, laying the blame at somebody else’s door.

It is high time for the West to stop unconditionally whitewashing and covering up for Kiev. Otherwise,

Washington, Brussels and other Western capitals should consider their responsibility for complicity in the bloody crimes perpetrated by the Ukrainian nationalists.

Question: What measures has Russia taken to protect the lives and property of civilians? What efforts has it made to establish humanitarian corridors?

Sergey Lavrov: As I mentioned earlier, the special military operation is proceeding according to plan. Under this plan, the Russian military personnel are doing everything in their power to avoid victims among civilians. Blows are carried out with high-precision weapons, first of all at military infrastructure facilities and places where armoured vehicles are concentrated. Unlike the Ukrainian army and nationalist armed groups that use people as living shields, the Russian army provides the locals with all kinds of assistance and support.

Humanitarian corridors open daily from Kharkov and Mariupol to evacuate people from dangerous districts, but the Kiev regime demands that the “national battalions” in control of those areas do not release the civilians. Nevertheless, many are able to leave with the assistance of Russian, DPR and LPR servicemen. During the special military operation, the hotline of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine has received requests for assistance in evacuating 2.8 million people to Russia, including 16,000 foreign citizens and employees of UN and OSCE international missions. In total, 1.02 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine, the DPR and LPR, of which over 120,000 are citizens of third countries, including over 300 Chinese nationals. There are over 9,500 temporary accommodation facilities operating in Russian regions. They have space for rest and hot meals, and everything that may be necessary. Newly arrived refugees are provided with qualified medical and psychological assistance.

Russia is taking measures to ensure civilian navigation in the Black and Azov seas. A humanitarian corridor opens daily, a safe lane for ships. However, Ukraine continues to block foreign ships, creating a threat of shelling in its internal waters and territorial sea. Moreover, Ukrainian naval units have mined the shore, the ports and territorial waters. These explosive devices disconnect from their anchor lines and drift into the open sea, so they pose a serious danger to both the fleets and the port infrastructure of the Black Sea countries.

Question: Since the special military operation was launched in Ukraine, Western counties have adopted a large number of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. How do you think these sanctions will affect Russia? What are the main countermeasures taken by Russia? Some say that a new Cold War has begun. How would you comment on that?

Sergey Lavrov: It is true that the special military operation was used by the collective West as a pretext to unleash numerous restrictions against Russia, as well as its legal entities and individuals. The United States, Great Britain, Canada and EU countries do not conceal that their goal is to strangle our economy by undermining its competitiveness and blocking Russia’s progressive development. At the same time, the Western ruling circles are not embarrassed by the fact that anti-Russian sanctions are already beginning to harm ordinary people in their own countries. I mean the declining economic trends in the United States and many European countries, including growing inflation and unemployment.

It is clear that there can be no excuse for this anti-Russian line and it has no future. As President Vladimir Putin said, Russia has withstood this unprecedented pressure. Now the situation is stabilising, though, of course, not all risks are behind us.

In any case, they will not succeed in weakening us. I am confident that we will restructure the economy and protect ourselves from our opponents’ possible illegitimate and hostile actions in the future. We will continue to give a fitting and adequate response to the imposed restrictions, guided by the goal of maintaining the stability of the Russian economy and its financial system, as well as the interests of domestic businesses and the entire nation. 

We will focus our efforts on de-dollarisation, de-offshorisation, import substitution, and promotion of technological independence.

We will continue to adapt to external challenges and step up development programmes for promising and competitive industries.

During the period of turbulence, our retaliatory special economic measures needed to ensure the normal functioning of the Russian economy will be continued and expanded. As a responsible player on the international market, Russia intends to continue scrupulously fulfilling its obligations under international contracts on export deliveries of agricultural products, fertilisers, energy carriers and other critical products. We are deeply concerned about a possible food crisis provoked by the anti-Russian sanctions, and we are well aware how important the deliveries of essential goods, such as food, are for the socioeconomic development of Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries.

I will be brief as regards the second part of your question. Today we are not talking about a new “cold war,” but, as I said earlier, about the persistent desire to impose a US-centric model of the world order coming from Washington and its satellites, who imagine themselves to be “arbiters of humankind’s fate.” It has reached the point where the

Western minority is trying to replace the UN-centric architecture and international law formed after World War II with their own “rule-based order.” These rules are written by Washington and its allies and then imposed on the international community as binding.

We must realise that the United States has been carrying out this destructive policy for several decades now. It is enough to recall NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia, attacks on Iraq and Libya, attempts to destroy Syria, as well as the colour revolutions that Western capitals staged in a number of countries, including Ukraine. All of this came at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and resulted in chaos in various regions of the planet.

The West tries to crudely suppress those who carry out an independent course in their domestic and foreign policy. Not just Russia. We can see how bloc thinking is being imposed in the Asian-Pacific Region. We can recall the Indo-Pacific strategy promoted by the United States, which has a pronounced anti-China tendency. The US seeks to dictate the standards according to which Latin America should live, in the spirit of the outdated Monroe Doctrine. This explains many years of the illegal trade embargo on Cuba, sanctions against Venezuela, as well as attempts to undermine stability in Nicaragua and other countries. The pressure on Belarus continues in the same context. This list can go on.

It is clear that the collective West’s efforts to oppose the natural course of history and solve its problems at the expense of others are doomed. Today the world has several decision-making centres; it is multipolar.

We can see how quickly Asian, African, and Latin American countries are developing. Everyone is getting a real freedom of choice, including where it comes to choosing their development models and participation in integration projects. Our special military operation in Ukraine also contributes to the process of freeing the world from the West’s neocolonial oppression heavily mixed with racism and a complex of exceptionalism.

The faster the West accepts the new geopolitical situation, the better it will be for the West itself and for the entire international community.

As President Xi Jinping said at the Boao Forum for Asia, “We need to uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security.”

Question: Russian-Ukrainian talks have attracted close attention of the international community. What are the main obstacles to the talks today? How do you regard the prospects of a peace treaty between the two parties? What kind of bilateral relations does Russia intend to have with Ukraine in the future?

Sergey Lavrov: At present the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are holding discussions on the possible draft almost daily, via videoconference. This document should contain such elements of the post-conflict situation as permanent neutrality, the non-nuclear, non-bloc and demilitarised status of Ukraine, as well as guarantees of its security. The agenda of the talks also includes denazification, recognition of the new geopolitical reality, the lifting of sanctions and the status of the Russian language, among other things. Settling the situation in Ukraine will make a significant contribution to the de-escalation of the military and political tensions in Europe and the world in general. The establishment of an institution of guarantor states is envisaged as a possible option. First of all, they will be the permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia and China. We share information on the progress in the talks with Chinese diplomats. We are grateful to Beijing and other BRICS partners for their balanced position on the Ukrainian issue.

We are in favour of continuing the talks, although the process is difficult.

You are right to ask about the obstacles. For example, they include the militant rhetoric and incendiary actions of Kiev’s Western patrons. They are actually encouraging Kiev to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” pumping the country with weapons and sending mercenaries there. Let me note that the Ukrainian security services staged a crude bloody provocation in Bucha with the help of the West, to complicate the negotiation process among other things.

I am confident that agreements can only be reached when Kiev starts to be guided by the interests of the Ukrainian people, and not the advisors from far away.

Speaking about Russian-Ukrainian relations, Russia is interested in a peaceful, free, neutral, prosperous and friendly Ukraine. Despite the current administration’s anti-Russian course, we remember the many centuries of all-embracing cultural, spiritual, economic and family ties between Russians and Ukrainians. We will definitely restore these ties.

Sitrep: Operation Z

April 26, 2022

Source

By Nightvision

Today we start with the largest news. Ukraine continues escalating provocations in the asymmetrical/guerilla/insurgent direction as we’ve outlined in previous sitreps. Last time an oil depot was hit in the Belgorod district, it was reported that Russia moved a new S-400 system near the Kharkov border. So now Ukraine shifted its tactics further north out of range, and we see sabotage of various sorts occurring on the Russian border 250-300km NW of Kharkov.

Not only oil tanks hit in Bryansk (no evidence of air attack this time, possible on the ground sabotage), but various shelling of villages, and attempts to sabotage Russia’s rail systems, as explosives were found: https://i.postimg.cc/Y9qskhtC/FRPzb-S6-Vk-AAcy-U9.jpg

Also in the region it was said two new Bayraktar TB2’s were shotdown. Photos of one of them:

A new Turkish cargo plane landed in Poland yesterday as well, likely carrying a fresh batch of TB2’s, so we expect to see more shotdown in the near future. Over 40 have already been shot down.

Now Ukraine is stirring something up in Transnistria. Multiple sabotage attacks have occurred, including one on a military installation, destroying two radio towers and damaging others.

https://www.rt.com/russia/554556-transnistria-president-terror-attacks-ukraine/

Transnistria now erecting barricades: 

There is a lot of talk and rumor now, like the following: “Now Transnistrian telegram accounts are claiming Ukrainian military massed on their border: “According to subscribers. On the border with Transnistria, a large concentration of Ukrainian troops was noticed, in particular tanks and other armored vehicles”

And much of this rumor could be dismissed if it weren’t for the suspicious attacks that now suddenly occur on Transnistrian land, and the following statements from a prominent Ukrainian journalist and as of last year ex-advisor to the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, who reportedly said today:

“Ukraine has the legal right to demilitarize the military facilities of the Russian troops that threaten us,” the editor-in-chief of the odious publication Censor wrote on social networks. no, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Butusov.

He said that this would make it possible to capture Russian prisoners for exchange, “eliminate the threat of a breakthrough by Russian troops”, seize large arsenals of ammunition. Release two Ukrainian brigades that are stationed on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border

There is only one chance left to save Mariupol – a strike on Transnistria” – Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.”

https://news.obozrevatel.com/vojna-v-ukraine/putin-vyibral-put-totalnoj-vojnyi-butusov-obyasnil-pochemu-nuzhen-udar-po-pridnestrovyu-i-kak-eto-spaset-mariupol.htm (autotranslate this article)

(Russia, by the way, has over 4000 AFU prisoners, 300 of them officers. More POWs were taken in Illych Steel Plant alone than all of RF and LPR/DPR prisoners in Ukrainian hands combined.)

