Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s introductory remarks at the opening of the exhibition of archive records on the 250th anniversary of the reunification of the peoples of Russia and Belarus

September 20, 2022

This year, Russia and Belarus are celebrating the 250th anniversary of the reunification of our fraternal peoples. In Soviet historiography, this event is referred to as the First Partition of Poland in 1772 that took place against the background of incessant wars in Europe.

Count Nikita Panin and Vice Chancellor Prince Alexander Golitsyn conducted talks on Russia’s behalf. They reached an agreement with Prussian envoy Count Solms and Austrian envoy Prince Lobkowitz and signed the relevant conventions in St Petersburg on August 5, 1772. The agreement between the great European powers provided for a peaceful transition (without bloodshed) for the greater part of the Vitebsk and Mogilev regions in present-day Belarus (92,000 sq km and a population of 1.3 million) becoming part of the Russian state.

This epoch event determined the destiny for a common Russian and Belarusian homeland and the course of European history. These primordial Slavic lands returned to the Russian Empire. The populations of these regions had been subjected to artificial Polonising for centuries. I think it would be appropriate to recall that this year we marked 1,030 years since the advent of Orthodoxy to Belarusian lands. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia coordinated his visits to Polotsk and Minsk with this anniversary.

Due to reunification with Russia in 1772, Belarusians managed to preserve their national identity and language and create conditions for shaping their own statehood. Since then – for a quarter of a millennium now – the Russian and Belarusian people have lived in peace and friendship. They are proud of their great common past and common victories. Together – in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and now in the Union State, they have efficiently resolved and will continue to resolve their urgent tasks and problems. We look to the future with confidence and optimism.

Today, under the Union State’s programmes of coordinated foreign policy actions, Russia and Belarus hold identical positions on the key issues of our time. They support each other at international venues and closely cooperate at the UN and the OSCE.

Under conditions of unprecedented pressure from the collective West, our two countries are strengthening their integration union and are working to create a common socio-economic, migration and defence space. We have something to present to the Russian and Belarusian public. We have fulfilled 50 percent of our goals under 28 union programmes for 2021-2023. We are drafting new cooperation programmes for the next three years. We are implementing our upgraded Military Doctrine and the Union State’s Migration Policy Concept.

I’d like to repeat that Russia and Belarus are inseparably tied by their common culture and history. We are united by common and memorable dates. These include Day of the Baptism of Russia, Day of Slavic Writing and Culture, Day of Unity between the Peoples of Russia and Belarus, February 23, March 8, Easter, Christmas and, of course, Victory Day on May 9, the dearest and holiest holiday for all of us.

This year we will time a meeting of the foreign ministry collegiums of our countries in Minsk in November to another common date – the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Berezina and the victory in the 1812 Patriotic War. I’d like to emphasise that this was a victory not only over the French but actually over all of Europe that was united under Napoleon.

On September 22-23 of this year, our Belarusian friends will hold one more important event in cooperation with the Russian Military Historical Society – the international scientific conference “Partitions of Poland in the historical memory of the peoples of Belarus and Russia.” This work is aimed at ensuring the continuity of our common history and bringing the truth about centuries-old cultural, historical, spiritual, moral and family ties to our people. It deserves respect and support.

In conclusion, I would like to thank once again the organisers of this event, the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire, which prepared a thematic exhibition of original documents related to the partition of Poland. These originals have never left the archives. They are the Russian-Prussian and Russian-Austrian conventions on the first partition of Poland, the Warsaw extraordinary peace treaty on the accession of some Polish lands to Russia, and notes on Polish affairs by Alexander Bezborodko, member of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs, to Catherine the Great, which bear her handwritten resolution. We have prepared replicas of these unique documents and will present them to our Belarusian friends as a gift.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article «Staged incidents as the Western approach to doing politics»

July 18, 2022

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1822333/

Published in Izvestia newspaper

Today, the Russian Armed Forces, together with the self-defence units of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, are delivering on the objectives of the special military operation with great resolve to put an end to the outrageous discrimination and genocide of the Russian people and eliminate direct threats to the security of the Russian Federation that the United States and its satellites have been creating on Ukrainian territory for years. While losing on the battlefield, the Ukrainian regime and its Western patrons have descended to staging bloody incidents to demonise our country in the eyes of the international community. We have already seen Bucha, Mariupol, Kramatorsk, and Kremenchug. The Russian Defence Ministry has been regularly issuing warnings, with facts in hand, about upcoming staged incidents and fakes.

There is a distinctive pattern that betrays the provocations staged by the West and its henchmen. In fact, they started long before the Ukrainian events.

Take 1999 – the village of Račak in Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. A group of OSCE inspectors arrived at the site where several dozen corpses dressed in civilian clothes were discovered. Without any investigation, the mission head declared the incident an act of genocide, even though making a conclusion of this kind was not part of the mandate issued to this international official. NATO immediately launched a military aggression against Yugoslavia, during which it intentionally destroyed a television centre, bridges, passenger trains and other civilian targets. Later, it was proved with conclusive evidence that the dead bodies were not civilians, but militants of the Kosovo Liberation Army, an illegal armed group, dressed in civilian clothes. But by that time the staged incident has already taken its toll, offering a pretext for the first illegal use of force against an OSCE member state since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. It is telling that the statement that triggered the bombings came from William Walker, a US citizen who headed the OSCE’s Kosovo Verification Mission. Separating Kosovo from Serbia by force and setting up Camp Bondsteel, the largest US military base in the Balkans, were the main outcomes of the aggression.

In 2003, there was the infamous performance by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN Security Council with a vial containing white powder of some sort, which he said contained anthrax spores, alleging that it was produced in Iraq. Once again, the fake worked: the Anglo-Saxons and those who followed their lead went on to bomb Iraq, which has been struggling to fully recover its statehood ever since. Moreover, it did not take long before the fake was exposed with everyone admitting that Iraq did not have any biological weapons or any other kinds of WMDs. Later, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was one of the masterminds of the aggression, recognised that the whole affair was a fraud, saying that they “may have been wrong” or something like that. As for Colin Powell, he later tried to justify himself by claiming that he was misled by the underlying intelligence. Either way, this was yet another provocation that offered a pretext for delivering on the plan to destroy a sovereign nation.

There was also Libya in 2011. The drama had specifics of its own. The situation did not go as far as direct lies, like in Kosovo or Iraq, but NATO grossly distorted the UN Security Council resolution, which provided for a no-fly zone over Libya in order to “ground” Muammar Gaddafi’s air force. It did not fly to begin with. However, NATO started bombing the Libyan army units who were fighting terrorists. Muammar Gaddafi died a savage death, and nothing remains of the Libyan statehood. Efforts to put the country back together have yet to succeed, with a US representative once again in charge of the process, appointed by the UN Secretary General without any consultation with the UN Security Council. As part of this process, our Western colleagues have facilitated several intra-Libyan agreements on holding elections but none of them materialised. Illegal armed groups still reign supreme on Libyan territory, with most of them working closely with the West.

February 2014, Ukraine – the West, represented by the German, French, and Polish foreign ministers, de facto forced President Viktor Yanukovich into signing an agreement with the opposition to end the confrontation and promote a peaceful resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis by establishing a transitional national unity government and calling a snap election, to be held within a few months. This too turned out to be a fraud: the next morning, the opposition staged a coup guided as it was by anti-Russia, racist slogans. However, the Western guarantors did not even try to bring the opposition back to its senses. Furthermore, they switched immediately to encouraging the coup perpetrators in their policies against Russia and everything Russian, unleashing the war against their own people and bombing entire cities in the Donbass region just because people there refused to recognise the unconstitutional coup. For that, they labelled the people in Donbass terrorists, and once again the West was there to encourage them.

At this point, it is worth noting that, as it was soon revealed, the killing of protestors on the Maidan was also a staged incident, which the West blamed either on the Ukrainian security forces loyal to Viktor Yanukovich, or on the Russian special services. However, the radical members of the opposition were the ones who were behind this provocation, while working closely with the Western intelligence services. Once again, exposing these facts did not take long, but by that time they already did their job.

Efforts by Russia, Germany, and France paved the way to stopping the war between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk in February 2015 with the signing of the Minsk Agreements. Berlin and Paris played a proactive role here as well, proudly calling themselves as the guarantor countries. However, during the seven long years that followed, they did absolutely nothing to force Kiev to launch a direct dialogue with Donbass representatives for agreeing on matters including the special status, amnesty, restoring economic ties, and holding elections, as required by the Minsk Agreements which were approved unanimously by the UN Security Council. The Western leaders remained silent when Kiev took steps which directly violated the Minsk Agreements under both Petr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky. Moreover, the German and the French leaders kept saying that Kiev cannot enter direct dialogue with the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and blamed everything on Russia, although Russia is not mentioned in the Minsk agreements even once, while remaining basically the only country that kept pushing for the agreements to be implemented.

If anyone doubted that the Minsk Package was anything but yet another fake, Petr Poroshenko dispelled this myth by saying on June 17, 2022: “The Minsk Agreements did not mean anything to us, and we had no intention to carry them out… our goal was to remove the threat we faced… and win time in order to restore economic growth and rebuild the armed forces. We achieved this goal. Mission accomplished for the Minsk Agreements.” The people of Ukraine are still paying the price of this fake. For many years now, the West has been forcing them to accept an anti-Russian neo-Nazi regime. What a waste of energy for Olaf Scholz with his calls to force Russia to agree to an agreement guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. There already had been an agreement to this effect, the Minsk Package, and Berlin with Paris were the ones who derailed it by shielding Kiev in its refusal to abide by the document. The fake has been exposed – finita la commedia.

By the way, Vladimir Zelensky has been a worthy successor to Petr Poroshenko. During a campaign rally in early 2019, he was ready to kneel before him for the sake of stopping the war.

In December 2019, Zelensky got a chance to carry out the Minsk Agreements following the Normandy format summit in Paris. In the outcome document adopted at the highest level, the Ukrainian President undertook to resolve matters related to the special status of Donbass. Of course, he did not do anything, while Berlin and Paris once again covered up for him. The document and all the publicity accompanying its adoption turned out to be no more than a fake narrative promoted by Ukraine and the West to win some time for supplying more weapons to the Kiev regime, which follows Petr Poroshenko’s logic to the letter.

There was also Syria, with the 2013 agreement on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles in a stage-by-stage process verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for which it received the Nobel Peace Prize. After that, however, there were outrageous provocations in 2017 and 2018 staging the use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun and Duma, a Damascus suburb. There was a video showing people calling themselves the White Helmets (a would-be humanitarian organisation which never showed up on territories controlled by the Syrian government) helping alleged poisoning victims, although no one had any protective clothing or gear. All attempts to force the OPCW Technical Secretariat to perform its duties in good faith and ensure a transparent investigation into these incidents, as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), failed. This, however, did not come as a surprise. The Western countries have long privatised the Technical Secretariat by having their representatives appointed to the key positions within this structure. They contributed to staging these incidents and used them as a pretext for US, British, and French airstrikes against Syria. Incidentally, they carried out these bombings just a day before a group of OPCW inspectors arrived there to investigate the incidents at Russia’s insistence, while the West did everything to prevent this deployment.

The West and the OPCW Technical Secretariat it controls demonstrated their ability to stage fake incidents with the would-be poisonings of the Skripals and Alexey Navalny. In both cases, Russia sent multiple requests to The Hague, London, Berlin, Paris, and Stockholm, all left without a reply, even though they fully conformed with the CWC provisions and required a response.