So, not only is he floating this idea as a way to seize large arsenals of ammo as we’ve already outlined above, but as a final hail-mary shot to save Mariupol by seizing enough Russian prisoners that could be used as leverage in an exchange. Interestingly enough, this comment coincides with yesterday’s demands from Arestovych/Kiev, that:

1. there should be a negotiation with Russia done right at the walls of the Azovstal factory and

2. that Russian POWs should be exchanged for all the Azov militants and 36th Brigade marines currently trapped in the factory.

The problem with this demand is that Ukraine doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of POWs that would match the number of remaining militants in Azovstal. Ukraine “claims” to have around 500 total POWs for Russia/DPR/LPR, and this number is likely greatly inflated by double or more. Azovstal on the other hand has 2000+ trapped militants remaining by some reports. So apparently some in Kiev imagine the capture of Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria could equalize this trade and allow the exchange for the trapped Azovites.

“#Ukraine and #Romania plan joint aggression against #Transnistria (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) late April-early May. Romanian military disguised as Moldovan military are training in camps in Romania and arrive in #Moldova in large numbers. Details: https://t.me/ZradaXXII/1959

There’s rumor that a ‘large number of Romanian soldiers and officers’ have been deployed to Moldova under Moldovan uniforms, including officers and commanders replaced by Romanian counterparts.

The objective appears to be a huge military storage site in Kolbasnaya, that people are hyperbolically saying has enough artillery shells to last a 10 year war. Ukraine is understandably foaming at the mouth to acquire this ammunition as they are in dire shortage of same. “Rumors” that an attack on Tiraspol is already being planned for late April to early May.

This is troubling due to the compounding nature of other reports about clandestine buildups from Poland and other countries.

This was a report from around the time of the Moskva hit:

“Two days ago: The NATO Secret Monitoring Service started working in Odessa and tracking the ships of the Russian Navy. This was reported by RIA Novosti with reference to a source in the Russian law enforcement agencies and his Ukrainian informant.

According to the interlocutor of the agency, the NATO monitoring group operates in one of the suburbs of Odessa. Service workers are equipped with equipment that allows determining the exact coordinates of any vessel in the Black Sea within a radius of 200 kilometers.

The main specialists are employees of the Romanian PMC Nordstarsupport Group.
The interlocutor also noted that the tasks of the group are to prevent the landing of Russian troops in the Odessa region and the issuance of the location of Russian ships for targeting Ukrainian anti-ship missiles “Neptune”.”

Russia then announced the investigation of at least two British SAS special ops groups in Lvov: https://www.rt.com/news/554380-ukraine-uk-sas-sabotage

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10746503/Putin-hunts-SAS-Ukraine-Russia-launches-probe-British-elite-specialists-sabotage.html

And one report says that: “French sources report that servicemen of the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment, which is part of the Special Operations Forces, were deployed to Ukraine. The group includes instructors on the use of MILAN anti-tank systems and AT-4 grenade launchers”

As for Poland, we hear this rumor:

“❗️Poland is secretly preparing a “liberation campaign” against Ukraine. For this purpose, a set of measures is being carried out – the supply of weapons, equipment and mercenaries across the Polish-Ukrainian border. Several formations of the Polish Army – the 18th motorized rifle division and the 6th airborne brigade – are preparing for a “peacekeeping mission”

The Polish Army stepped up measures to the maximum extent possible to complete the units to wartime states. The recruitment of “volunteers” is carried out through the websites of the Ministry of Defense of Poland.”

Now, much of that is very speculative but they add up to a growing concert of evidence regarding western powers / NATO’s increasing involvement in Ukraine’s western flank. In fact some of these are from a few days ago and I held them back due to their speculative nature, but due to today’s concrete attacks on Transnistria, these things begin to look more and more real.

While some of this could revolve around an effort to free Azov militants, much of it is likely an escalation to thwart Russia’s coming destruction of the JFO grouping in Donbass. More and more reports pour from the Donbass of how badly it’s starting to look for Ukraine. Not only are there dozens of daily surrenders on every front, but huge losses in KIA each day and more and more from both groups are being identified as reservists sent from the far West, with little training.

Here’s one report

#UKRAINE—In preparation for #Russia|n offensive & due to severe lack of personnel & low morale among servicemen, #UA General Staff is preparing the following Territorial Defence Brigades for immediate transfer to #Donbass: —101st #Uzhgorod —102nd #IvanoFrankovsk —103rd #Rovno ½

These are lowly trained territorial defense showing up now on the eastern front. And judging by recent surrenders, they look it – many of them old and haggard. Last sitrep around 20 surrendered near Donetsk, today we have another batch of ~80 captured from Yampil on the northern front.

Video: https://twitter.com/AZmilitary1/status/1519013593324437505

Alt link: https://www.bitchute.com/video/faCuHupYndeO/

And the KIAs coming from the new pushes are more numerous than ever. I’ve refrained in the past from posting too much of it but the recent uptick in Ukrainian/Western propaganda about how Ukraine is ‘winning’ requires me to offset it by showing the stark reality of what’s happening on the ground:

Warning graphic (18+). These are the types of massive losses the AFU is taking just in the past day or two alone:

And for those that keep talking about phantom AFU campaigns in Kherson. Here’s what really happened in Kherson yesterday, Russia stormed AFU positions in Oleksandrivka with huge AFU losses. Complete destruction of their positions:

(18+) https://www.bitchute.com/video/XyhbW1JQ8ORM/

I don’t think we’ll be seeing any ‘offensive’ from them anytime soon.

Russia launched massive attacks on infrastructure last night as well, destroying many key rail lines and bridges.

A map showing all the strategic rail crossings that were hit:

And another map: 

Russian MOD confirmations: 

https://www.rt.com/russia/554519-russia-hits-supply-ukraine/

Western supply lines in Ukraine destroyed – Russia

It is believed that this is the final softening phase before a stronger offensive in Donbass begins. Western weapons will now have a much harder time getting to the frontline, particularly heavy weapons like tanks/artillery which are now said to be provided soon to Ukraine. These require railways to get to the frontline.

And on that topic of heavy arms to Ukraine, something important to note: many countries are now cobbling together a Frankenstein list of “high end” heavy arms to contribute. T-72’s and M-84’s from Poland and Slovenia, Marders, Leopards, and PzH2000’s from Germany, Cesar Howitzers from France, Mastiffs, Wolfhound, and Husky vehicles from UK, Archer artillery systems from Sweden, Humvees, M113 APC’s from U.S., and M777’s from Canada, and on and on and on.

For anyone versed in military matters, this is absolutely ridiculous. There is no way in hell the Ukraine will be able to utilize any of this stuff in any productive capacity for long. Firstly, the vast majority of it will never reach the frontlines and will be destroyed in transit. But just to play devil’s advocate, even if it were to actually reach the frontlines, any military analyst worth their salt knows that it’s a huge detriment to operate many non-interoperable systems on the frontlines due to the complete nightmare it creates in lack of parts and ability to properly maintain or repair this equipment.

In fact at the start of the SMO, Russia was heavily criticized by some military blogs because Russia uses so many different variants of each system concurrently, and this creates problems for maintenance and logistics – for instance T-72, T-72a, T-72b, T-72b3, T-72b3m, etc, etc. But of course Russia has the military infrastructure to deal with this, Ukraine doesn’t.

In a previous sitrep I already reported how Ukraine no longer even has an ability to repair its tanks and they have to be shipped out to Czech Republic who will now be handling the repair outsourcing because Russia has destroyed the AFU’s maintenance infrastructure. War is all about logistics, and to have this gigantic Frankenstein mess of dozens of different systems all utilizing different types of ammunition and parts that can’t be sourced adequately on the frontlines is a complete joke. It will never work and would quickly bog down into an intractable mess of quickly abandoned equipment.

In short, all this equipment is not much worry as the logistics problems it creates are simply insurmountable in the long run, even if it makes it to the frontlines in the first place. I would worry more about the supply of legacy soviet ammunition for the artillery systems Ukraine still operates.

There are signs of desperation from Ukrainian commanders in that regard:

“First Lt. Ivan Skuratovsky, serving in Ukraine’s 25th Airborne Brigade: “the situation is very bad, [Russians] simply destroy everything with artillery, shelling day and night.”

“Grenade launchers are good, but against airstrikes and heavy artillery we won’t be able to hold out for long.” Ukrainian troops told me they need Western military aid, particularly drones & artillery, ASAP. They fear if they don’t get it they could end up like those in Mariupol.”

-On the frontlines, Izyum continues to get reinforced by the 1st Tank Army and elements of the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army.

Some advances have been noted. The west flank of Izyum is being secured:

And since the mentioned prisoners were taken in Yampil, that town is likely to fall in the near future, opening up the way for Lyman.

Here’s a good map of the current: https://twitter.com/Denyo666/status/1519023312722137088/photo/1

Note that Zavody on the western end of Izyum is still disputed but RF is actively attacking it as we speak. And south of Kurul’ka (the salient south of Izyum), forward scout units of the RF are advancing on and have been attacking around Pashkove, which is only a few kilometers from an all-important railway that runs through Barvinkove. This railway has supplied Slavyansk from the west and whether Russia has hit its junctures with strikes or not, the goal here is clearly to advance south a few more kilometers and capture the railway and Barvinkove as well, cutting Slavyansk agglomeration off.

The only other thing of note is reports that Russian forces are now fighting at Gulyaipole which is a major stronghold town of the AFU on the west Donetsk line which Russia has been creeping towards for weeks. Once Gulyaipole and its eastern stronghold neighbor of Velyka Novosilka are captured, it creates an almost free pathway towards the main highway artery that supplies the Donetsk grouping from Zaporizhzhia.

As for Mariupol, there are more images of the Azov wounded:

DPR head also announced that Azovstal factory will not be rebuilt, while Azovmash and Illych factories to the north of it will be. This could be an ominous warning for Azov remnants as it would mean Russia would have no qualms in destroying the Azovstal completely. The only thing that appears to be stopping them is the apparent confirmation that Azov is in fact holding many civilians (they claim 1000) hostage in the basement, including many children, of which videos have now been released.

They are clearly using the civilians as their last bargaining chip and it’s a difficult situation for Russia to navigate as it does not want to create a massacre of women and children by bombing the positions nor be responsible for their starving by besieging the factory indefinitely. This is the chief reason that negotiations continue.

There were some reports that Azov doesn’t trust Kiev and in fact now wants to be released to a “3rd country”, which is reportedly Turkey. If true, this would make sense as there were reports weeks ago that Kiev in fact even launched Tochka missiles at Azov in Mariupol, showing a clear secret friction of some sort between the nationalist battalion and Ukrainian authorities.

https://tass.com/world/1416593

Here’s a current map of Mariupol, with a confirmed location of where the civilians are being held in the bomb shelter:

A few other random bits of news:

Governor Kim of Nikolayev has admitted to the creation of death squads to root out and kill “traitors” extra-judicially

https://www.rt.com/russia/554475-ukraine-governor-traitors-extrajudicial-executions/

This is further proof of what was done elsewhere in Ukraine, notably in Bucha where it’s now proven that the SBU hit squads liquidated ‘traitors’ on the heels of the Russian troop pullback.

Also, a commander of the DPR named Eduard Pelishenko, with the call sign “Crimea”, was said to be ‘seriously wounded’ near Donetsk by a “loitering munition”. This could potentially be the first sign of Switchblade-300 usage on the battlefield. Though he is expected to survive but it shows what we’ve discussed long ago, that the Switchblade-300 in particular will be used for covert assassinations of VIP targets.

Ukraine wants $2 billion per month from the Biden admin. https://www.rt.com/news/554520-ukraine-wants-2bn-dollars-month-from-us/

And lastly, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, has stated what’s been on all of our minds:

Ukraine May Collapse Into Several Independent Countries, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Says

https://sputniknews.com/20220426/ukraine-may-collapse-into-several-independent-countries-russias-security-council-secretary-says–1095073511.html

This appears to be the first such verbalized confirmation from the Kremlin side of the likely direction Ukraine is headed in.

Sitrep: Operation Z

April 24, 2022

Source

By Nighvision

Russia continues grinding down the Ukrainian infrastructure, and that has been the theme of the last few days. There has been a huge uptick in aerial assaults and missile strikes on various infrastructural objects all over. As of this writing a huge amount of missiles are recorded flying over Ukraine, and Tu-95MS bombers are said to be in the air to contribute their KH-101’s.

Pavlograd railways were hit:

Many objects in Dnieperpetrovsk, Kremenchug, Druzhkovka, Poltava, Kharkov, Odessa and elsewhere were all hit with very powerful strikes, multiple missiles at each location. Not only Kalibers from both submarines and ships in the Black Sea, but KH-101 Missiles from Tu-95MS’s as well.

“According to Russian military spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, in the afternoon, “high-precision long-range air-launched missiles” hit a logistics terminal located on a military airfield near Odessa, where “a large batch of foreign weapons received from the United States and European countries was stored.”

Ukraine is extremely low on fuel to the point that secret trains have been discovered delivering enormous emergency fuel supplies from Moldova. Video:

One note on this: sometimes it’s hard to quantity military success when we hear of these strikes because they seem ‘abstract’ and once they start adding up, the numbers begin to feel more and more abstracted and inconsequential. Each day the Russian MOD announces the destruction of hundreds of new AFU objects. And soon enough one’s mind naturally begins to question, ‘how much damage are these strikes really doing if Ukraine continues to operate?’ etc.

And it’s a good question, we know in military reasoning that you can’t win a war by airstrikes alone, boots on the ground need to make large strategic victories in the old fashioned way. There’s too many examples to list (most of them American) of vast bombing campaigns over long periods of time not doing much to eradicate a resolute insurgent force.

With that said, it’s often easy to fall into a trap of extremes where one begins to think that strikes are not doing anything at all. In fact they are doing a huge amount, but suffice it to say they’re not going to single-handedly make the AFU surrender.

Also, it only reinforces my position that the real Phase 2 has not really begun yet, and this big uptick in strikes is a continuation of a softening pre-phase. Other analysts like Colonel Cassad agree:

“Let me remind you that a few days ago Ukraine already announced that the Russian Armed Forces had launched a general offensive, after which the next day the Pentagon announced that the offensive had not yet begun and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine urgently began to change shoes.
So far, Russia has only announced the start of the 2nd phase of the operation in Ukraine, but has not announced the start of a general offensive.

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine warns of an imminent large-scale offensive by the Russian Armed Forces

The GUR says that the Russians are finishing the regrouping of troops and are now focusing on identifying the most vulnerable places of the Ukrainian armed formations. And in the near future will begin a “full-scale offensive”

Despite the absence of a general offensive, the RF Armed Forces nevertheless continue to conduct offensive operations in the Izyum direction (there is an advance in the direction of Slavyansk, the front is approaching Krasny Liman, Yampol and Seversk), as well as in the Zaporozhye direction east of Gulyaipol. But it is obvious that most of the forces have not yet been put into action.”

So the important distinction above is that Russia announced a 2nd phase, they did not specifically announce a new general offensive. The two are not necessarily interoperable. The fact of the matter is, there are still large regroupings being done and we are not seeing much large-scale offensive operations in most of the theaters on the Russian side – most of the larger advances are being done in the LPR at the moment.

Just yesterday, the Russian Naval Infantry / Marines detachment from Mariupol had only begun to redeploy, and were visible driving on the road north of Mariupol. It could be days before they reach their new positions – which we don’t know what they are yet. 

And now we hear other confirmation such as the following: “@anna_news
Regarding the general offensive of the RF Armed Forces, sources are coming out, citing British sources, that the offensive will begin within 72 hours.”

And: “The head of the administration of Krivoy Rog Alexander Vilkul said that Russian troops are preparing for an attack on Krivoy Rog.”

So these indications appear to point to a much larger grand offensive starting sometime soon.

With that said, there were some good/significant battlefield updates and advances, mostly in the LPR direction:

Novotoshkovske was captured, south of Severodonetsk (NE of Popasna).

Zarichne was reportedly captured as well, which is right next to Torske which we reported captured last time:

And now there is reported fighting in Yampol which means it will soon fall as well. If you look on the map that means Lyman is being slowly surrounded, and that is the final large obstacle before Slavyansk itself.

Here’s a good overall map of this area: 

We reported Lozove falling last time, but now the small settlement of Ridkodub just east of it has reportedly been captured as well, which creates a slowly enveloping unified front that’s pushing southward towards Slavyansk.

South of Izyum, it’s now being reported that Russian forces captured the small settlement of Kurulka, east of Barvinkove.

These are small, incremental gains but will add up soon, particularly if a larger offensive begins.

Here’s some footage of the capture of Kreminna a few days ago: 

Alt link: https://www.bitchute.com/video/ubok2NtCSCQl/

Also, in the far north, AFU attempted an offensive towards the Russian border. Another one of their psychological ops to try and keep morale afloat. It ended badly for them and photos/videos emerged showing the loss of several armored units and up to 30 KIA:

(18+) https://www.bitchute.com/video/DU7i1L9EXmUv/

(18+) https://www.bitchute.com/video/lzpgcqAbP1dP/

There’s even more gruesome photos of a few dead AFU in this escapade with their heads blown off, which are not included in the above.

Here’s what one analyst wrote of the attempt:

“The bloody failure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in this case will force them to draw conclusions and prepare the next such attempt more carefully.
She definitely will. It does not have any military purposes. The task is to invade the territory of the Russian Federation with infantry and equipment at least a few hundred meters at any cost and announce the “transfer of war” to the territory of the Russian Federation. Even if they are then driven back, it will not hurt to promote the victory in social networks to raise the morale of the troops.
Well, the fact that such PR will be expensive hardly confuses his customers. They have repeatedly demonstrated their real attitude towards the killed and captured UAF soldiers.”

On the southern front, no real advances but some interesting updates. Firstly there’s been a lot of troop captures, including some near Malinovka just east of Hulipole. 17 were captured, pictured here:

Reportedly 2 of them were Azovs, 1 a foreign instructor, and one Croat. What’s interesting is that more and more we’re seeing foreign fighters among the AFU troop compositions. There’s been 3 different new videos showing fighters with British flags, this being one of them: https://www.bitchute.com/video/o1FbzFu0hRsa/

I posted last time a British flag on a liquidated fighter. Now also in the north Russians recovered a chevron that is said to be of a Sergeant in the French Foreign Legion:

Everywhere you look now on the battlefield there are foreign flags. Here’s an earlier video of the storming of Rubizhnoe, with American flags visible for some reason:

Now there’s reports that a Canadian General may be one of the high value targets trapped in Azovstal:

There is no real details about him being in Azovstal, and this appears speculation partly stemming from reports he hasn’t been “heard from” in Ukraine. However his departure to Ukraine is a 100% confirmed fact reported in Canada’s own press: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/retired-canadian-general-under-police-investigation-for-alleged-sexual-misconduct-is-now-in-ukraine

In fact the general was under fire for sex crimes and appeared to have “retired” and quickly fled to Ukraine to dodge repercussions. He’d make a good bedfellow to the Azovites in Azovstal. Some have even speculated that, since the alleged ‘American general’ who was purported to be trapped in Azovstal also has a similar last name that starts with a ‘C’ (Cloutier), that perhaps a mistake was made and all this talk of a trapped general is in fact this Canadian named Cadieu.

Now, a Turkish newspaper is claiming Macron abandoned over 50 French officers who are trapped in Azovstal:

“According to the source, these are high-rank French officers. They’re on the ground to ensure that Ukrainian military & neo-Nazis are able to use the weapons handed over by the Western countries. They are entrapped now and only way out to go through the corridor by Russian side.”