Other pending questions have to do with the Pentagon’s covert activities in Ukraine carried out through its Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The traces that the forces engaged in the special military operation have discovered in military-biological laboratories in the liberated territories of Donbass and adjacent areas clearly indicate direct violations of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons (BTWC). We have presented the documents to Washington and to the UN Security Council. The procedure has been initiated under BTWC to demand explanations. Contrary to the facts, the US administration is trying to justify its actions by saying that all biological research in Ukraine was exclusively peaceful and civilian in nature – with no evidence of any of this.

In fact, the Pentagon’s military-biological activities around the world, especially in the post-Soviet countries, require the closest attention in light of the multiplying evidence of criminal experiments with the most dangerous pathogens in order to create biological weapons conducted under the guise of peaceful research.

I have already mentioned the staged “crimes” of the Donbass militia and participants in the Russian special military operation. There is one simple fact that clearly shows how much these accusations mean: having shown the “Bucha tragedy” to the world in early April 2022 (we have suspicions that the Anglo-Saxons had a hand in setting the stage for the show), the West and Kiev have not yet answered the very basic questions about whether the names of the dead were established and what post-mortem examinations showed. Just as in the above-described Skripals and Navalny cases, the propaganda production has premiered in the Western media, and now it’s time to sweep it all under the rug, brazen it out, because they have nothing to say.

This is the essence of the well-worn Western political algorithm – to concoct a fake story and ratchet up the hype as if it’s a universal catastrophe for a couple of days while blocking people’s access to alternative information or assessments, and when any facts do break through, they are simply ignored – at best mentioned on last pages of the news in small print. It is important to understand that this is not a harmless game in the media war – such productions are used as pretexts for very material actions such as punishing the “guilty” countries with sanctions, unleashing barbaric aggressions against them with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, as it happened, in particular, in Iraq and Libya. Or – as in the case of Ukraine – for using the country as expendable material in the Western proxy war against Russia. Moreover, NATO instructors and MLRS aimers are, apparently, already directing the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and nationalist battalions on the ground.

I hope there are responsible politicians in Europe who are aware of the consequences. In this regard, it is noteworthy that no one in NATO or the EU tried to reprimand the German Air Force Commander, a general named Ingo Gerhartz, who got carried away higher than his rank and said NATO must be ready to use nuclear weapons. “Putin, do not try to compete with us,” he added. Europe’s silence suggests that it is complacently oblivious of Germany’s role in its history.

If we look at today’s events through a historical prism, the entire Ukrainian crisis appears as a “grand chess game” that follows a scenario earlier promoted by Zbigniew Brzezinski. All the good relations talk, the West’s proclaimed readiness to take into account the rights and interests of Russians who ended up in independent Ukraine or other post-Soviet countries after the collapse of the USSR turned out to be mere pretence. Even in the early 2000s, Washington and the European Union began to openly pressure Kiev to decide which side Ukraine was on, the West or Russia.

Ever since 2014, the West has been controlling, hands-on, the Russophobic regime it brought to power through a coup d’état. Putting Vladimir Zelensky in front of any international forum of any significance is also part of this travesty. He makes passionate speeches, but when he suddenly offers something reasonable, he gets a slap on the wrist, as it happened after the Istanbul round of Russian-Ukrainian talks. At the end of March, it seemed that light glimmered at the end of the tunnel, but Kiev was forced to back off, using, among other things, a frankly staged episode in Bucha. Washington, London and Brussels demanded that Kiev stopped negotiating with Russia until Ukraine achieved full military advantage (former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried especially hard, and many other Western politicians did too, still incumbent, although they have already proved just as inept).

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s statement about this war having to be “won on the battlefield” by Ukraine suggests that even diplomacy has lost its value as a tool in the European Union’s staged performance.

In a broader sense, it is curious to see how Europe, lined up by Washington on the anti-Russian front, has been hardest hit by the thoughtless sanctions, emptying its arsenals to supply weapons to Kiev (without even asking for a report on who will control them or where they go), and freeing up its market only to subsequently buy US military products and expensive American LNG instead of available Russian gas. Such trends, coupled with the de facto merger between the EU and NATO, make the continued talk about Europe’s “strategic autonomy” nothing more than a show. Everyone has already understood that the collective West’s foreign policy is a “one-man theatre.” Moreover, it is consistently seeking ever new theaters of military operations.

One element of the geopolitical gambit against Russia is granting the status of an eternal EU candidate country to Ukraine and Moldova, which, it seems, will also face an unenviable fate. Meanwhile, a PR campaign has been initiated by President of France Emmanuel Macron to promote the “European political community,” which offers no financial or economic benefits, but demands full compliance with the EU’s anti-Russia actions. The principle behind it is not either/or but “who is not with us is against us.” Emmanuel Macron explained the gist of the “community”: the EU will invite all European countries – “from Iceland to Ukraine” – to join it, but not Russia. I would like to stress that we are not eager to join, but the statement itself showcases the essence of this obviously confrontational and divisive new undertaking.

Ukraine, Moldova and other countries being courted by the EU today are destined to be extras in the games of the West. The United States, as the main producer, calls the tune and devises the storyline based on which Europe writes the anti-Russia screenplay. The actors are ready and possess the skills acquired during their tenure at the Kvartal 95 Studio: they will provide a voice-over for dramatic texts no worse than the now forgotten Greta Thunberg and play musical instruments, if needed. The actors are good: remember how convincing Vladimir Zelensky was in his role as a democrat in the Servant of the People: fighter against corruption and discrimination against Russians and for all the right things in general. Remember and compare it with his immediate transformation in his role as president. It is perfect Stanislavsky Method acting: banning the Russian language, education, media and culture. “If you feel like Russians, then go to Russia for the sake of your children and grandchildren.” Good advice. He called Donbass residents “species” rather than people. And this is what he said about the Nazi Azov battalion: “They are what they are. There is plenty of such people around here.” Even CNN was ashamed to leave this phrase in the interview.

This prompts a question: what will be the outcome of all these storylines? Staged incidents based on blood and agony are by no means fun but a display of a cynical policy in creating a new reality where all principles of the UN Charter and all norms of international law are attempted to be replaced with their “rules-based order” in an aspiration to perpetuate their dwindling domination in global affairs.

The games undertaken by the West in the OSCE after from end of the Cold War, where it considered itself a winner, had the most devastating consequences for the modern international relations. Having quickly broken their promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership on the non-expansion of NATO to the east, the United States and its allies nevertheless declared their commitment to building a unified space of security and cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic region. They formalised it at the top level with all OSCE members in 1999 and 2010 within the framework of a political obligation to ensure equal and inseparable security where no country will strengthen its security at the expense of others and no organisation will claim a dominating role in Europe. It soon became evident that NATO members do no keep their word and that their goal is the supremacy of the North-Atlantic Alliance. Even then we continued our diplomatic efforts, proposing to formalise the principle of equal and inseparable security in a legally binding agreement. We proposed this a number of times, the last one in December 2021, but received a flat denial in response. They told us directly: there will be no legal guarantees outside NATO. Which means that the support of the political documents approved at the OSCE summits turned out to be a cheap fake. And now NATO, driven by the United States, has gone even further: they want to dominate over the entire Asia-Pacific region in addition to the Euro-Atlantic. NATO members make no effort to conceal the target of their threats, and China’s leadership has already publicly declared its position regarding such neo-colonial ambitions. Beijing has already responded by citing the principle of indivisible security, declaring its support for applying it on a global scale to prevent any country from claiming its exclusivity. This approach fully coincides with Russia’s position. We will make consistent efforts to defend it together with our allies, strategic partners and many other like-minded countries.

The collective West should come back to Earth from the world of illusions. The staged incidents, no matter how long they go on, will not work. It is time for fair play based on the international law rather than cheating. The sooner everyone realises that there are no alternatives to objective historical processes where a multipolar world is formed based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality of states, fundamental for the UN Charter and the entire world order, the better.

If members of the western alliance are unable to live according to this principle, are not ready to build a truly universal architecture of equal security and cooperation, they should leave everyone alone, stop using threats and blackmail to recruit those who want to live on their own wits and acknowledge the right to freedom of choice by independent self-respecting countries. This is what democracy is all about, the real democracy, not one played out on a shabbily built political stage.

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.

Europe Wants War

July 1, 2022

Source

By Declan Heyes

Though The European Union’s Strategic Compass for Security and Defence reads like Hitler penned it, the EU has recently formally approved this dangerous nonsense now that “we witness the return of war in Europe”, something the EU apparently did not witness when Serbia was put to NATO’s sword from 1992 to 1995.

Europe, these Eurocrats inform us, “needs to be able to protect its citizens and to contribute to international peace and security… following the unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as of major geopolitical shifts”, which are not explicitly stated but which the EU’s Army will tackle alongside its “partners to safeguard its values and interests”.

So, besides teaching Russia some bloody lessons, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta will also teach the wider world a thing or two about their shared values and interests, whatever they may be.

This is all good as a more assertive Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta “will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members. It will also intensify support for the global rules-based order, with the United Nations at its core”.

Even though Lithuania and Luxembourg are NATO’s muscle, Ireland and Malta are not parties to that criminal conspiracy and long may that continue. Furthermore, as the United Nations is a body, which the United States liaises with only when it suits their own selfish interests, the EU should either find a better fig leaf to sheathe its self serving hypocrisy with, or just say it wants to be America’s unthinking vassal.

Not that the EU’s finest would ever consider themselves anybody’s vassals. They intend to strengthen cooperation with strategic partners such as NATO, the UN and regional partners, including the OSCE, the African Union (AU) and ASEAN; develop more tailored bilateral partnerships with like-minded countries and strategic partners, such as the U.S., Canada, Norway, the UK, Japan and others; develop tailored partnerships in the Western Balkans, the EU’s eastern and southern neighbourhood, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including through enhancing dialogue and cooperation, promoting participation in CSDP missions and operations and supporting capacity-building.

To see what the EU’s headless chickens are up to, let’s look at these partners in some more detail. As the African Union includes every country in Africa, bar the former French and Spanish protectorate of Morocco, one has to wonder what further devilment France, Africa’s favorite gendarme, has in store not only for Morocco but for all of that long exploited continent, which the EU continues to happily ravish.

One must also wonder why Australia and New Zealand are not included in the EU’s wish list of military partners and if an EU task force is already on its way to liberate Australia’s kangaroos and koala bears from whatever Putin or Assad happens to be ruling the roost there.

Not that koala bears and kangaroos are alone in being legitimate targets. If the EU is forming alliances with Norway and Japan, then not only Moby Dick but whales everywhere are in for a rough time.

Still, if we are to gang up with Latin America (given the Munroe Doctrine, with Uncle Sam’s permission, of course), that might result in a higher standard of samba and tango dancing in Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta, and I’d be the last to object to that (and I am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese but could do with a few samba pointers).

Still, outside of Russophones, that leaves us decidedly short of enemies; tiny Morocco hardly counts and we don’t want to hurt any kangaroos or koala bears.

But maybe panda bears are fair game as China is conspicuous by its absence on that list, as ASEAN is notable for being included on the list. The beauty of ASEAN, to me, is that it is composed of ten diverse South East Asian countries that are trying to plot a common future for themselves free from the economic, diplomatic and military meddling that are synonymous with the countries at the heart of the EU. All ten of those ASEAN countries live in the shadow of China and, though Vietnam in particular has had a chequered history with China, their future lies alongside China, not being used as an EU-NATO lever to upend China and themselves.

Stripped of its chaff, this is old European wine in new NATO bottles. It is to recreate the Wehrmacht with a gaggle of mini Napoleons to lead it and profit from it, along with whatever Irish, Lithuanian, Scottish and other satellite cheerleaders NATO have on the take.

Look at the Baltic pimple of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which is not content with oppressing its Russian speaking minority but is in a trade war with China and is hell bent on taking on Russia in a hot war because it thinks the EU, Ireland, Luxembourg and mighty Malta, in other words, has its back.

Ireland has nobody’s back, not even its own. Even as it howls to its Anglo American bosses that Russian ships passed within 500km of its coast, it allows British war ships moor in Cork, a city the British previously burned to the ground, and the Royal British Airforce violate its airspace on a daily base and even host air displays over its capital city.

Although the European peoples do indeed have some shared values, they are more benign than those their mercenary political class in pimple statelets like Ireland and Lithuania share. These satraps give China and Russia the finger because that is what their NATO masters require of them. Were those leaders adult, never mind independent, they would try to act as peace brokers and not pretend that their tiny, debt ravaged economies have anything more than a fig leaf to offer NATO’s war lords.

But that is not the Europe we have. Because ours is a continent beholden to NATO and its political puppets, we must all prepare for the deluge that is coming our way, and all because NATO’s Lithuanian satrap thinks she is a Moses, who can hold apart two parts of sovereign Russia to support the world’s richest clown who has NATO’s Kiev gig.

Europe, with its crocodile tears for kangaroos and koala bears, thinks those they target should forever stand beguiled by them, their French perfumes and their German colognes. Nothing stands still and China and the countries of ASEAN and the African Union do not. Europe should either holster its guns, sheathe its swords or prepare to use them and batten the hatches for the overwhelming incoming fire they, their French perfumes and their German colognes will get in return.

Reasons for the Russian special military operation in Ukraine

June 28, 2022

by Batko Milacic

On 24 February 2022, Russia started special military operation in the Ukraine. The main goals of the special operation was the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine and the liberation of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics.

After the far-right coup sponsored by US in Kyiv back in 2014 which resulted in overthrew of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there was a revolt of the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. The pro-Russian population of Ukraine makes it clear that they do not accept the coup that took place in Kiev. This resulted in the separation of Crimea as well as a similar desire of the people in other parts of Ukraine.

However, the new government in Kiev, which is under the full control of Washington, immediately declares them terrorists and an ‘’anti-terrorist’’ operation was launched. The result of that ’’anti-terrorist’’ operation is 13,000 to 14,000 killed civilians, destroyed civilian infrastructure and many, many other crimes were committed by the new Ukrainian regime against its own people.

Also, Russia’s “special operation” was a “response to what NATO was doing in Ukraine to prepare this country for a very aggressive posture against the Russian Federation.

The Ukraine was given offensive arms, including the arms which can reach the Russian territory, military bases were being built including on the Sea of Azov and many dozens of military exercises, including many of them on Ukrainian territory were conducted under NATO auspices and most of these exercises were designed against the interests of the Russian Federation.

Since 2014 and the coup in Ukraine Russia has been initiating draft treaties, draft agreements with Ukraine and NATO, with countries of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and lately in December last year Russia proposed another initiative to the United States and to NATO to conclude treaties with both of them on security guarantees to all countries in the Euro-Atlantic space without joining any military alliance.

However, every time when Russia initiated these steps, they were basically rejected with more or less polite behavior. In 2009, Moscow proposed the European Security Treaty which NATO refused to consider and the treaty actually was about codifying something to which all OSCE countries subscribed at the top level.

Russia had suggested that the political commitments to give countries the right to choose its alliances and not to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of another country, meaning that “no single organization in Europe can pretend to be a dominant player in this geopolitical space.

NATO responded to Russia by saying that there would be no legally binding security guarantees outside NATO, which makes the OSCE, which was signed by several states across the continent, completely irrelevant.

NATO, despite its promises and promises of its leaders, was moving closer and closer to the Russian border. That was unacceptable for Russia.

All of the above, in addition to Kiev’s canceling everything Russian, including the language, education, media and day-to-day use of the Russian language was, in addition to violating basic human rights, an open provocation against Russia.

So when the Ukrainian regime intensified at the end of last year and early this year shelling of the Eastern territories of the country in Donbas, in the worst violations of the Minsk Agreements which were signed in February 2015 and endorsed by the Security Council resolution, when they were targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, schools, hospitals, kindergartens, Russia.

More about the relations between Russia and Ukraine, the Kiev coup in 2014, American influence in Ukraine and the geopolitics of the current crisis can be seen in an excellent documentary ‘’Why the war between Russia and Ukraine began’’:

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions: news conference on current international issues

June 08, 2022

Source

Colleagues,

Last night and this morning, we received multiple questions from the media regarding our response to the unprecedented decisions made by a number of NATO members who blocked the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to the Republic of Serbia.

An unthinkable thing has happened. I understand the interest in our assessment of these outrageous actions. A sovereign state has been deprived of the right to carry out its foreign policy. At the moment, Serbia’s international activities, at least on the Russian track, are blocked.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This is another clear and cautionary demonstration of how far NATO and the EU can go in using the most low-grade methods of influencing those whose actions are grounded in national interests and who are against sacrificing their principles and dignity for the sake of the “rules” imposed by the West instead of international law. If the West sees a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister to Serbia almost as a threat on a universal scale, then, apparently, things are not so good there.

Lately, we’ve heard vociferous calls to the effect that Serbia needs to “make a final choice.” Yesterday, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt made a splashy statement saying that hosting the Russian Foreign Minister in Belgrade was the worst thing Serbia could do to advance its EU prospects. How do you like that? Several days ago (when my visit was announced), US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill published a big article titled “East or West: There is no third way,” where he used precisely these terms and logic with regard to Serbia’s future relations with the United States, the EU and the Russian Federation. Even an unsophisticated observer will understand that Brussels is not a place for the sovereign equality of states, as enshrined in the UN Charter, and even less so for the notorious freedom of choice, which Brussels constantly talks about.

During our discussions last year, we proposed signing a treaty on European security with the United States and NATO. We were told that NATO would not accept any principles regarding indivisible security, including the unacceptability of strengthening one’s own security at the expense of others. They will accept only the principle of freedom to choose partners. Now, the West has torn up this very principle, after centering it for so long.

The West believes that Serbia should not have freedom to choose partners. This cynicism is hardly surprising. The West is making it clear that it will continue to unscrupulously use pressure.

We’ve seen this kind of hypocrisy on many occasions, including during the tragic bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 by those who came to believe in their victory in the Cold War and their right to build the world exclusively according to their own design. This mentality manifested itself in the incident that we are now discussing.

I know they will come up with multiple explanations (we haven’t heard any so far). The countries that didn’t allow a flyover for the Russian aircraft will say that they received orders from the European Union or NATO. Those, in turn, will say that these countries were independent in their decision-making. You are well aware of all that. However, most importantly no one will be able to destroy our relations with Serbia.

We had plans to hold important and time-sensitive meetings with President Aleksandar Vucic, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic, and the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. That would be very helpful. These contacts did not go anywhere on other tracks. Nikola Selakovic was invited to pay a visit to Russia soon. I hope that the plane on which he will fly (a regular or a special fight) will not be subjected to another shameful “punishment” by Brussels and its “clients” that have lost all decency.

We planned to discuss a broad agenda, including the rapidly expanding bilateral strategic partnership and international affairs. Clearly, the Brussels puppeteers were not comfortable with providing us with a platform in the capital of Serbia where we could confirm Russia’s position on Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. They did not want us to express support for Belgrade’s initiative to implement the Open Balkan project in the interests of improving and bolstering relations between all the countries of that region.

Clearly, Brussels (NATO and the EU) wants the Balkans to become a project of its own called Closed Balkans. It is hard to draw other conclusions looking at the situation at hand.

Question: What measures will be taken for this meeting to be held? You said the closure of the air space by three countries is an unprecedented step. Is there a threat of this becoming a norm? That the air space will be shut for ministers to protect these countries?

Sergey Lavrov: This has already become the norm for the European Union and NATO. I mentioned the “sound effects” that accompanied this decision. They were made in the Western media and by some politicians.

They are increasingly afraid of the truth and are trying to escape into an invented, fake reality that is filling screens, social media and any information resources. They have completely shut down all alternative media at their own initiative. They want to resolve their electoral challenges by brainwashing their voters. If such a choice was made (no doubt about it), Brussels is going to decide the destinies of all European countries by itself.

This shows once again the worth of the status sought by the EU applicants. The explanation is simple. It was declared more than once (including by  Josep Borrell, the bellicose EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, who said this war must be won “on the battlefield” in order to “defeat Russia”) that while merely preparing to join the EU, the applicants must fully and unquestionably follow the European policy on security and defence. It is common knowledge that this policy is emphatically anti-Russian. This is what awaits the countries that are trying to find a balance of interests in preserving and developing their relations with the EU and non-EU countries.

We value Serbia’s courageous position in this respect. President Alexandar Vucic has emphasised that he will not engage in anti-Russia activities. But this is exactly what the EU wants – for all applicants to assume Russophobic commitments.

This case showed the worth of NATO membership for Montenegro and North Macedonia and the reasons why NATO needs such countries – only to punish Russia, expand the anti-Russia bridgehead in Europe and create threats and mechanisms of containment. This does not square in the least with the requirements of Article 10 of the Washington Treaty on NATO. This article states that new members must meet the criteria and, most important, contribute to the security of all members of the alliance.

Whose security did Montenegro and North Macedonia contribute to? But they have coped with their role really well as an instrument for deterring Russia and stooges of the big guys. I feel sorry for these countries. These are two friendly nations. They have a wonderful nature and history that they cherish. They valued our relations in the past. But the current political realities have put them into a sticky situation.

As for responses, we will never do anything that will further complicate ties between nations. This is what our Western partners are doing. They are facing problems at home not only because they are creating a socio-economic quagmire but also because more and more sensible Europeans are asking the question: Why turn Russia into an enemy? More and more people are recalling the great, proud and glorious history we have made in cooperation with many European countries.

Speaking about history, I would like to return to the failed visit to Serbia. As part of the itinerary, I was supposed to attend a ceremony at the Eternal Flame in memory of the liberators of Belgrade. I was also supposed to make an entry in the Honoured Guest Book. I planned to write the following. Imagine I am sending it to the Serbian people now.

“Let us be worthy of the memory of the Soviet and Yugoslav warriors who perished in the struggle against Nazism. Serbia and Russia stand in solidarity in their efforts to preserve the truth about the history of World War II. We will not allow the rebirth of Nazism.”

Please consider these words my message to all those who visit this magisterial monument in Belgrade.

Question (retranslated from Serbian): Will you please comment on how it has come to the point that you were literally denied the opportunity to fly on a visit to Serbia as three countries closed their airspace to your plane? What was the reason for this? Does it mean that you might encounter an obstacle like this on any other route over EU or NATO member countries? Or does it only have to do with your visit to Serbia?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not engage in speculation about other routes across EU and NATO member countries. Currently, we have no plans to meet [with any officials from these countries]. As for now, there are no invitations from NATO countries, nor am I expecting anyone in Moscow.

As for the reason you asked about, there was much speculation about it several days ago in the Serbian and Croatian press and in the press in other countries in the Western Balkans. For example, it was suggested that Sergey Lavrov was one of the most unwelcome guests in Serbia now because he decided to “go ahead” of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is planning to visit the Balkans in the next few days. The head of the German Government was allegedly disappointed and even felt hurt by this impolite, in his view, step on the part of Serbia. It is on the conscience of analysts who write things like these. I believe it is humiliating not only for the people whom they write about and whose response they try to predict but, primarily, for the media outlets that are trying to reach more readers and viewers through this type of “exercise”.

Question (retranslated from Serbian): Serbia has been pressured by both sides since the very start of the conflict in Ukraine in the context of the events it has nothing to do with. Will Russia show more understanding for the national interests and position of Serbia as distinct from some Western countries?