You can translate the article here: https://www.aydinlik.com.tr/haber/macron-subaylarini-mariupolde-olume-terk-etti-312526

On the topic of Azovstal, some interesting updates:

Firstly, more light is being shone on the insides of it, leaked pictures showing wounded Azov fighters and some of their milieu. https://twitter.com/Cyberspec1/status/1518207023502217216

A video has also emerged showing the rotting Azov wounded festering in their subterranean dwellings:

Some Azov fighters manage to sneak out and are caught by the allied cordon around the plant. Here’s one who points out his own dead commander to the Chechens who caught him: https://www.bitchute.com/video/ecEJtPRZ8TBy/

Here’s an Azov fighter captured by Chechens who begins showing them the maps of where the Azov group is hidden in the factory:

And a video of an ex-employee of the Azovstal who was once a shift supervisor there, who has volunteered his expertise to show the likely place where the main Azov group is hiding in the complex:

“An underground pedestrian tunnel passes under the plate shop, right under it the exit goes inside the shop, two exits – in the TLC itself. If the workshop is hot, then there is a powerful water supply system for cooling equipment and metal, and then there are necessarily powerful reinforced concrete sedimentation tanks there,” Chuprin said.”

As you can see, the operation to root the Azovites out still continues despite Putin’s decree to not ‘storm’ the complex. They are abiding by the decree but are simply going about it the smart way, figuring out exactly where Azov is in the complex and then finding a solution to root them out.

In fact Alexander Sladkov continues to show the advances into the north of the complex, the “cement factory’ grounds:

And here’s a map: 

The captured cement factory is the northernmost part of the Azovstal complex, with the orange dotted lines you see above.

Here’s how Azov is apparently eating down there: https://twitter.com/CanadianUkrain1/status/1518274778846609409

A few random updates:

Zelensky commented on the Bayraktar drones, admitting their futility against Russian AD: “But with all due respect, I will honestly say that this is a different war, experts say, it cannot be compared with any other in the 21st century. Those or other drones can help, but do not affect the result.”

In fact there’s one account on Twitter who is counting each day since Bayraktar’s last appearance in the form of any footage, and we’re somewhere past 36-40 day mark since the last footage of any kind of Bayraktar attack has appeared.

Advanced American Harris-Falcon encrypted battlefield comms systems were captured by Russian forces:

(alt link) https://www.bitchute.com/video/b0P03XkrKNkn/

Last time we mentioned how the corrupt OSCE was outed, its employee arrested for espionage. And I spoke of stories how OSCE was even doing artillery fire correction for the AFU.

Now: “the Ministry of State Security of the LPR found documents confirming the interaction of the OSCE SMM with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Among other things, a “list of infrastructure facilities in the Luhansk region that may be subject to fire damage” was found, indicating their location.”

Information was collected by the head of the OSCE Severodonetsk team, a citizen of Poland, Yaroslav Kurak. The order to start collecting information was given
Deputy Head of the OSCE Lugansk Human Rights Team Pilar Castro Moto, a Spanish citizen.”

OSCE Employee Admits To Passing Information To Foreign Intelligence Services – LPR

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/osce-employee-admits-to-passing-information-t-1500886.html

“The Interior Ministry of the LPR has shown documents confirming that the OSCE special monitoring mission has been working for a long time in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.”

Also it’s been discovered that France has been supplying ammunition to the AFU “by diplomatic mail possibly on board civilian aircraft. Boxes with cartridges of 12.7 mm caliber were found at one of the positions of Ukrainian security forces in Donbass, where the addressee is the French Embassy in Kiev.”

And a new poll has reportedly found:

“75% of Chinese residents support the Russian operation in #Ukraine. The corresponding data is provided by the U.S — China Perception Monitor study. 60% of respondents believe that #China should support the Russian operation in Ukraine. 16% were in favor of providing weapons for the Russian army, if necessary. 70% of respondents consider the information about American biological laboratories in #Ukraine reliable. #China has already said that the main culprit of all recent events is the United States and #NATO, and arms supplies to #Kiev will not bring peace to #Ukraine. 3/3”

First appearance of Polish suicide drones called Warmate in Ukraine: https://twitter.com/UAWeapons/status/1518284891766636546

By the way, some in the West are apparently slowly starting to come around to the reality, and new excuses are fast being forged:

A few last random videos:

Russian BM-27 Uragan MLRS in action again: https://www.bitchute.com/video/SU3atvVPVAmz/

Reporter infiltrates Manhattan, NYC pro-Azov rally to ask some searing questions: https://www.bitchute.com/video/fr0p8gTOQ1vc/

Chechens now fighting in Popasna: https://www.bitchute.com/video/AZSsVSJu7jdN/

Sitrep: Operation Z

April 22, 2022

Source

By Nightvision

The biggest development is the announcement by Russia/Putin of Mariupol’s “official liberation.” I’ve written before about how Russia often ‘jumps the gun’ on announcements, but it’s true that the city proper is liberated with the exception of the industrial complex of Azovstal. With that said, there are still upwards of 2000 or more highly trained, fanatical Azov militants and marine remnants of the 36th Brigade holed up in the factory, and they have extreme amounts of incentive not to surrender any time soon.

Bizarrely, western media continues to refer to Mariupol as ‘besieged’ and even Zelensky now claims Mariupol will be taken back soon and that a force is being ‘prepared’ to liberate the city from Russians. It’s hard to discern if this is complete delusion or pure propaganda – maybe a mix of both.

Putin also announced the cancellation of plans to ‘storm’ the complex in order to reduce risks to Russian servicemen, instead opting to besiege it and starve the Zelensky regime militants out.

DPR flag was hung at the highest point of Mariupol in honor of the liberation: https://www.bitchute.com/video/m28IHMBBOm7F/

On the topic of sieging the Azovstal, some additional information: Firstly, according to well-connected Aleksandr Sladkov, the sieged Azovstal remnants have around two weeks’ worth of food/supplies still left and that they had much more but it was destroyed in Russian strikes. So my original guess was roughly accurate that they could theoretically hold out another week or two, maybe more.

But with that said, the remaining allied forces will not simply stand idly by and ‘wait them out’. The tactic will be to continue air and artillery strikes on the factory complex in order to keep the psychological pressure on the Azovites high to accelerate their eventual surrender. So regular combat will continue around the complex, but the troops simply will not attempt to do the job of ‘tunnel rats’ and storm the ‘catacombs’ as Putin put it. As you know some enemy forces still maintain positions on the surface, in buildings etc., and those will continue to be engaged and eliminated while the ones deep below wait and fester.

“The blockade ring around the [Azovstal] plant is now saturated with technical reconnaissance equipment, drones are constantly in the air.” We talked with the former chief of staff of the Alfa anti-terror group, Sergey Polyakov, about how to clean up Azovstal from nationalists: If someone leans out of the ground through the exits from bunkers or storm sewers, and even with a mortar, artillery fire opens on him. Whether it be during the day or at night.” According to Polyakov, aviation will continue preventive point bombing: Following the fire strikes, our assault groups will move forward. Today they took the Azovstal plant management. And so it will continue: the positions of the enemy will be gnawed out meter by meter. Time is now working for us.”

Meanwhile, the Somali Battalion has already been fully recalled for redeployment back to the Donbass, headed mostly to the Avdiivka frontline.

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/qS4PmtrkayTH/?feature=oembed#?secret=MZknmvMk0S

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/XqKf154lqMRZ/?feature=oembed#?secret=B1PsmJSS59

Chechens also celebrate the liberation:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/2j3ZJjSdcFmP/?feature=oembed#?secret=5vtGXPc090

Russian tankers are happy as well: https://www.bitchute.com/video/3f78yPPGv9Rh/

A lot of reconstruction and cleaning up is already happening around Mariupol, administrative services returning and the like. First school classes in some sections as well. Other towns around the region and elsewhere are already de facto integrating into the Russian Federation more and more. For instance passes being issued in Berdiansk for official vehicles are now being registered with a seal that says Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Berdiansk, Russia.

And in liberated LPR cities like Svatove and Starobelsk, LPR license plates for cars are already being issued to replace Ukrainian ones.

A Ukrainian politician has stated the following: “Ludmila Denisova, Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, says that the Russians are planning to hold an independence referendum in Kherson during May 1-May 10 to create another DNR and LNR like statelet in southern Ukraine. Ballots are reportedly being printed.”

Also:

“Crimean Tatars support the inclusion of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions in the Crimean Federal District. The Crimean Tatars proposed to recreate the Crimean Federal District with the inclusion of the south of Ukraine. This statement was made by the head of the regional national-cultural autonomy of the Crimean Tatars Eyvaz Umerov.”

“Residents of the Kherson and Azov parts of the Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine, who once belonged to the Tauride province together with Crimea, speak of their desire to return to Russia, because they no longer want to be under the yoke of Ukrainian nationalists

“At least 2/3 of the residents of southern Ukraine, in particular, Kherson oblast, parts of Nikolayev oblast and Zaporozhye, would vote in favor of joining Russia, if an appropriate referendum were to be held”, says Crimean senator of the Russian Federation Council Sergei Tsekov

Today Ukraine threatened that if ‘Russia holds a referendum for the Kherson People’s Republic, then Ukraine will withdraw from all negotiations with Russia.’ Likely Russia isn’t worried.

And now there’s word that Kharkov too may eventually be allowed to hold a referendum, giving us a clue as to Russia’s ultimate vision for Kharkov Oblast.

“Following the stabilization of the situation in the liberated territories of the Kharkov region, a referendum or a poll of citizens can be held on the political future of the region, head of the interim political administration of the liberated Kharkov region, told RIA Novosti.”

Rustam Minnekaev, deputy commander of the Central Military District of Russia has stated that the goal of Phase 2 is to capture Donbass and create land corridor to Crimea. Then Peskov reaffirmed the goal to integrate most of the southern areas of Ukraine into the ‘Russian space’.

‘Minnekayev also said that controlling southern Ukraine would open “another way to Transnistria,” where he claimed “there are also instances of oppressing the Russian-speaking population.”’

It’s looking more and more likely that some version of the map above is the minimum of what will come about as a result of the SMO. I say minimum because there is no indication whatsoever that Phase 2 is the “final phase”, simply that these are roughly the objectives of Phase 2. There may very well be further phases to capture the rest of Ukraine, although even if/when captured, Russia will most likely not incorporate those territories but rather conduct regime change and thorough de-militarization/de-nazification on the remaining rump-state of Ukraine to make sure it cannot be a threat ever again.