Sergey Lavrov: My response is a definite yes. We see how fiercely the West is reacting to what is happening in Ukraine. This proves that we are right. We have explained to the whole world why the special military operation was launched. In retrospect, we showed our efforts for many years to avert threats and not 10,000 km away but right on our borders. The United States considers it possible to declare “today” that Belgrade is posing a threat (to global or European security) and start bombing Belgrade “tomorrow.” Then, in a couple of years, the United States decides that one more country, also located 10,000 km away – Iraq – is posing a threat. Cities are erased from the face of the Earth and hundreds of thousands of civilians are killed. Then they decide that there is one more country across the Atlantic – Libya – that is also posing a threat to the US and must be destroyed for this reason.

We have long been saying that it is unacceptable to expand NATO eastward, support the coup d’etat in Ukraine and tolerate the subversion by Pyotr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky of the Minsk agreements that had been so hard to reach. All these warnings were ignored. The Russian people in Ukraine continued to be discriminated against across the board. Laws banning the Russian language were adopted and Nazi practices (theory and practice of Nazism) were established. The West applauded all this, presenting this process as an achievement of true democracy. It continued supporting the neo-Nazi armed forces of Ukraine that were shelling civilians and civilian infrastructure in Donbass every day. We had no other choice left.

I spoke about all this in detail and now I am reiterating what I said. But Brussels’ line in the Balkans and in Ukraine is the same. The only difference is that in the Balkans the EU favours those who impinge on the Serbian interests, while in Ukraine, NATO and the EU support the regime that has long declared a war on all things Russian. This is an interesting observation. I mentioned it during my interview with the media of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the gist of the EU’s mediation. Some process started in the Balkans after Kosovo proclaimed “independence” unilaterally and without any referendum. The UN General Assembly invited the EU to mediate between Pristina and Belgrade and its effort was rather successful: in 2013, the agreement was reached on establishing the Community of Serbian Municipalities of Kosovo. In 2014, when a coup was staged in Ukraine and the “counterterrorism” forces launched an operation against Donbass and Russians in Ukraine, the EU also acted as a mediator. This led to the signing of the Minsk agreements that established certain rules, just as with regard to the Serbian municipalities in Kosovo.

The EU made a solemn promise to support a special status for northern Kosovo and eastern Ukraine. The status did not imply any complicated things: to let people speak their native tongue (Serbians were supposed to be allowed to speak Serbian and Russians in Ukraine to speak Russian), teach children in schools in their native tongue, use it in daily life and have a certain autonomy as regards law-enforcement and economic ties with neighbouring regions (northern Kosovo with Serbia and eastern Ukraine with Russia). Identical agreements were made, which urged respect for national minorities in full conformity with international European conventions on the rights of these groups. The EU announced that it had succeeded in both cases. But it shamefully failed in both cases and had to admit it later on by saying it could not persuade Kiev to fulfil the Minsk agreements or make Pristina abide by its agreements with Belgrade. There is something in common as regards the EU’s treatment of different areas in our common geopolitical space, its goals, its competence and its ability to make deals.

Question: What role do you think Turkey could play in normalising the situation around Ukraine, especially since it aspires to the role of a mediator? How promising is the format that was initially established with Ukraine and that it subsequently torpedoed? What do you think about Ankara’s position on Sweden and Finland’s potential accession to NATO?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not even comment on the last question. This is Ankara’s sovereign business, just as it is for any other country that is a member of an alliance, union or organisation. I heard somewhere that some overzealous EU members from the Baltic states demanded during the discussion of the sixth package of anti-Russia sanctions that Hungary be deprived of the right to vote because it abused the rule of consensus. But this is a paradoxical claim. Consensus means only one thing: that everyone concurs on an issue. If a single member is against something, there is no consensus. Therefore, by voting against something, nobody can undermine the principles of consensus. I will leave this aside; let the NATO members figure it out among themselves. I already had an opportunity to comment on this. Let us see how this process will develop. As for us, this concerns Russia in just one regard: Will Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO create direct physical and material threats to Russia’s security? I think every sensible politician is aware that this will not make the situation any better politically.

As for the military aspect of this deal, we will see what will be done in this respect.

As far as Turkey’s role is concerned, yes it has its own position that it does not conceal. We do not have identical views on all issues; far from it. We have serious disagreements on many aspects of the regional situation. As our cooperation on Syria and later on the Libyan crisis showed, our presidents, while clearly outlining their views, respect each other’s positions. Instead of aggravating the existing differences, both leaders are trying to take into account each other’s concerns. This is how Moscow treats Ankara and Ankara reciprocates. This was the gist of a recent telephone conversation on the problems on food security the West has created over the past two years. Later it aggravated them further by imposing senseless sanctions. Having introduced them, the West suddenly started thinking about how they will affect food deliveries to different countries.

Yes, Russia and Turkey are interested in resolving these problems. In his recent interview, President of Russia Vladimir Putin explained in detail how to unblock food shipments from the Black Sea ports that had been mined by the Ukrainians, and from the ports of the Sea of Azov that have been demined and are now controlled by the Russian Federation. There are safe routes from there via the Kerch Strait to the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Specialists are leaving for Turkey today. Tomorrow, my delegation will head there. I hope we will manage to examine in detail all the options mentioned by President Vladimir Putin, and our countries’ leaders will dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. This depends exclusively on who will work with Ukraine and compel it to remove the mines in its own ports, as well as those who must remove all obstacles to shipments, their insurance and servicing of ships that will deliver grain and other food products to European ports and from there to developing nations.

Question: The UK has announced that it will supply multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russian forces. The United States is doing the same. You said that this was a risky path to take. But if Russia had not attacked Ukraine and there had been no Russian invasion, there would be no deliveries of rocket launchers. Do you agree?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not even try to step into America’s or Britain’s shoes. You don’t even want to hear our arguments. The issue is not that “if someone hadn’t attacked, you wouldn’t have done something.” The thing is that for twenty years, both you, the British, and the Americans, and all other NATO countries were urged to do what all of you subscribed to in 1999: no country shall strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. Why can’t you do that? Why is it that the commitments signed by your prime minister, the presidents and prime ministers of all other OSCE countries proved to be lies? Instead, you are saying that we should leave NATO alone and that it is “none of our business,” for you will accept whoever you want. You moved closer to our borders on five occasions (a defensive alliance!). The Warsaw Treaty and the USSR are no more. Who are you defending yourselves against? Five times you decided all on your own where your lines of defence would be. What’s that? This smacks of megalomania.

Today Jens Stoltenberg is saying that NATO’s responsibility should be ensured on the global scale in the Indo-Pacific region. This means that your next line of defence will be in the South China Sea. If we look at what is happening, it becomes patently clear that during all these years you believed you had the right to wreak havoc far from your borders. I understand that you are nostalgic for the British Empire and that there are seeds planted somewhere deep down. You are wistful, of course. Regions are picked out an ocean away from the United States, where allegedly there is a threat to Washington, and they are razed to the ground. Now it is Mosul in Iraq, now Raqqa in Syria, now Belgrade. Libya is in chaos, and countries are destroyed.

Just imagine for a minute that your neighbour, Ireland, which occupies half of the island of the same name, upped and banned the English language, or that Belgium banned French, or Switzerland outlawed French, German, or Italian. How would Europe look at that? I will not even expand on this. But Europe was looking on passively at them banning Russian. This took place in Ukraine. All things Russian – education, the media, everyday contacts, etc. – were prohibited. Moreover, the regime that openly professes and glorifies Nazism bombed and shelled ethnic Russians for eight years.

I understand, you must use cut and dried phrases to drum into the heads of your audiences this truth of yours: “if you hadn’t attacked, we wouldn’t have supplied the MLRS.”  Vladimir Putin has commented on the situation that emerged in connection with the arrival of the new weapons. I can only add that the longer-range arms you supply, the farther will we push from our border the line where the neo-Nazis will be able to threaten the Russian Federation.

Question: At the talks with Ukraine in March, Russia demanded that Kiev recognise the independence of Donbass and the Russian status of Crimea. Does Russia intend to demand that Kiev additionally recognise independence of the Kherson Region and part of the Zaporozhye Region currently controlled by the Russian forces, or their accession to Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: This question will be answered by the people living in the liberated territories. They are saying that they want to choose their future on their own. We fully respect this position.

As for the declared objectives, let me reiterate the following. The West has decided to supply weapons that, in all evidence, are capable of reaching not only the border areas of the Russian Federation but also its more remote points. Politicians and legislators in Ukraine itself are laughing at the Americans, who said they believed Vladimir Zelensky’s promise not to shell Russia. If this is how the United States and its satellites react to what is happening, I will stress once again: the longer-range are the systems supplied to the Kiev regime, the farther will we push the Nazis from the line from which threats emanate for the Russian population of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Question: What expectations do you have for your upcoming visit to Ankara? Will a mechanism to resolve the grain issue be announced? Will the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul be discussed?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already answered this question. The range of topics for the talks was outlined during a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Turkey.

In his recent interview, President Vladimir Putin gave a detailed description of the best options for exporting grain. We have been doing everything that is up to us for a long time. For more than a month, Russian servicemen both in the Black and Azov seas have been opening humanitarian corridors for foreign ships to leave, which are in fact kept hostage there by the Ukrainian authorities. The Ukrainians have to clear the mines for the ships to use these corridors. Our Turkish colleagues declared their readiness to help us in this. I think our military will come to terms on the best way to organise this, so that the ships pass to the open sea through the minefields that have to be cleared. Next, we guarantee – on our own or with our Turkish colleagues – that they will reach the straits and move further into the Mediterranean Sea.

The concept is absolutely clear. We have been talking about it for a long time. Attempts are being made to present the case as if Russia does not want something, as if it is necessary to involve some organisation like the UN or adopt a UN Security Council resolution. We have been through all these games. Everyone who can be even a little bit serious about the task of exporting grain from Ukrainian ports knows very well that only one thing must be done to achieve this: to order Vladimir Zelensky to give the command to clear the ports and stop hiding behind statements that Russia will take advantage of this. President Vladimir Putin said that we are not going to take advantage of this and are ready to tackle this problem earnestly. Let me stress that we have been doing everything in our power for a long time.

Question: An increasing number of countries are trying to join the attempts to settle the disagreements between Moscow and Kiev amid Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine and the problems it has caused. What proposals for mediation is Moscow currently considering as the most realistic and acceptable alternatives?

Sergey Lavrov: The most realistic proposals that did not provide for mediation were put forward at a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on March 29, 2022. These proposals were made by the Ukrainian party. We immediately accepted them as a foundation. Afterwards, the Ukrainian party walked out on these proposals either on its own initiative or under orders from Washington, London or Brussels. Western analysts say “mediation” is impossible as Ukraine’s only demand is that the situation be reversed to the state of affairs on the ground as it was on February 24, 2022. Fantasies are talked about every day, sometimes contradicting one another.

Ukraine is unwilling to hold negotiations. It has declined to do this. We have every reason to believe that in this way Kiev is following the wishes of the Anglo-Saxon leadership of the Western world. We were ready to work honestly based on our Ukrainian colleagues’ proposals. A draft agreement drawn up on the basis of those proposals has been shelved by the Ukrainian side for six weeks now.

Question: As for the provocation by Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro, do you think their position was agreed on with Brussels or directly with Washington? Or was it these countries’ desire to gain favour with Washington and Brussels? Has Europe been closed to our diplomacy altogether?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not know what lies behind this move – either an order or the desire to gain favour – but you have hit the mark. I believe it is a combination of both. They may have long since been ordered not to diverge from the policy of containing Russia, so the desire to be servile is part of it. Or maybe they received these orders yesterday. We do not know.