In other news, a group of Communist Party deputies led by Gennady Zyuganov proposed a bill to the State Duma to change the national flag of Russia. They propose to replace the white-blue-red stripes with the Soviet red banner with a hammer and sickle. Doubtful that this will work but they are clearly trying to ride the new wave of patriotism.

Also, Russia will increase the production of Kalibr missiles.

“This conclusion is made by the analyst “InformNapalm” Anton Pavlushko on the basis of data discoveries.
He cites information that the UEC-Saturn plant in the Russian city of Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Region, is recruiting up to 500 new employees due to “increase in production volumes.” It is at this plant that engines for Caliber missiles are produced.
And then our Western friends got excited, because according to their version, Russia has long since run out of missiles, and there is nothing to produce new ones from.”

With that said there appears to be sabotage strikes aimed at stopping these efforts as yesterday an important military research facility in Russia suddenly burned down with 7 dead and 20-30 injured. It happened in the same day that a large chemical plant also caught fire under suspicious circumstances.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/large-deadly-fire-breaks-out-russian-defense-research-facility

But not to be left out, the U.S. suffered its own humiliation. A B-1B lancer, one of the U.S.’s most advanced supersonic bombers worth $300 million, burned down during routine maintenance. The whole fleet was grounded last year to investigate problems with the fuel system – I guess they never managed to fix them. The whole fleet seems in trouble.

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/NvI0HRhsLeoH/?feature=oembed#?secret=KuRnsT1Avt

Another interesting development, in the Donbass a member of the OSCE was arrested for espionage.

OSCE employee detained https://twitter.com/Cyberspec1/status/1517456096956276736

More and more reports recently have come to light showing how deviously the OSCE has been operating. One report said that OSCE officials even provided artillery fire correction for the AFU forces by leaving cameras on their cars in the vicinity which transmitted feeds to the AFU. The organization has truly been exposed as a clandestine operation for the West akin to the White Helmets.

On the war front, Russia has begun bombing rail infrastructure, this time striking bridges and railways in Zaporizhzhia and Dnieperpetrovsk to hamper AFU resupplies.

“BREAKING: A Russia strike in the north of Mykolaiv Oblast has killed up to 80 Ukrainian soldiers and destroyed 23 Armoured vehicles, including a command post.”

It also took control of a massive secret underground arsenal in the Kharkov region, which is said to be the largest in all of Ukraine. https://twitter.com/MarQs__/status/1517549948048494594

This underground bunker has a storied history, reportedly built in WW1 to supply the Russian army and was used strategically in WW2 as well. There appears to be thousands of tons of built up armaments, including western artillery ammo, etc that is now seized by the RF.

On the frontlines, the most significant advances occurred in the north where it’s now being reported by the Ukrainian side that Russia has in fact taken Lozove which is a key city on the way to Lyman which itself is the final key strategic city to encircling Slavyansk, as Lyman controls important transportation corridors in the region.

 Last time we reported Kreminna and Torske area falling to RF forces (red circles on the right). But now there is reported fighting either in or on the outskirts of Lyman. Several buildings in Lyman were recorded on fire and sounds of loud gunfire exchanges as well, so Lyman appears to be in the crosshairs next.

However on the Izyum front to the west, RF forces still have not been able to break through to Dovhen’ke (blue circle) as that forested area continues to be a problem with hidden Ukrainian units making breakthrough difficult.

 On the southern front, no major advances but the key strategic town of Velyka Novosilka continues to be encircled with settlements on its western flank falling to RF forces.

Meanwhile Nasa Fire Map continues to show the fires moving progressively westward in Popasna, which is a good sign and confirmation that allied forces are in fact pushing out the AFU from the city. I say ‘allied forces’ specifically here because Popasna is said to have a combination of LPR troops, Chechens redirected from Mariupol, and Russian Wagner PMC forces operating concurrently.

France, by the way is now intending to send these artillery systems to Ukraine https://twitter.com/Global_Mil_Info/status/1517553156430962688

A few important words on tactics. We’ve spoke before about how the conflict in Ukraine is becoming Syrianized in the tactics of the AFU who, having most of their heavy weapons/armor destroyed, are mostly now relying on small bandit groups/DRG’s riding around on tacticals (small pickup trucks with larger caliber machine guns in the back) in the manner of ISIS. Like this:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/BxrAPDHcPjD1/?feature=oembed#?secret=QtM7Le4hRv

But the hunter is fast becoming the hunted because Russia’s own saboteur groups are now increasingly ambushing these small, roving bandit teams:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/hjcaeR0TzE4P/?feature=oembed#?secret=BtCKgBeHMd

Keep in mind, the AFU does have some armor and heavy weapons left, but most of them are tied to the strategically important cities they are defending, and they do not have the fuel or logistical capabilities to utilize their armor in any sort of maneuvering force action or real military operations/advances. They are hidden mostly in and around cities like Kharkov, Nikolayev, etc. Any armor that roams outward is very quickly destroyed by RF forces. And even still, in the urban agglomerations there is not a lot of it relatively speaking.

Another important point that must be made. In the early parts of the SMO, a big deal was made by Kiev around this mythical partisan mobilization that was set to take place. Glorious campaigns of patriotic partisan fighters were heralded in various posters and clips, Molotov cocktail campaigns were paraded on western news channels and we were told that every Ukrainian citizen would rise up against the Russian invader. Each day there was a new announcement, such as Zelensky’s bid to pay citizens tens of thousands $$$ of dollars (funded by the West / CIA of course) for anyone who can kill/capture a Russian soldier or demonstrably destroy a Russian tank or armored vehicle. Similarly, upwards of $1 million dollars was offered to Russian servicemen who would defect and turn over their tank or plane to the AFU.

Not only did any of this ever take place, in fact we saw last time that it was the AFU itself who began selling their tanks to the Russians for Rubles. But the main point to be made is that the giant, widespread partisan uprising was in fact a complete and utter failure. Not only is the vast majority of the Ukrainian citizenry utterly apathetic/ambivalent towards their own armed forces, but there are more and more signs of internal uprisings and new anti-Kiev regime partisan ‘underground cells’ being formed in cities like Nikolayev and Kharkov. One in Kharkov even released a video, their faces masked, promising an uprising against the AFU forces holding them hostage, once Russian forces begin fully taking the city.

Other footage like this continues to emerge:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/ZO7TJCDlIptL/?feature=oembed#?secret=bBz7uGpfWE

Showing angry civilians booting out their failing AFU goons from their cities.

The truth is, the longer the conflict goes on, the more the Ukrainian citizenry turns against their own forces and government, not only because of mounting evidence of the AFU’s crimes against their own citizens/civilians but simply because they tire of the war and were never passionate about the utterly corrupt Zelensky regime and its criminal military forces anyway.

After the initial one or two Molotov videos against RF troops in the first week of the war, we never again saw any citizens attacking Russian troops and in fact see the opposite each day. Now whenever we see new Russian missile strikes filmed by Ukrainian citizens, it’s very often accompanied by a complete ambivalence or even quiet jubilation from the people filming.

It has to be recognized that the grand promised awakening of the Ukrainian state, and the large scale partisan uprising was a complete failure – just hollow psyop attempts from the Zelensky regime.

Now as allied forces grind down the AFU, each day the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense posts new claims of Russian losses which are never backed up with visual evidence. Here and there a photo of an empty tank is posted but never any bodies. Meanwhile, our side continues to show incontrovertible proof of massive, horrific losses on the AFU side in the new pushes. Here’s a few new videos. You can tell they’re recent because the AFU are wearing the new green armbands after they started switching from blue in many regions.

Very graphic (18+) https://www.bitchute.com/video/kVufOX6Z2vMd/ (includes a liquidated British mercenary)

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/8YgIXovb906J/?feature=oembed#?secret=qj8Jx2kk5G

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/DNJMcMfBF2j1/?feature=oembed#?secret=whA6iiyRsC

We see repeated reports of entire units of the AFU being wiped out, and our side actually has the hard proof in the form of clear photos and videos. It’s clear that the AFU is losing thousands of troops a week. In fact yesterday’s report was over 400 killed just that day alone. There was 300+ killed a few days ago as well in the many strikes that occurred.

And these are just the dead, there are dozens of new prisoners every day. In the last day alone I can’t count the amount of new prisoner videos that are flooding telegram, mostly from the Popasna and Donbass fights. I’d estimate at least 100+ prisoners in the past two days based on the avalanche of new photos/videos.

On that note, one final thing. It’s become sadly obvious that the sheer propaganda from their own commanders is what’s keeping the rest of the AFU from laying down their arms. Here’s a report from a day ago:

“Since the beginning of the military operation and the appearance of Ukrainian prisoners, many of them tell how the Ukrainian command intimidated them with inhuman torture in Russian captivity. They were convinced that Russian officers would torture them, cut them with belts, burn them alive, etc. Having been taken prisoner, they were surprised at the humane attitude towards their miserable skins. However, there are cases when Ukrainian soldiers, believing in the stories of their commanders, try to commit suicide in order not to be captured by Russian “sadists”.”

And such a true story emerged yesterday when two new prisoners were captured, one of them said how their own commander shot himself in the head when the Russian forces approached. However this commander missed and the bullet went through his jaw – he survived and was treated in captivity. There’s a photo of him floating around, I’ll post if I can find it again.

“The photo shows a Ukrainian officer who was captured with his fighters in the area of ​​n. Staromayorskoe village (DPR). But he believed in the tales of his command about torture and decided to leave for another world quickly. He tried to shoot himself, putting the muzzle of his machine gun to his chin, but he chose the wrong trajectory – and the bullet went through the jaw. Now he has to be treated. But this suicide will now be able to make sure that the military-political leadership of Ukraine are liars and traitors.”