We are still maintaining diplomatic relations with the majority of western countries, including the unfriendly ones. At the same time I have repeatedly emphasised the main geopolitical conclusion from this situation: it is now impossible to agree with Europe on anything and be sure that they will deliver on their obligations. When these “demons” are driven out and Europe comes to itself, we will see what their perspective on our future ties are. We are not going to impose ourselves on them. Of course, we will weigh and consider what they propose. If their proposals do not disagree with our interests, we will be ready to resume our contacts.

Russia’s Necessary and Legal Military Response to US/ NATO Aggression in Ukraine

May 28, 2022

Source

By Maria Gritsch

Evidence shows that Russia’s special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine is a legally justified, critically necessary, and predictable response to the US’ recent escalation of its decades-long aggression against Russia in Ukraine–militarily, in the international corporate media, in cyberspace, and in the political-economic arena.  The US’ hostile actions against Russia were summarized in a 2019 US-Army funded RAND Corporation blueprint for “Over Extending and Unbalancing Russia.”  Underlying US actions is its aim is to dismember and asset-strip Russia–to appropriate its coveted oil, gas, and mineral resources and vast agricultural lands–and to enable US investors’ access to Russia’s economy. This is a step towards the US’ overarching goals of controlling Central Asia and achieving full spectrum dominance or global hegemony. Although the US war against Russia in Ukraine started years ago, US aggression escalated under the Biden administration and created conditions that posed an immediate existential threat to Russia and necessitated its military response.

In 2014, the US initiated a proxy war against Russia by engineering the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected president. This ignited a bloody civil war on Russia’s border in which the US-installed and US-armed Kiev regime attacked the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk whose largely ethnically Russian residents opposed the US coup. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) documented the Kiev regime’s attacks that killed thousands of civilians and terrorized the populace. In 2015, the US-installed then-president, Petro Poroshenko, publicly articulated Kiev’s anti-Russia stance and its policy for the Donbass:

“We will have jobs—they will not. We will have pensions—they will not. [….] Our children will go to schools and kindergartens—theirs will hide in the basements.”  Popular Ukraine pundits openly called for Donbas residents’ extermination. In 2015, Congress lifted its ban on funding Ukraine’s neo Nazi militias and placed US military trainers on the ground inside Ukraine. NATO and the CIA also began training Ukraine regime forces–effectively establishing Ukraine as a de facto US/NATO mercenary state. During the past eight years, Russia exhibited enormous restraint as the US and Ukraine violated the Minsk Protocols and rejected requests for diplomacy. In 2021, US aggression against Russia increased dramatically once Biden took office–in Ukraine and in the Black Sea. US actions and Ukraine President Zelensky’s public statements generated immediate threats to the survival of the Russian nation-state.

Russia’s Military Response Was Over-Determined By Four Existential Threats 

The US government and the corporate media falsely characterize Russia’s special operation as entirely ‘unprovoked’ and an ‘illegal invasion’. These allegations ignore four conditions which each independently compelled President Putin and the Duma to initiate Russia’s denazification and demilitarization operation and which establish this intervention as consistent with international legal norms.

Chief among the factors necessitating Russia’s immediate military response were indications of an imminent new massacre as 125,000 Ukraine forces amassed along the border of Donbass in December of 2021. This was never reported in the US corporate press.  Instead, the US government and corporate media repeatedly stated that Russian troops were gathering on Ukraine’s border (inside Russia) and predicted an impending Russian invasion. In hindsight, US intelligence could make this accurate claim because it was aware of the menacing buildup of Ukraine forces. Anticipating an imminent massacre, Russia was obligated to intervene militarily because it had a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) the citizens of Donbass.  R2P is a political commitment to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; it was endorsed by the United Nations at its 2005 world summit.

Second, on February 19, 2022, Ukraine President Zelensky announced that Ukraine would seek to acquire nuclear weapons, saying, “I want to believe that the North Atlantic Treaty and Article 5 will be more effective than the Budapest Memorandum.” Zelensky’s expressed desire to acquire nuclear weapons represented a dangerous threat to Moscow and signaled that the window of opportunity for conventional military intervention was closing.  It is unlikely that Zelensky operates completely autonomously; Biden publicly bragged about his control over Ukraine government policies and has remunerated Zelensky following Zelensky’s implementation of anti-Russia policies and actions.

Third, Zelensky’s repudiation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was a reminder of Ukraine’s intent to join NATO. For years, US President Biden advocated NATO membership for Ukraine, assuring Zelensky as recently as December 11, 2021 that this was in Ukraine’s own hands. NATO membership would entail NATO nuclear missiles inside Ukraine, aimed at Moscow. Ukraine’s geographic proximity to Russia eliminates the crucial minutes in which Moscow could verify and respond to an attack and would effectively place Russia and the US at DEFCON Level Two. The US dismissed Russia’s December 17, 2021 verbal and written requests for a diplomatic response to its security concerns. Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken deliberately rejected Russia’s entreaties and ignored the predictable consequences of Ukraine’s potential NATO membership. Renowned international relations scholars, diplomats and politicians, including John Mearsheimer, Jack Matlock, George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, and William Perry warned that NATO membership for Ukraine was a dangerous provocation which would trigger Russia’s military response.

A fourth threat requiring Russia’s intervention was the presence of US Department of Defense-operated biolabs inside Ukraine. Russia’s concerns were validated on March 11, 2022 when Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland admitted during Congressional questioning that the Ukraine biolabs contained ‘biological materials’ which the US ‘did not want to fall into Russian hands’. While the pathogenic biological agents in these biolabs do not technically constitute bioweapons, they can become bioweapons once there is a ‘mechanism for spreading the agent.’ A delivery mechanism need not be sophisticated to be effective.  Bioweapons researcher, Jeffrey Kaye, described the extreme level of US secrecy surrounding the biolabs. Kaye noted that the Director of the Pentagon’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Robert Pope, did not reassure when he stated that, “the Ukraine biolabs currently did not have the ability to manufacture bioweapons.”

Russia’s Intervention Is Consistent with International Law

These four US-generated conditions represented urgent existential threats to the Donbas and to the Russian nation-state and contradict US claims that Russia ‘illegally invaded Ukraine’ and that Russia’s intervention was unprovoked. Russia was compelled to intervene militarily to neutralize these threats and its response is consistent with the United Nations Charter of 1945 concerning international rules governing a state’s use of military force. The United Nations allows two exceptions to its prohibition of the use of force in international law: “self-defence under Article 51, and military measures authorised by the Security Council in response to “any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression.” In particular, the UN Charter notes, “there is no problem – and never has been – with that state, without first seeking Security Council approval, using military force ‘preemptively’.’ Both exceptions apply to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine: Russia perceived an imminent threat to the Donbas and an imminent threat to the Russian nation-state.  The immediacy of these threats obviated any requirement that Russia seek prior UN Security Council approval. Seeking UN approval would be futile, in any case, because the United States, a permanent UN Security Council member, is the principal combatant generating the hostilities.

Under the Biden administration, what began in 2014 as a US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine transformed into the US’ direct war against Russia. The US’ covert and overt military actions establish it as a legal “co-belligerent.” Now, the US continues to flood Ukraine with billions of dollars of heavy weapons and provides intelligence to guide Ukraine’s attacks on Russian forces. The US blatantly states that it wants to “weaken” Russia and that Russia must be defeated.  This is the US whose regime change wars in the Middle East killed 5 million; whose 1955-1975 war against Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia cost 3.4 million military and civilian lives. This is the US CIA whose coups and illegal interventions around the globe since its 1947 inception left a trail of bloodshed and chaos. Russia is legally and crucially defending the Donbas and the Russian nation-state against the US quest for global domination. The US generated four existential threats to the Donbas and to the Russian nation-state that necessitated Russia’s immediate intervention. The US—not Russia—is the illegal aggressor in Ukraine.

Sitrep Operation Z: NATO surrenders in Azovstal

May 18, 2022

Source

by Saker Staff with thanks to Pepe Escobar for that prescient title

Nazi Azovites – from rats in a hole to fish in a barrel – This is what denazification looks like!

The New York Times prevaricates as follows:  Ukraine ended its “combat mission” in Mariupol and said fighters were being evacuated, signaling that the battle at a steel plant was over. https://nyti.ms/3sIon9B

Zelensky adds some Ukrainian/Cocainian dreams to that: “The evacuation mission from Azovstal continues. It is led by our military and intelligence officers.”  (OK, Mr PianoDick, they’re being led straight into war criminal prison! – thank your military and intelligence officers for doing the job for the world!)

Dmitry Polyansky says it differently:  “I didn’t know English has so many ways to express a single message: the #Azovnazis have unconditionally surrendered.”

Nightfall did not stop the surrender process.  Ukrainians are still surrendering in crowds without stopping.  Sufficient forces to deal with this are on the terrain and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR are kicking ass and taking prisoners.

Illumination rockets are constantly launched into the sky, which at least somehow facilitates the crawling out of underground inhabitants 🙂

These invincible heroes are emaciated, ragged, hungry and a pitiful sight.

Donetsk Defense HQ – 962 Azovites surrendered and the process continues.  In the meantime, 11 servicemen of the 25th airborne brigade and seventeen 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.  We hope this is the start of a mass surrender.

This is denazification and movies will be made and books will be written.  After this major loss of prestige, expect a doozy of a false flag.

Starting point today is the MoD report and somewhat reformatted for ease of use.

💥Over a day, high-precision air-based missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces have hit

  • 2 command posts, including the territorial defense headquarters near Soledar in the Donetsk People’s Republic,
  • as well as 31 areas of concentration of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment, including locations of foreign mercenary units from European countries in Nikolaev and Krasnogorovka.
  • In addition, 2 Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft have been destroyed at a military airfield near Dnepropetrovsk, 1 division of Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems near Nikolaev, as well as 4 ammunition depots for missile and artillery weapons and ammunition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Ugledar, Pokrovskoe, Soledar and Bakhmut, Donetsk People’s Republic.

✈️💥Operational-tactical and army aviation have hit

  • 3 command posts,
  • 41 areas of concentration of AFU manpower and military equipment, as well as
  • 1 ammunition depot near Ugledar, Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 270 nationalists and up to 54 armoured and motor vehicles.

💥Missile troops and artillery have hit

  • 76 command posts,
  • 421 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration, as well as
  • 147 artillery and mortar units at firing positions, including
  • 1 Ukrainian battery of US-made 155mm M777 howitzers near Pogornoe.
  • 1 pontoon crossing point equipped by Ukrainian Armed Forces to cross the Severskyi Donets River has been destroyed near Protopopovka, Kharkov Region.

💥Russian air defence means have shot down

  • 1 Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft over Tripolie, Donetsk people’s republic.
  • 1 Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 has been shot down near Kamennaya Yaruga, Kharkov Region.
  • 15 Ukrainian UAVs have been shot down near Semenovka, Velikie Prokhody, Balakleya, Malye Prokhody, Velikaya Kamyshevakha in Kharkov Region, Rudnichnyi, Grabskoe, Staromikhailovka, Volnoe in Donetsk People’s Republic, Belyaevka, Chernobaevka in Kherson Region.
  • 8 Ukrainian Smerch multiple-launch rockets have been also intercepted near Kamenka and Malaya Kamyshevakha, Kharkov Region.

Not too shabby for a day’s work. And they will repeat it, and repeat it, and rinse, and repeat it again.

Secrets from Azovstal and surroundings are beginning to be revealed.  There will be many!

How the OSCE mission cooperated with the Azov terrorists

The filming crew of IA “Arbelet” was the first to visit the territory where the OSCE mission in Mariupol was located. Among other valuable finds, they found two mortar positions, equipped directly near the mission’s administrative building. The mortars themselves and their ammunition are of Italian origin, as evidenced by the markings. Another noteworthy fact: the last delivery of the Italian BC is dated March 11, 2022.

Do ordinary Italians know that their authorities are helping outright terrorists of the national battalions? How will the OSCE comment on the fact that they were in clear collusion with the terrorists, allowing “Azov” to fire from their territory? How, after these facts, will the OSCE be able to clean up their reputation at all?

(Sidebar:  Do you now understand why Russia is leaving international organizations?  Simple, these organizations are corrupt to the extent that they cannot be reformed but they have to be broken.  Mr Lavrov today is meeting with SCO Secretary-General Ming where new structures are being built.)

Update from Brian Berletic:  He views the canoodling from western sources and he hoists them on their own petard.  Do take a listen, specifically Brian’s explanation of how the Russian command and soldiers keep certain areas ‘fixed’.

Here is another example of such a ‘fix’. The Russian army attacked Ukrainian defense facilities in the Odessa region with precision weapons from the Black Sea. This information is confirmed by the Ukrainian operational command “South”. https://t.me/intelslava/29149

(Sidebar:  Today in Odessa – On this day “Russian Spring”

May 18, 2014 – “Odessa is a Russian city”, “Donbass – we are with you” – such slogans sounded at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa.

Hundreds of protesters with Russian flags and banners of the Victory came out not only to honor the memory of those killed in the May 2 tragedy, but also to show the Ukrainian Nazis that Odessans are Russian people who are not afraid of the Kyiv punishers.)

Is the Russian SMO beginning to touch hearts and minds?  Remember the stories that Russia underestimated the willingness of the Ukrainian people to support the denazification. 

Telescoping into the current pic on a map­ we see that cauldrons do not come in onesies any longer but in threes:

Readovka on the fronts

Kharkiv Front. The fighting in the area of Kazachya Lopan and the village of Liptsy is of a positional nature. The enemy in the area of Ternovka reached the border MASS MEDIA: Ukrainian Armed Forces have reached the Russian-Ukrainian border in Kharkiv region. Ukraine conducted a counterattack in the north-east of the Russian Federation, and is also probing the positions of the Russian Armed Forces in the area of Volchansk. The Russian Armed Forces do not conduct active offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction.

On the Izyum part of the front, fighting continues in the area of Kamyshevakha, Kurulka and Dolgenky. The enemy continues to try to strain the flank of the Russian group to the north-west of Izyum, forcing the Seversky Donets. In the Slavic direction, the troops took Drobyshevo and Krasny Liman in a semicircle. The front also approached Svyatogorsk.

In the Luhansk-Donetsk part of the front, fighting continues in the area of Kamyshevakha, north of Popasna. There are also battles for Toshkovka. There are attempts to enter the flank and rear of the fortified area in Gorsky and Zolotoy. Fighting continues on the outskirts of Severodonetsk, as well as to the west of Lisichansk in the area of Privolye and Belogorovka. According to unconfirmed reports, Russian troops occupied the town of New York.

On the Zaporozhye part of the front without any special changes. An attempt by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to attack in the area of Malinovka ended in failure and heavy losses. The battles here are of a positional nature all the way from Gulyai-Pole to Velikaya Novoselovka. The enemy is moving part of the reserves from the Zaporizhia direction to the Donbass, where the situation for the Severodonetsk group is rapidly deteriorating. Heavy fighting continues in the area of Novomikhailovka and Ugledar.

On the Southern Front, the development of the offensive is not yet taking place. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are waiting for the landing of Russian troops in the Odessa region and are working on mining the entire coast. In the Nikopol and Kryvyi Rih directions, the Ukrainian command is accumulating forces to uncover weaknesses in the Russian positions.

On arrival, it is already traditional – the APU shelled Petrovsky district Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled Petrovsky district of Donetsk.  The shell hit the school grounds Donetsk, a shell hit the school territory. The Ukrainian side also shelled the outskirts of Kherson, which resulted in the death of one civilian.

SmoothieX12 is correct when he says that the only battle that the Ukrainians know, is the battle taught to them by their NATO advisors, which is to shell civilian territory and hide behind civilians.

The battlefront is still in a relatively chaotic state, but Russia is now forming and shaping it.

Let’s take a look at Martyanov’s levels of war as we can categorize from this handy depiction:

Finland and Sweden formally submit applications to join NATO – currently, it is harassment but may well move up the scale to major operations.  We cannot say where Russia will stop.

FM Lavrov: “Ukraine… No one wants Ukraine. They are an expendable country in this hybrid war against Russian Federation. No one has doubts anymore”.   The language from Russian sources has changed and they now say clearly that Ukraine is a tool and the fight is against Russia by the West.

Weapons

Russian self-propelled howitzers “Msta-S” and “Acacia-M” are being put to good use and they destroy armored vehicles and fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.  Distance of fire is up to 30 km and they use high-explosive fragmentation projectiles that can destroy buried concrete fortifications of the enemy. https://t.me/intelslava/29140

Incoming weapons.  On the Polish-Ukrainian border, seven South African-made Mamba Mk2 EE armored vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Estonia as military assistance were seen. These vehicles were specifically produced for the Estonian army.

We have to conclude if we can see these armored vehicles via telegram channel on the Polish border, then the Russian forces can see them too.  And ditto for all other incoming weapons.

There are smaller reports of new Russian artillery weapons appearing in the field of battle, but it is limited as yet.

Major Fail, other than war. 

Washington failed to get the summit with the ASEAN countries to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ASEAN nations are Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Another failure of freezing funds:  Switzerland released $6.33 billion of Russia’s frozen funds.

We end with biolabs

Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy gives key takeaways from the last UN Security Council meeting on US biolabs in Ukraine:

  1. The US refuses to explain its engagement in military bio activities in Ukraine. Keeps shrugging off several hundred pages of evidence. “These are all lies and Russia’s propaganda, and we are good guys because it can’t be otherwise”. Not a word on the point of discussion.
  2. Western delegations are praising the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and calling on us to make use of its mechanisms. They fail to mention however that it is the US who is blocking the elaboration of BWC verification mechanism. Such a hypocricy!
  3. The US refuses to explain why it doesn’t want an effective international verification mechanism for bio weapons. Why act like this unless you are trying to conceal something? Why does Washington position itself above the international law? American exceptionalism at its best.

Main conclusion: we have definitely hit their soft spot. It’s clear for any unbiased observer that they are obscuring the issue and trying to divert attention from this uncomfortable topic trying to discourage us to raise it by repeating mantras on “Russian aggression” etc.

So stay tuned, there’s more evidence on US military biological programs to follow!

Top level headline in China’s Global Times today:  ‘Neo-Nazism’ poisons Ukraine, Europe under US, West’s connivance

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

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/

A disturbing trend in Ukraine

April 10, 2022

A disturbing trend in Ukraine

This article provides an overview into a deeply disturbing trend in Ukraine, one that started in 2014, that has accelerated and intensified since 24 February 2022. Extrajudicial killings, harassment, arbitrary detentions by men in camouflaged uniforms, beatings and disappearances continue to take place on a regular basis in Ukraine.  Most of the detentions and disappearances are often carried out by the Ukrainian Security service, (SBU), under a sweeping repression.

While we have all heard about the egregious processes that took place in the USA, a witch hunt for suspected communists, better known McCarthyism,  a similar course of action is taking place in Ukraine.  The Ukrainian authorities and associated ultra-nationalist groups are after people who were not only very critical of the former but also the current Ukrainian government.   Threats, harassment and calls for violence has been and continue to be made against those who:

  • publicly supported the Minsk Agreements,
  • are against “de-communisation”,
  • highlight human rights abuses,
  • advocated for a settlement of the conflict in Donbass,
  • are deemed to be “pro-Russian”.
  • Church representatives and clergy;
  • For reading the news in Russia.

Add into this maelstrom another layer of extra-judicial repression, in the form of impromptu justice being meted out to civilians, bound up, tied to posts, beaten, humiliated and some killed as a result.  There are simply hundreds and hundreds of video clips and photos showing these events, which are outlined in another article.

People are not only being tied up to street furniture as suspected looters, but people are being bound up or arrested for being pro-Russian, for not being able to say the word “Palyanytsya” in Ukrainian.  Not every ethnic Russian speaker in Ukraine can speak good Ukrainian, and some have trouble pronouncing certain words in Ukrainian.  People have been reportedly killed for not pronouncing the shibboleth word correctly and thus assumed to be part of subversive Russian reconnaissance groups.

The so called” international community” has expressed no interest or desire to take a closer look at this disturbing situation in Ukraine.  Once again, the moral high ground as avidly promoted by thousands of NGOs’, think tanks and a multitude of reports, dissipates rapidly in reality into a dark void.  The silence is deafening and all of them mute on the repression that is taking place in Ukraine, likely start the process of EU accession in June.  Obviously, a highly repressive with systematic serious human rights abuses committed against civilians, by members of the military and police are not an impediment to being part of the European and NATO family.

Once upon a time, there would have been prisoners of conscience that Amnesty International would have supported and denounced human right abuses, now it is a case of total amnesia, right across the board, a deadly silence reigns over the widespread instances of human right abuses and atrocities, unless it is finger pointing at Russia.

For 8 years Ukrainian nationalists have internalised naked hate against Russian speaking Ukrainians and by default judged them to be guilty of being pro-Russian. Within this scope includes being pro-Minsk agreements, advocating for peace in Donbass or highlight human rights abuses. Against this background of feverish witch-hunts, any hint of the slightest suspicion of cooperation or aiding Russians is tantamount to a summary execution in some situations, or more likely, a beating and being handed over to the SBU.

A short list of those who have fell foul of the Ukrainian government and its policies:

Vlodymyr Struk (Major of Kreminna)

Denis Kireev  (high-ranking government official)

Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich (political party leaders)

Nestor Shufrych (Verkhovna Rada deputy)

Yuri Tkachev (journalist)

Yan Taksyur (writer)

Elena Berezhnaya (Human rights activist / ex-figure skater)

Dmitry Dzhangirov,  (TV presenter, political scientist);

Yuriy Dudkin, (political scientist);

Maxim Rindkovsky (MMA fighter);

Dmitry Skvortsov (journalist);

Aleksandr Matiushenko (activist organisation “Livytsia”);

Oleg Smetanin (violinist);

These individuals and others are listed in further details later on in the article.

Remember these people, these Ukrainians who for various reasons fell afoul of the authorities, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, or killed.   Those detained are often put under huge stress, threatened, beaten, or tortured into giving confessions.   Another aspect to consider is that many lawyers do not wish to represent these people, as doing so may lead to being accused of being an accessory and likewise accused of being “agents of the enemy”.

The SBU, human rights abuses and paramilitaires

The SBU has a history of torture, brutal interrogations, extra judicial murders and other violence and threats carried out with total impunity.  The Ukrainian government knows this, more so since Zelensky, since he  appointed Oleksandr Poklad as the SBU’s counter-intelligence chief in 2021.  Poklad has a sinister reputation as the ‘The Strangler’ . He is known to have links to organised crimes and involvement in extrajudicial killings. This person is now a top-level official and just one of a number of decidedly highly unscrupulous characters that are law enforcement officers.

A glimpse of some of the attitudes tolerated within the law enforcement structures, starting with 2018, when an ex-SBU adviser,  former deputy in the Rada, member of the far-right nationalist party Svoboda [Freedom], Yuri Michalchyshyn, advocated the following:

To propagate a total extermination of the Kremlin vultures and ghouls, local traitors and turncoats, its voluntary helpers and accomplices — instead of “reconciliation” with the traitors of the Motherland and the enemies of the Ukrainian people.

Another paramilitary group, Right Sector also has wide connections with the SBU.

A picture containing person, outdoor, dressed Description automatically generated

SBU officer, with Right Sector insignia on 6th April. Notice the other insignia, one SS Galicia of WW2 notoriety.