The irony is that the Ukrainians are terrified to surrender to the Russians because their command lies to them of the ‘barbarity’ of the Russians with claims they are brutally torturing and killing all captives, hiding the truth from them that it’s in fact their own side that’s doing that to Russian POWs. And the same tactic is used on civilians in besieged cities like Kharkov to keep them from rising up or evacuating. They shoot all civilians who try to leave then say it’s the Russians who are shooting all cars on the road.

I’ll leave with a few final videos. There’s been people constantly asking whether Russian forces have night time capabilities, nightvision, FLIR, etc, etc. Here’s some new videos showing Russian special forces taking out Ukrainian positions at night:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/w40Y6yFqr11a/?feature=oembed#?secret=a6ni9F8msL

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/eOszGJvHXkey/?feature=oembed#?secret=50y6Ngqrmk

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/8v7mLho20qpe/?feature=oembed#?secret=NDxNUYB5uY

And lastly, I was made aware that last month India tested a Sukhoi launched Brahmos missile on one of their decommissioned Navy ships. Check the photos of the damage here:

It looks nothing like the minor fire damage we see on the Moskva from the portholes and torpedo tubes as I’ve outlined last time: https://i.postimg.cc/QCbBCyRm/FQl-Q5e-KXIAg-Or-AZ-2.jpg Yet it matches every other real missile hit like the USS Stark and other ships. Moskva is the odd-ball out that looks nothing like the others.

Sure the Brahmos is a larger missile, but Ukrainians claim multiple Neptunes hit the Moskva. Just more food for thought and further evidence that the Neptune strikes are unlikely as the cause of the Moskva’s sinking.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with India Today television channel, Moscow, April 19, 2022

April 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1810023/

Question: The big question that most are asking is the reason for this operation, the reason for President Putin to take the country to war at a time when we have seen negotiations and talks taking place. What was the reason? We know that America said that Russia was going to carry out operations. New Delhi certainly was not aware of it. Many countries said that it is not something that is going to happen, but it did happen.

Sergey Lavrov: The real reason is the complacency of most countries of the world after the end of World War II, when our Western colleagues, led by the United States, declared themselves winners and in violation of the promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership started moving NATO eastward. They kept saying: “Don’t worry, this is a defensive alliance, it is not a threat to Russian security.” It was a defensive alliance when there were NATO and the Warsaw Treaty, and there was the Berlin Wall, as you remember, both physical and geopolitical. It was very clear what was the “line of defence” for this “defensive alliance.”

When the opponent disappeared, both the Warsaw Treaty disappeared and the Soviet Union disappeared, they decided that they will move the “line of defence eastward.” They did this five times without explaining against whom they are going to defend themselves, but in the process building up their advanced assault capacities and choosing the former Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, as the springboard against the Russian interests.

As early as 2003, for example, when they had a presidential election in Ukraine, the West was publicly and blatantly demanding Ukrainians: you must choose, are you with Russia or with Europe? Then, of course, they started pulling Ukraine into the European Union Association Agreement. The agreement provided for zero tariffs for Ukrainian goods in Europe, and European goods in Ukraine. We had a free trade area agreement with Ukraine in the context of the Commonwealth of Independent States. So, we told our Ukrainian neighbours: guys, we have zero tariffs with you, but we have protection with the European Union, because we negotiated WTO entry for 18 years. For some time, we did manage to protect some sectors of the Russian economy – agriculture, insurance, banking, and some others – with considerable tariffs. We told them: if you have zero [tariffs] with Europe and zero [tariffs] with us, we are not protected against European goods, which was part of the deal when we entered the WTO.

Then in 2013, when the Ukrainian President understood the problem, he asked the European Union to postpone the signature of the Association Agreement. We suggested that the three of us – Russia, Ukraine, and the EU – could sit together and discuss how to proceed. The European Union in a very arrogant way said that this is none of your business, we do not put our nose in your trade with China or other countries, so this is going to happen. Then the President of Ukraine decided to postpone this ceremony. The next morning, the demonstrators were on Maidan in Kiev.

In February 2014, the European Union helped negotiate a deal between the President and the opposition. Next morning, the signatures of the European Union representatives – France, Germany and Poland – were absolutely ignored by the opposition, who staged a coup and declared that they are creating a “government of the winners,” that they will cancel the special status of the Russian language. They threatened to throw ethnic Russians out of Crimea, they sent armed groups to storm the Crimean parliament. That is how the war started. The Crimeans said: “We don’t want to have anything [to do] with you, leave us alone.” As a I said, there was a threat from armed groups. The eastern areas of Ukraine said: “Guys, we do not support your coup, leave us alone.” They never attacked the rest of Ukraine. The putschists attacked them, having called them terrorists. They called them terrorists for eight long years.

We managed to stop this bloodshed in February 2015 – the so-called Minsk Agreements were signed, providing Eastern Ukraine with some special status, language, the right to have some local police, special economic relations with the adjacent Russian regions. It was basically the same as [the agreement] the European Union negotiated for the north of Kosovo where Serbs live. In both cases, the European Union failed totally to deliver on what was guaranteed by the signatures of its members. For eight long years, the respective governments of Ukraine and Presidents of Ukraine were saying, blatantly and publicly, that they were not going to implement the Minsk agreements, that they will move to Plan B. They continued to shell the territories of these [self-] proclaimed republics during all these years. We warned the Europeans, the Americans, and Ukraine that they are ignoring something which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. To no avail.

People do not want to go back into this history because they prefer to take events on their immediate merit, but these particular events are rooted in the desire of the United States and what we call the collective West, to rule, to dominate the world and just show everybody that there would be no multipolarity. It would be only unipolarity.

And that they can declare Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, located tens of thousands of miles from the United States, threats to their security, and can do whatever they please there, levelling cities, like they did with Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. Russia has been warning all its colleagues that just on our borders you have been creating a springboard against us: you have been pumping arms into Ukraine, you have been totally ignoring the legislation of Ukraine, which prohibited, completely prohibited the Russian language, you have been encouraging neo-Nazi ideologies and practices. The neo-Nazi battalions were very much active against the territories which proclaimed themselves independent and who were promised special status. It’s inside Ukraine.

It was all linked with Ukraine becoming NATO’s springboard, and NATO expansion. They were saying that Ukraine will be in NATO. Nobody can stop Ukraine if it so wishes. Then President Zelensky said that he might think about coming back to possess nuclear weapons. In November last year, my President suggested to the United States and to NATO to sit down, to cool off, and to discuss how we can agree on security guarantees without NATO’s further eastward expansion. They refused. In the process, the Ukrainian army radically intensified the shelling of those republics in violation of all the ceasefire agreements. We didn’t have any other choice but to recognise them, to sign mutual assistance treaties with them, and, in response to their request, to send our troops as part of special operation to protect their lives.

Question: You provided the basics: the history, as well as the present context. But you also said, President Putin himself said, that this is not targeting civilians or the citizens, people of Ukraine. It is to do with the administration. We know that in international foreign policy parlance it is used quite often: not in my backyard. America says it all the time, and many other countries say it. But should an entire people, and entire population be punished for an administration wanting to carry out independent foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think it’s about any independence. Since 2013, and maybe even earlier, hundreds and hundreds of US, UK, and other Western security and military experts have been openly sitting in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and the Ukrainian security apparatus. They basically were running the place.

As for the civilians, immediately when this special operation started in response to the request from Donetsk and Lugansk in full compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, when it was announced by President Putin, he said that the sole purpose of this operation is to demilitarise and denazify Ukrainians – these two problems of the country are intimately linked. We have been targeting only military infrastructure. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian army and the so-called nationalist battalions, which are using Nazi insignia, swastikas, which was borrowed from Indian history, but twisted the wrong way, and insignia of Waffen-SS battalions, these people were using and continue to use civilians as human shields. They were placing heavy weapons in the middle of towns and cities, next to schools, next to kindergartens, to hospitals. The internet is full of the testimonies of the people who were living in these places, and who were asking these people not to do this.

Unfortunately, nobody in the West actually pays attention to the facts, which we have been providing. Instead, they are staging some fake situations, like a couple of weeks ago with the place called Bucha. The Russian troops left on March 30, I think, and for three days the city was back in the hands of the Ukrainian administration. The mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk was publicly saying that the city is back to normal life. Only on the fourth day, they started showing images of dozens of corpses lying in the street, which was only a few days before shown as being back to normal. Then a few days later in the city of Kramatorsk, which was fully in the Ukrainian hands, they summoned people to the railway station, and attacked them with a Tochka-U missile. It was proven beyond any doubt that the missile was fired by the Ukrainian army. That’s why the next morning it was out of the news in the West because everybody understood the obvious nature of this provocation. Now, The New York Times says that they have the proof that cluster bombs were used by the Ukrainian army.

Speaking of civilians and the rules of international humanitarian law, I can once again assure you that our army operates against the military infrastructure and not against civilians.

Question: Mr Lavrov, you said that Russian forces have only targeted military facilities. Even if there were military facilities or tanks that have been placed in civilian areas, Russian forces did not show restraint in taking them down. Hence, there are civilians who have been killed. There has been bloodshed, whether it is the outskirts of Kiev, primarily Mariupol, Volnovakha – absolutely raised to the ground. Some responsibility has to be taken by the Russians also on the bloodshed?

Sergey Lavrov: It is always terrible when military activities bring damage to the civilians and to the civilian sector, to civilian infrastructure. As I said, when people have been killing ethnic Russians, citizens of Ukraine, in the east for eight years, no TV representatives, be it Asian, be it African, be it Latin American, be it European, be it the United States, paid any attention to this. The Russian journalists have been working on the contact line, on the side of the republics, round the clock, showing the atrocities committed by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Ukrainian armed forces. And during all those years not a single foreign journalist cared to come to the other part of this line of contact to see what was going on there.

The statistics available from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe indicate that the damage afflicted on the civilians and the civilian infrastructure on the side of the republics, the [self-] proclaimed republics, was five times more and bigger than the same figure for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

This is not to say that we can just ignore the victims and the damage to the civilian infrastructure, but once again I want to emphasise a very important thing. This outcry started only when the Russians decided to protect Russians who are citizens of Ukraine and who were absolutely discriminated. There was no outcry when the city of Raqqa, for example, in Syria was levelled with dozens and hundreds of corpses lying there unattended for weeks and weeks. The American military never had any scruples about achieving their military goals, be it in Syria, be it in Iraq, be it in Afghanistan, for that matter.