Prior to the start of the Russian military operation against Kiev,  a few instances of the brutality, torture and extra judicial killings were reported by a host of organisations, HRW,  OSCE, Amnesty International, OHCHR and in France — OFPRA.  These reports provided a glimpse into a situation that was overwhelmingly swept under the carpet by EU, U.S. officials and the corporate MSM alike.   Most of the cases were connected to the conflict in Donbass, yet there were many instances elsewhere in Ukraine.

“OHCHR documented allegations of enforced disappearances, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and torture and ill-treatment, perpetrated with impunity by Ukrainian law enforcement officials, mainly by elements of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).”

Source: OHCHR

The June 2016 UN report noted that the cases of incommunicado detention and torture brought to their attention in late 2015 and early 2016 “mostly implicate SBU”

Source: HRW Report 2016

The SBU accounts for a large percentage of reported “arbitrary detention, torture, and abuse of detainees”,  from a period from 2014 to 2019. In reality, this is a fraction of what took place, given the one-sided assessment of many of these reports in the first place.  Horrid glimpses into these detentions were provided:

Several also alleged that after being transferred to SBU premises they were, variously, beaten, subjected to electric shocks, and threatened with rape, execution, and retaliation against family members, to induce them to confess to involvement with separatism-related criminal activities or to provide information. (HRW 2016)

Notably, during the Donbass conflict, the Ukrainian side committed extremely  heinous crimes, such burying people alive, beheadings (as reported by Newsweek), pitiless systematic acts of torture, rapes, looting, on a significantly much larger scale compared to the reported crimes committed by the “pro-Russian side”  also featured in these reports.  On the flip side, the Russian side has also documented the human rights abuses and repression:  report of violations from 2017-2020.

Tellingly, even the U.S State Department managed to notice and picked up on these disturbing aspects of Ukrainian law enforcement behaviours:

“UN noted significant deficiencies in investigations into human rights abuses committed by government security forces …into allegations of torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and other abuses reportedly perpetrated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).”

Source:  U.S. Report

These reports made for grim reading, yet no one in the corporate Western media dare to make references to these, but instead continue to whitewash the hideous crimes committed by Ukrainian law enforcement & military units.  The worst cases are carried out by paramilitary and ultra-nationalist units.

More recently:

No justice, truth or reparation was attained for any of the victims of enforced disappearance, secret detention and torture of civilians by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from 2014 to 2016, and not a single suspected perpetrator was prosecuted”

2020 Amnesty International 

The SBU has a harrowing track record of serious human right abuses, which continues today.  Worse still, is the participation of  the likes of ‘Azov’, Right Sector and others in the detentions and also disappearances of people.  The Neo-Nazi group C-14 leader, Yevhen Yaras openly acknowledged working with the Ukrainian security service, (SBU).

Now, we are being told repeatedly that this is “Russian misinformation” by certain corporate MSM outlets or being told that this is not relevant any longer. As if this was remotely possible to gloss over or make light of absolutely odious human rights abuses. Washington, Brussels are indeed capable of doing, as they shown a long-standing ability to sweep under the carpet, Contras in Nicaragua, death squads in South and Central America,  KLA crimes in Kosovo, moderate rebels in Syria and now Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Mykola Azarov made references to death squads in a video.

These practices and human right abuses still take place on a regular basis in Ukraine.  Details of arrests, detentions are always sketchy as legal representation is practically nil and no communication is possible.

In short, under Zelensky’s rule, the government agencies and others armed groups are detaining, imprisoning, and killing people in Ukraine. Anyone that criticises or is considered as opposing his government, any perceived actions, (current or historical) is duly noted,  and thus is likely to get persecuted, detained by either the SBU or irregular paramilitary groups.  The government knowingly allows these human rights abuses for its own interest.

It must remembered that the Ukrainian authorities have continued to use a  database, the Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) website, to highlight those that they consider as ‘enemies of Ukraine’.  This controversial website created in 2014, under the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, (the Ukrainian deputy minister of internal affairs).    Gerashchenko stated that the site was “extremely important for the national security of Ukraine.” He then added that “anyone who does not understand this or tries to interfere with this work is either a puppet in the hands of others or works against the interests of national security.” [2]

The inclusion of details of individuals, recommended for liquidation and arrest, has in the past led to people, Ukrainian and foreigners, being targeted, arrested, and murdered.  A Ukrainian journalist, Oles Buzina, had his personal details published on the site in 2015, which led to his murder shortly afterwards. All of this in a supposedly democratic Ukraine.

Remember that Zelensky has now outlawed all opposition parties —but not  all, those parties who support him are allowed to continue, with ultra-nationalists & Neo-Nazis part of these political parties and who happen to be highly influential too. Facebook and other social media platforms also helped in this process by deleting sites and accounts of opposition organisations and individuals.

Top-level officials and media outlets are wilfully ignoring what is taking place in Ukraine, by believing that the Russians are far worse, in scope and extent of human right abuses, while at the same time sanitising a wide range of heinous abuses, disappearances and killings in Ukraine. Additionally, this is swept under the vague categories of ‘treason’, support for the Russians or “saboteurs”:

Graphical user interface, text, application Description automatically generated

Individual cases

Case: Vlodymyr Struk

Mayor of Kreminna

Event: kidnapped & extra judicially killed

Date: 01 March 2022

Accused of: being a traitor  and pro-Russian

Ref: New York Post  /  Daily Mail

Notes: Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, announced on his social media account that the Mayor of Kreminna, Volodymyr Struk, was shot dead by “unknown patriots” after he was kidnapped from his home. He also added that Struk ‘was judged by the court of the people and called hime a traitor.

Case: Denis Kireev 

A member of the Ukrainian government negotiating team.

Event: murdered on the street of Kiev, near Pechersky Court building by the SBU security service.

Date: 5 March 2022

Accused of:  allegedly for having “pro-Russian position” and ‘ suspicion of treason’.

Ref: Times of Israel / Daily Mail / Kyiv Independent

Notes: gunned down while “resisting arrest”.   Reportedly a member of the Ukrainian military intelligence service.

Case: Nestor Shufrych

Verkhovna Rada deputy  (Opposition Bloc)

Event: Arrested and kidnapped

Date: 4 March 2022

Accused of: allegedly “providing Russia with intelligence”.

Ref:  Reportedly detained by the 206th Territorial Defense Battalion.  Photos + video clip of him being intimated and threatened.

Case: Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich

Leading members of the outlawed Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine.

Event:  Arrested and detained by SBU

Date: 6 March 2022

Accused of: “spreading “pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views.” and ‘treason’.

Ref:

Notes: Currently held in a pretrial detention centre, been beaten and are facing execution on false charges.

Case:  Yan Taksyur

Writer and TV journalist / presenter.

Event: Arrested and detained by the SBU.

Date:  10 March 2022

Accused of: ‘treason’

Ref:  70-year-old native of Kiev, an Orthodox journalist and TV presenter, “Pershiy Kozatsky”. Currently in a pre-trial detention centre.

Case:  Yuri Tkachev 

Scientist and independent journalist

Editor-in-chief of the online magazine https://timer-odessa.net/.

Event: Arrested and detained in Odessa

Date: 19 March 2022
Accused of: ‘ treason’.

Ref: No contact or information on his current status. Wrote just before his arrest: “They came for me, it was a pleasure to talk”.

Case: Dmitri Dzhangirov

TV presenter, political scientist

Member of the “Novyi Sotcialism” (“New Socialism”) party

Event: detained by the SBU (?)

Date: 7 March 2022

Accused of: ?

Ref:  According to social media information, “subscribers denounced that an anti-Russian statement was published on his Youtube channel “The Capital”.  He was subsequently forced to make a anti-Russian speech on camera and on his YouTube channel as well.

Case: Elena Berezhnaya 

Sportswoman / human rights activist

Event: Detained by the SBU (?)
Date: 16 March 2022

Accused of:

Ref:  article

Case: Maxim Rindkovsky

MMA fighter

Event: detained, beaten and tortured by ultra-nationalist group

Date:  Precise date unknown-  1st week of March 2022

Accused of: having trained  with MMA fighters from the Chechen Ahmat club during his sports career.

Ref:  Article /   Current status is unknown although alleged to have been killed.

Case:  Dmitry Skvortsov 

Journalist and peace activist of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Event: Detained by the SBU

Date: 10 March 2022

Accused of:

Ref:  tweet 

Case: Mikhail Pogrebinsky

Political scientist

Event: Arrested by the SBU

Date: 27 March 2022

Accused of: treason and illegal enrichment.

Ref: Considered to be pro-Russian as he appeared on Russian TV channels.

Case: Vladimir Ivanov

Left-wing activist

Date:  4th March

Case: Aleksandr Matiushenko

Militant of the Ukrainian left-wing organisation “Livytsia”

Date: 3rd March

Charged with “participation in the aggressive war”.

Ref: Arrested by SBU and ‘Azov’

Case: Oleg Smetanin 

Violinist

Date: 4th March

Accused of: passing information about an airport to the Russians.

Case: Vasily Volga

Former leader of the Union of Left Forces,

Date: 7 March

Case: Yury Dudkin

Journalist

Date: 7 March

Case: Aleksandr Karevin

Writer

Date: 7 March

Ref: wrote on his FB page: “The SBU has arrived”

Case: Oleg Pankartiev

Assistant to a deputy of the opposition party “OPZZH (Opposition Platform for Life)

Date: 9 March

Accused of: ?

Ref: Brutally beaten during arrest and is still detained by SBU.

Case:   Spartak Golovachiov 

Left-wing activist

Date: 11 March

Ref: Managed to write on social media : “They are breaking down my door armed with Ukrainian uniforms. Goodbye.”  Whereabouts unknown.

Case: Elena Viacheslavova

Human rights activist

Date: 11 March in Odessa

Detained by SBU

Ref: The daughter of Mikhail Viacheslavov, burned alive on 2 May 2014, in the Odessa House of Trade Unions.

Case: Artiom Khazan

Representative of the Shariy Party

15 March

Detained by the SBU

Ref: He was severely beaten during his arrest by the SBU,

The next day, a video appeared on social networks, in which Khazan slandered the party chairman Anatoli Shariy. Current whereabouts unknown.

Case: Yury Bobchenko

Chairman of the trade union of Ukrainian steelworkers and miners

Date: 19 March

Arrested by Ukrainian military.

Ref: A worker from the Arcelor Mittal Krivoi Rog company.

Case: Gleb Lyashenko 

Political scientist and blogger

Date:  29/30 March

Arrested by SBU (?) and charged with treason.

Case: A German

Ex-journalist — Radio Liberty

Case: Oleg Novikov

Opposition Activist

Date: 5 April

Arrested by SBU

Ref: Managed to write on Telegram: “They came for me. Don’t think ill of me. Stay yourself”

As you can see from the list, the whereabouts of many are not known, actual accusations against them are not known either.  Just an accusation, having your name on a blacklist can get you kidnapped, brutalised, and potentially killed in Ukraine.

Situation

Situation in Ukraine

There are still some brave few who try to gather information on the arrests and detentions.   The increasing levels of lawlessness and repression makes it very difficult to collect precise information.

Embedded into the already volatile mix of state repression, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists operate outside of any legal oversight, thus not accountable to state political structures.  Moreover, many had total impunity since 2014 and despite a couple of incidents between the SBU and Right Sector, they still have undeclared support by all levels of Ukrainian officialdom.

It is only to be expected that ultra-nationalists have taken matters in own their hands, such as the kidnapping, beating and torture of an MMA fighter, Maxim Rindkovsky, solely based on the fact he had trained in the past with a Chechen MMA club. Unverified claims made indicate the participation of Azov members in the torture and disappearance of Maxim Rindkovsky.