This is a tragedy, when people die. But we cannot tolerate the situation when our Western colleagues say that they can do anything they want. They can encourage the government in Kiev to be as Russophobic as it takes. They would not tell them to stop prohibiting the Russian language in education, in media, stop banning all Russian speaking channels, including Ukrainian channels, they would not tell them not to prosecute the opposition, who favours dialogue with Russia, and to stop violating the commitments to give special status to the territories where the Russian speaking population dominates.

Question: You made a very important point because India Today has travelled to Donetsk and we have been putting out these reports. It is very important because it is important to understand the plight of Russian descent and Russian speaking people in Ukraine. There is no taking away from that. We will talk about Donbass. But coming to the allegations against Russia of genocide, of war crimes, and on the fact that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces, what do you have to say to the visuals? You said that there were no bodies. There were bodies in the basements that have been found much later that would have been found anyway much later. Will there be no investigation that will be carried out? Why just say that it did not happen?

Sergey Lavrov: We are investigating the atrocities of the neo-Nazi battalions of Ukraine and of Ukrainian armed forces. There is a special commission created by the Russian chamber – there is a public organisation which is very experienced. They have been discovering the fakes staged by the so-called White Helmets in Syria, in many other cases. We will not cease our efforts to establish the truth.

We are used to the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries have a very interesting habit: they just throw in news when they believe this news will work ideologically for their benefit, and then, when it comes to the facts, and when more facts are discovered, putting a big question mark on their assertions, they just lose interest.

2007, London. Poisoning of Mr Litvinenko. Huge outcry. The investigation begins, and after a few weeks a public inquiry is announced, which in the UK  means that it is secret. Until now, we cannot get the facts about what had happened to Mr Litvinenko.

2014, Malaysian Airlines Boeing. Shot down over Ukraine. We presented a huge amount of facts. We requested that we be part of the investigation – no way. Ukrainians who did not close their skies during the conflict were invited to this investigation group, Russia was not. Malaysia, as the owner of the plane, was invited only five months later after the Australians, the Dutch. They and the Malaysians agreed among themselves that anything coming out of this room must be subject to consensus, meaning that Ukraine, which did not close the skies, had a veto power on this investigation. We could not get the truth on this one as well.

2019, Salisbury poisoning. The people disappeared. The only proof which was made public is “highly likely,” as Theresa May said. The Brits insisted on the expulsion of Russian diplomats by most of the European countries. When I asked my friends, did they provide proof beyond the public statements about “highly likely” it was Russia, they said “no, but they promised to.” I checked one year later, whether this was done, it was not done. And so on, and so forth.

2020. Our opposition blogger Mr Navalny was poisoned. We asked the Germans. We immediately responded to the German request to let him go to the Berlin hospital. Twenty-four hours after the request he was flown to Berlin. We don’t have any confirmation who was flying with him, where did they get the bottle which is the key element in this investigation. When we asked the Germans to show us the formula which they discovered in his blood, they said this is a military secret.

It is us who until now insist on the truth about Litvinenko, about the Skripals, about Malaysian Boeing, and about Navalny. The stories that they stage in Ukraine these days are of the same nature.

Question: Going back to the investigations, you are saying that that Azov battalion is absolutely shameful, yes, they should be investigated. They are neo-Nazis, and they should not have been incorporated or integrated into any military regime in any country. But if you introspect and look at your own people as well, is there any instance of denying and rejecting claims? Will there be investigations against your own people if they have done wrong? Will they be held accountable?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a law that prohibits the military to do anything which is not allowed under international humanitarian law. Any violations are registered and investigated.

On Azov, it is interesting that you mentioned it. Azov was listed in the United States in 2014 or 2015 as a group that cannot be supported, that cannot legitimately operate, and it was prohibited by Congress to provide any assistance to this battalion. Everybody forgot about this or rather they certainly remember what this group is about, and they decided to put their money on this group.

In Japan, as you know, they passed a special decree by the government that Azov is no longer a neo-Nazi group, and the Japanese government apologises for listing Azov as such. And of course when President Zelensky in his camouflage was asked about Azov by some journalists, who felt that something was wrong with these neo-Nazi trends, Zelensky said quietly: Azov, they are what they are, we have many groups like this. They are part of our army.

You, I mean the media, started asking questions about Azov only when the military operation was launched. For eight long years, nobody lifted a finger, nobody bothered about what was being groomed in Ukraine, as a continuation, or rather a resurrection, of what was boiling in Europe in 1930s.

Question: President Zelensky said that Russia plans to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Sergey Lavrov: He says many things. Depends on what he drinks and what he smokes. He says many things.

Question: Do you think it was a strategic miscalculation by President Zelensky to take on Russia when there was no certain assurance from NATO and the European Union that they would actually back Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: President Zelensky came to power with the promise of peace. He said that he will reach peace on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. A few months later, he said he cannot implement the Minsk Agreements because the Minsk Agreements are “unimplementable.”

Question: It was the Russian forces, the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, he never said that it was because of the military situation on the ground. He said that it is unthinkable for Ukraine to give special status to any part of his territory. But it was very “thinkable,” if I may say so, when Ukraine was created, to put together the territories which now (those in the west) never celebrate Victory Day, May 9, and the eastern territories, which would never celebrate the heroes honoured in the west: those who collaborated with Hitler. With this difficult composition of territories, to say that Ukraine can only be a unitary state, and that it would not give special status to these people even if the Security Council demands so, I believe that this was not very far-sighted.

Had he cooperated as he promised to his electorate when he was elected, had he cooperated in implementing the Minsk Agreements, the crisis would have been over long ago.

Question: Did the West betray Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I think the West played Zelensky against Russia and did everything to strengthen the desire to ignore the Minsk Agreements.

The “West” is a broad notion. It’s the United States and the Brits. The rest of the West, including the European Union, is just an obedient servant.

Question: Tactical nuclear weapons. Will Russia ever use them?

Sergey Lavrov: Ask Mr Zelensky. We never mentioned this. He mentioned this. So, his intelligence must have provided him some news. I cannot comment something which a not very adequate person pronounces.

Question: As a P5 member, as a nuclear power, will nuclear be an option at all, on the table at all?

Sergey Lavrov: When the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan, decided that they have special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed the solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war, and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.

After the Trump administration came to office, we have been telling them, because tensions were aggravated: “Why don’t we try to send a positive political message to the entire universe and to reiterate what Gorbachev and Reagan pronounced?” During all the four years of the administration, they refused to do so.

But we were really encouraged when President Biden was inaugurated. Five days after his inauguration, we repeated this offer, he first agreed to extend the [New] START treaty without any preconditions. In June 2021, when they met with President Putin in Geneva, they issued this declaration. This declaration was issued on our initiative. After the Americans and the Russians said that there must be no nuclear war, that they won’t think about it, we started to promote the same commitment in the context of the P5. Not the United States, not UK, not France – Russia. Eventually, earlier this year, in January this year, the P5, at the level of presidents and heads of government, issued the statement which we initiated and which we were pushing through for all these years.

Question: So nuclear is off the table?

Sergey Lavrov: This statement, both the Russian-American statement, and the P5 summit statement, were issued on the strong insistence of the Russian Federation.

Question: Coming back to the Donbass region, DPR, LPR. The independence of these republics is non-negotiable for Russia when you talk to Ukraine. What happens if the negotiations succeed between Ukraine and Russia and should there be a settlement, will Russia withdraw from other areas: Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev?

Sergey Lavrov: I thought you are a journalist, but you can be a spy. I am not discussing the military operation, for obvious reasons it is never the case.

On the territorial situation, we recognise DPR and LPR within the administrative boundaries of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Minsk agreements were signed when these two territories were split roughly half and half. Now the militias of these republics are fighting to get their territory back.

When they had a referendum in 2014, it was held on the entire territories of the former regions. But then the coup leaders started the war, which they called an anti-terrorist operation, and they took a considerable chunk of both regions. So, yes, we recognise LPR and DPR within their declared territories as a result of the referendum.

Question: Which in fact includes Mariupol and Volnovakha, as part of Donetsk.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Question: My question is, if there is a settlement between the two sides, and they recognise, which President Zelensky said he would not, he said that they are going to fight for Donbass to the very end, so where are the red lines?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot intelligently discuss what President Zelensky says because he always changes his mind diametrically.

He was the initiator of the negotiations, which we accepted. At some point we were disappointed because they were changing their mind every time, coming late, leaving early, but then in Istanbul, about one month ago, it was on March 29, they brought a paper, saying that we are not going to be a member of any military alliance, that they will be neutral. In return, they asked for security guarantees, preferably P5, maybe some others, and it was written and initialled by the head of the heads of delegations. The security guarantees they were asking for would not cover Crimea and the territories in the east of Ukraine.

It was not our language, it was their language. Now President Zelensky says “no way.” They started backtracking even earlier. But this is a paper with the signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation. So, before we can intelligently discuss what he says one day or another, we need to have clarity about the credibility of this person and about his team.

Question: Was there any understanding in Istanbul on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, as well?

Sergey Lavrov: We changed the configuration of our presence. This was announced immediately after Istanbul that since we believed that they brought something which could serve as a basis [of an agreement], we made a goodwill gesture, and we changed the configuration in the Kiev and Chernigov areas.

This was not appreciated at all. Instead, this Bucha thing was immediately staged and played, like Skripals were played in Salisbury, like the Malaysian Boeing, like Navalny, played, but immediately put aside when the hard facts were presented which they cannot challenge.

Question: There are mayors who have been appointed now by Russia in Berdyansk and Melitopol, and they are saying that they will hold a referendum, that they are not going to go back. Is that the plan?

Sergey Lavrov: That’s the outmost democracy, right? A referendum – people saying what they want.

Question: Which means that you are securing your land boundary in Sumy and Kharkov, but also the waters, if you look at Zaporozhye, Nikolayev.

Sergey Lavrov: People have been suffering in all these places for eight long years, when neo-Nazis were prohibiting them to speak their own language, prohibiting them to commemorate the heroes of World War II, of the Great Patriotic War, prohibiting to have parades and to have any events to commemorate the fallen, the parents, the grandparents of these people.

Now when they have thrown away these neo-Nazis, and say that now we will decide who will be running the place – this is our mayor, this is our legislature, I believe that this is a manifestation of democracy after so many years of oppression.

Question: It seems that Ukraine has lost more land than it would have gained by negotiating on Donbass.

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the decision of those who have been running Ukraine, of those who have been sabotaging the Minsk agreements, in spite of the UN Security Council decision. We are not up for regime change in Ukraine. We have said this repeatedly. We want the Ukrainians themselves to decide how they want to live further in a way, which would not repeat the Minsk agreements, when they did decide that they did not want to do anything with the coup leaders, who immediately said that they are against anything Russian: culture, language, everything what these people cherish. Then they were promised something by the European Union and cheated.

We want the people to be free. To decide how they want to live in Ukraine.

Question: Russia is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. How long can you sustain?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think we are thinking in the context of sustaining. Sustaining means, you know, you sustain, you take some hardships, and hope that, sooner or later, this would be over.

Russia has been under sanctions all along – Jackson–Vanik, then it was repealed, but Magnitsky Act was introduced, then we were punished for the free vote of the Crimeans, we were punished for supporting those who were in favour of keeping the Minsk agreements, but the Ukrainian government did not want them to get what they promised, and so on and so forth.

So, now we have come to a very straightforward conclusion. We cannot rely on our Western colleagues in any part of our life, which has strategic significance, be it food security, which we managed to ensure ourselves after 2014, be it, of course, defence, and be it some strategic sectors where high-tech is developing and indicating the future of the mankind. We did not have time to achieve self-sufficiency in all these areas, but in most cases, we resolved this issue. Of course, we are open to cooperation with all other countries who do not use illegal, illegitimate unilateral measures in violation of the UN Charter.

India is among those. We cooperate bilaterally. I visited a couple of months ago, and we cooperate in many international organisations.

Question: Speaking of India, India is under immense pressure to sever ties, to cut down imports of energy, of fuel, but India has stood its ground. In terms of reliability, is there a concern that India should have with regards to the kind of defence cooperation both countries have? Could there be delays in deliveries of critical weapons systems that India is buying from Russia, such as the S-400s? What is the conversation you have been having with New Delhi on this ground?

Sergey Lavrov: India is our very old friend. We called our relationship a long time ago a strategic partnership. Then, about 20 years ago, the Indian friends said: why don’t we call it a “privileged strategic partnership?” Sometime later, they said that this was not enough. Let’s call it “especially privileged strategic partnership.” This is a unique description of the bilateral relations between India and Russia.

With India, long before all this became such a hot potato, we supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept “Make in India” and we started substituting simple trade with local production, shifting production of the goods needed by India on your territory. It was for quite a number of years already that we have been promoting the use of our national currencies in settlements between the governments of the two countries.

We promoted national information systems, transmission systems, like SWIFT. You have your own, we have our won. They are being used more and more. Payment cards: we have MIR, you have RuPay. They are mutually supportive. It is not, you know, a huge percentage, of the overall volume of trade, but it is steadily growing. On defence, we can provide anything India wants. Technology transfers in the context of defence cooperation are absolutely unprecedented for any of India’s outside partners.

Question: We have got away with a waiver from the United States for the S-400s, but future collaborations, could they become difficult?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, when the Americans say that they are in favour of democracy all over the world, they mean only a very specific thing – that it is up to them to decide who is democracy, and who deserves to have some good attitude on behalf of Washington. When they convened this summit of democracies, you only need to look through the list of invitees, to understand that it is not about real democracies, it is about something else. The Americans now run all over the world, their ambassadors have priority number one to go to the foreign ministry, to the government of the country where they serve and say: “You must stop talking to Russia, you must join sanctions against Russia.”

Well, long before this crisis, I have been talking to the Americans, to the Europeans, I told them: when you say democracy, democracy, and at the conferences you always want this language on rule of law and democracy, I asked them about adding that apart from the national level, we want democracy and the rule of law internationally. They don’t like it. When they push everybody in this anti-Russian camp, when they go to India, when they go to China, to Turkey, to Egypt, countries with their own thousands years of history of civilization, of culture, and when they are not even ashamed to publicly tell you what to do, I believe something is wrong not only with manners, which always has been the case, but something is wrong with the mentality.

When Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, says publicly: “We, the United States, has not yet decided whether to introduce sanctions against India for the S-400s,” they have not decided what is good for you. His under-secretary Wendy Sherman later said: “We must help India understand what is important for its security.” How about that?

Question: I suppose your counterpart gave them a befitting reply on how to conduct one’s foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: Absolutely. I respect Subrahmanyam Jaishankar very much. He is a seasoned diplomat, and he is a real patriot of his country. He said that we will be taking the decisions on the basis of what India believes it needs for its development, for its security. It’s respectful. Not too many countries can say something like this.

Question: You mentioned China. For us, the China factor is very important. Russia has a unique relationship when it comes to ties with China and ties with India. You mentioned the United States of America, so again, I am going to go back to the US. Recently, in one of the visits, deputy national security advisor said that should India continue ties with Russia, there will be consequences. If, he said, there is another incident at the LAC, then the US will not come to India’s rescue. The statement is flawed, because there are two points. One is that he said “should there be another incident,” not recognising that the Chinese are still on Indian soil. Secondly, he said that they will not come to India’s rescue, but they did not come in the first place. But where does Russia stand?

Sergey Lavrov: We stand in favour of resolving any conflicts on the basis of arrangements negotiated directly between the parties, like, just like it was in Ukraine, when the two parties, the rebels, as they are called, the separatists, as they are called, for us they are self-proclaimed republics, on the one side, and the government, which came to power as a result of the coup, on the other side had a deal, negotiated and endorsed by the Security Council. It is another matter that the government, with the instigation of the West, failed to deliver, but the method is the one which we believe should be applied everywhere.

After those incidents on the border, we welcomed the resumption of the discussions between the military of India and China, the discussions between the politicians, at the level of the foreign ministers, and we hope that this would be resolved. We cannot use those threats, which are absolutely normal for the Americans, who say “or else, there would be consequences.” It is their favourite statement.

What we would like to do, as Russia, we would like to promote the formats where India, Russia, and China participate together. It started in 1996-1997, when Russia’s Foreign Minister at that time, Yevgeny Primakov, suggested the RIC format – the troika formed by Russia, India, and China. It happened, and we continue to convene in this format. I think, last November there was probably the 20th ministerial meeting. Not only foreign ministers, but also ministers of economy, ministers of trade, political scientists meet, which may not be very much publicised, but it is a very useful format.

We were very much in favour, even we were the leading force in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to promote this, of the full membership of India, together with Pakistan, in this organisation. This is another premise for China and India to be together in the company of their neighbours, and to build more confidence.

Question: Finally, before I let you go, sir, Europe is looking to halt gas from Russia. Come summer, policies might get harsher. But you are looking for the dedollarisation of the global energy market by dealing in roubles. How do you propose to do that, should they start halting?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be no change for the Europeans and other countries who buy our gas. The reason for this decision was very simple and obvious. When they froze the Russian assets in dollars, euro, yens, and the pound sterling for the amount of more than 300 billion euros or dollars, those were mostly the money kept in Western banks after we received payments from them, from the Western countries, for our gas deliveries.

In other words, they paid us, and they stole the money from us because those were the currencies which are linked to the Western banking system. So what we told them to do: they would not be paying directly to Gazprom’s accounts abroad, but they would be paying to a bank called Gazprombank. It is an independent entity. They would be paying the same amount which they have to pay under the existing contracts, but they will pay these amounts to a special account which they have to open with this bank. There would be a parallel account in roubles. So they pay euros, and then inside this bank these euros are transferred to the rouble account, and from this account Gazprom receives roubles.

Question: So you are not running losses at all on the money Russia is to receive from Europe? There is no money that has been stopped?

Sergey Lavrov: Exactly. As of now, they would not be able to keep the money in their banks, the money that they not even owe us, but which they paid to us already. I believe this is something which does not contradict contracts. They would still be paying in euros or dollars or whatever was the currency of the contract, but we will have insurance that this robbery would not happen again.

Question: Finally, sir, before I let you go, I have to go back to that question on eastern Ukraine. Intensification of war efforts now in eastern Ukraine – is the trigger the flagship warship Moskva that sunk. What really happened there? Is that one of the triggers now why we see more intensification against Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: No, this operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed, as was announced from the very beginning, to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This operation will continue. Another stage of this operation is beginning. I am sure that this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation.

Question: What happened to the warship?

Sergey Lavrov: It is for the Ministry of Defence. They explained what happened and I cannot add anything to this.

Question: On that note, many thanks for joining us here on India Today. It was indeed a pleasure, sir.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you very much.

Question: That was the Foreign Minister of Russia speaking exclusively to India Today.


Notes on information availability from the Russian Federation:

The best video is on Telegram:  https://t.me/MFARussia/12362
This is the first complete address from the Russian MFA that they posted on Telegram since the attack on the availability of Russian information started.  It is also a complete interview in English and without translators.

The Indian interviewer is smart and respectful.  Mr. Lavrov is patient and clear.

It is still a hit-and-miss exercise to get complete information from Russian professional sources.   You can see these interviews live on Ruptly but there is no playback.  The videos and transcripts are on the Russian Foreign Ministry site, but frequently there is no playback.  In copying this transcript just a while ago, the Russian MFA site went down again.

It is important to see or read these completely in order to find nuance and context. It seems to be a fashionable journalistic method to report on one or two snippets only. In that, the Russian media sources are not helping us to help them. Here is an example.  Mr. Lavrov’s takeaway quote on being asked about Zelenski, is:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks or what he smokes.”   RT decided to shorten that, and said:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks.”   Incorrectly reporting even direct quotes does not serve the Russian cause.

Amarynth

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