Other recent instances of the rule of the mobultra-nationalist, territorial defense enforcers:

13 March, the house of Dmitry Lazarev, a left-wing activist, was burnt down, (in a village near Odessa).

16 March, in the village of Tomashevka in the Kiev region: Guennady Batenko, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was kidnapped by an armed commando. He was released by the SBU the next day.

27/28 March: Slema, Cherkasy region. A priest is filmed being forcibly taken away by a detachment of “territorial defense” ultra-nationalists (Teroborona), along with parishioners who try to protect him. His whereabouts are not known.

Solely judging by the list as outlined in this article, it is just a little indication of the broader situation where there are hundreds of detainees in Ukraine, their circumstances and status hasn’t warranted the attention to make their disappearance / arrest on social media, their whereabouts are not known at all.  As the conflict continues, the repression continues to build up against a wide-ranging category of people.

While this is all happening, the Western authorities and corporate MSM are completely indifferent to the situation and turmoil.   The MSM are indeed complicit in whitewashing these abominable events.   As expected, the West organisations are all too eager to publicise any crackdown of dissenting voices in Russia. Yet, they have no time or inclination whatsoever to do likewise for those critical of Zelensky’s government, state- repression that is innumerably and unrelentingly cruel, harsher, and significantly deadlier.

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The long list of human rights abuses and ill-treatments by the SBU has been amply catalogued in the past, along with the assistance of ultra-nationalist groups, who are tacitly permitted to act indiscriminately against anyone they deem as an “enemy of Ukraine”.

The fate of at least a dozen well-known opposition activists, political analysts, journalists, politicians, and bloggers remains unclear. All this taking place with a cold indifference of well-known Western human right organisations and more strikingly, the Western corporate MSM, all under the auspices of the supposedly ‘enlightened’, ‘civilised’ Europe and North America. No one is raising a voice against these actions.

———-

* 2016 OSCE-report “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture and inhumane treatment”.

[2] https://www.defenddemocracy.press/killing-and-terrorizing-journalists-in-ukraine/

Against the background of rampant corruption, by the end of 2021, Ukraine fell to 122nd place out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International, 2021).

FM Sergey Lavrov’s presser after talks with India’s Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, New Delhi, April 1, 2022

April 02, 2022

Ed Note:  Mr Lavrov held various pressers in his travels to China, India and the meetings between Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries (Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).  If you are interested, that speech contains the rebuilding of Afghanistan and the progress being made.  It is here:  https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1807302/

The main take-away (and there are many) from Mr Lavrov’s visits, is of course this:

A new reality is taking shape: the unipolar world is irretrievably receding into the past and a multi-polar world is being born. This is an objective process that cannot be stopped. There won’t be one single ruler in this new reality. All key states with a decisive influence on the world economy and politics will have to come to terms. Being aware of their special status, they will ensure the observance of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, including the main one – the sovereign equality of states. Nobody on Earth will be considered a second-rate player. All nations are equal and sovereign.

Instead of featuring all the pressers and speeches, this time we focus on India, because the detail level of a new financial system becomes clearer.  This is the source:  https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1807582/

Posted by Amarynth


1 April 2022 18:13

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following talks with Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, New Delhi, April 1, 2022

Question: How would you assess your talks with the minister? How can Russia support India at a time when it faces security challenges from its neighbours?

Sergey Lavrov: The talks can be characterised by the relations which we have developed with India for many decades. Our relations are a strategic partnership, even a specially privileged strategic partnership, as our Indian friends called it some time ago. And this was the basis on which we have been promoting our cooperation in all areas: the economy, military-technical, humanitarian, investment and many other fields.

And I believe that India’s foreign policy is characterised by independence and by concentrating on its own legitimate national interests. The same policy foundation exists in the Russian Federation, and this makes us, as big countries, good friends and old partners, an important part of international relations.

We have always respected each other’s interests and we always tried to accommodate the interests of the other. This was the underlying approach to our discussion, which covered all bilateral areas of cooperation, and covered, of course, international and regional issues. The situation in the region is not perfect, as with any other place in the world. We support Indian efforts to consolidate the regional countries and promote mutually beneficial projects in South Asia in particular.

Question: For a long time, Russia has been building close relations with the Western countries. Today, economic cooperation has been virtually destroyed. You are on your first Asian tour since the start of the special operation in Ukraine. First you visited China, and now India. Does this mean Russia will seek replacement markets for oil and gas in this region?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe China and India are natural destinations for this tour. Both countries are Russia’s close partners. The three of us participate in a number of international formats, including BRICS, the SCO, and formats that have developed around ASEAN: the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Security Forum (ARF). There is also the RIC (Russia, India, China) format. RIC Foreign Ministers have met a couple of dozen times since its inception (more than twenty years ago). The last meeting took place in the autumn of 2021. A detailed document was adopted reflecting our common approaches to a number of international issues. It paves the way for further actions in this direction.

In China, my colleague, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and I discussed the further activities of the RIC association. Today, Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and I discussed ways to develop this format and use it more intensively in the interests of stabilising international relations and ensuring equality in international affairs. This is especially relevant given that all the three countries – Russia, India and China – are members of the UN Security Council now. So we have many plans.

As for markets, we have never imposed our products on anyone. If countries that are interested in trade with Russia have specific needs and want to expand their range of imports, we are always ready to make agreements based on a balance of interests and mutual benefit.

Question: A question regarding potential talks between Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky. Do you know which country they might be held in? The talks started in Belarus and were continued in Turkey. Israel offered mediation as well. When might a peace treaty be initialised between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministries?

Sergey Lavrov: There are no approved plans for this. The talks must continue. Our negotiators commented on the latest round of talks in Istanbul where the Ukrainian representatives “put on paper,” for the first time, their vision of the agreement that must be reached. This needs to take shape first. We are preparing a response. There is some progress there. Above all, they recognised that Ukraine cannot be a bloc country, that it cannot “find happiness” by joining the North Atlantic Alliance. Nuclear-free, bloc-free, neutral status is already recognised as an absolute must. Likewise, we saw much more understanding of one more reality. I am referring to the situation with Crimea and Donbass. We are still working on the next potential meetings. We will announce updates on this.

Question:  What were the key subjects of your conversation with Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar? Did you discuss the introduction of an efficient rouble and rupee settlement mechanism for bilateral trade, including India’s purchases of Russian oil? Was the issue of cooperation between Russia, India and China touched on at the talks in Beijing and in New Delhi?

How do you assess India’s fears of a possible delay in supplying Russian military equipment, including the S-400, due to the crisis in Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, as regards the use of the rouble and rupee in our financial and trade transactions, I would like to remind you that many years ago we started moving away from the dollar and the euro to the more extensive use of national currencies in our relations with India, with China and many other countries.

Under the circumstances, I believe this trend will be intensified, which is only natural and obvious. We are ready to supply India with any items it wants to purchase. I already referred to this. We have very good relations between the trade ministries, the ministries of finance, and I have no doubt that this would be a way to bypass the artificial impediments that have been created by the illegal unilateral sanctions by the West.

This relates also to the area of military-technical cooperation. We have no doubt that a solution would be found; the respective ministries are working on this.

Question: The United States is exerting pressure on India to involve it into an anti-Russia campaign. Does this pressure affect relations between Russia and India? Are you confident that our countries’ partnership will not be damaged?

Sergey Lavrov: I am confident about this because our partnership does not depend on opportunistic considerations. Moreover, it does not depend on illegal methods of dictate and blackmail. It is absolutely pointless to apply such a policy to countries like Russia, India, China, and many others. This shows that those who are offering and implementing such a policy, who impose it on others do not have a good understanding of the national identity of the countries they are trying to talk to in a language of blackmail and ultimatums.

Question: How do you look at India’s position on this ongoing war? What did you tell your Indian counterpart? Did you offer oil supplies to India?

Have you reached a compromise on the rupees and roubles arrangement for payments?

Even Mr Putin and you are sanctioned by the US and the EU: How do you look at this scenario?Sergey Lavrov: Every Russian has been sanctioned by the US and the European Union, so there is no surprise to me. The Western colleagues just made their real face known these days. I do not have the slightest doubt that most countries on Earth understand what is going on and understand the inadmissibility of the manners which are being demonstrated by our Western – very, very unreliable – partners.

As regards India’s position on the developments in Ukraine, – you called it a war, which is not true, as it is a special operation, which is being conducted with maximum attention being paid to not do any damage to the civilian infrastructure. The military infrastructure is being targeted, and the aim is to deprive the Kiev regime of the capacity to pose any threat to Russia. This capacity has been built and strengthened for many years by the United States and other NATO countries, which wanted to make an “anti-Russia” out of our neighbouring and fraternal country.

I already mentioned [payments in] roubles and rupees. This process is going on for many years. The reason for moving to national currencies is again the absolutely unreliable nature of our Western counterparts. We do not want to depend on a system, which could be closed at any time; and we do not want to depend on a system which has masters who can steal your money overnight.

I already mentioned oil supplies and the supplies of high-technology to India. If India wants to buy anything from us, we are ready to discuss it and reach mutually acceptable forms of cooperation.

Question: Considering the Western sanctions, will Russia boost trade with India and in which areas?

Sergey Lavrov: This is the normal course of events. We are open to mutually beneficial and mutually respectful relations in all areas, including trade and investment activity. When you encounter absolutely unjustified hostility and reaction that goes beyond all reasonable limits in one part of the world, it is, objectively, only natural that your partners elsewhere start playing a greater role in you trade and economic activity. This is not surprising. This has happened before. The sanctions were not imposed yesterday. We have been under intense sanctions imposed by the West and some other countries for many years now – at least, ten years. We already have experience in living under such circumstances and living in a way that is good for both us and our partners. Rest assured that this is how it will be this time as well.

Question: Does it bother you what Western countries think of Russia’s plan “B”? Refusing to pay for gas in roubles, France and Germany said they would not accept such an approach by the Kremlin since it violates the current contracts. What do you think?

Sergey Lavrov: As regards gas supplies to Europe, President Vladimir Putin was very elaborate: he announced the signing of a decree, which provided for a scheme acceptable, as far as I could understand, to the Western countries. We cannot use the old scheme, because, as I said, they paid us in their currencies and then they seized our accounts. It is like the gold rush in the United States at some point when the country was founded by those who fled Europe because they were outlaws, as far as I recall. So the scheme that was presented is an honest scheme. It allows us to, eventually, get payments for gas in roubles, and that was the original goal.

Question: Do you think that India has not taken a hawkish stand against Russia, despite the pressure from Western capitals, because of its dependence on the discounted crude oil and also the import of S 400 missiles and kalashnikovs?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, I cannot even imagine that India is taking some stands because India is under pressure. We respect, as I said earlier, India’s concentration on its basic principles, namely, that the Indian foreign policy is built upon the legitimate national interests of that country and its people. That is, basically, all I can say in response to your question.

Question: There is much talk that India may act as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev. More than that, they say that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may mediate talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents. Did you discuss this issue and is it possible?

Sergey Lavrov: I did not hear talks like this. We respect the well-considered position of India, which does not give in to pressure through blackmail and dictates. Many other serious countries, which do not accept language like this, are taking the same approach. Probably, India will see a role for itself in finding a solution to the problems that have led to the current situation, I mean the issue of equal and indivisible security in Europe, and will help assert the principles of justice in these matters, and explain to our mutual partners that their attempts to deny Russia the right to security guarantees are futile.

We want security guarantees to be provided to Ukraine, all European countries and Russia, in keeping with the documents which have been approved by the OSCE over many previous years and have declared the principle, according to which no country should seek to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. The root of all problems lies here.

The West has ignored its obligations and worked to present Russia as a direct military and ideological threat, playing up to neo-Nazi trends and practices in Ukraine. I think if India with its position of justice and rational approaches to resolving international issues manages to support these processes, nobody is likely to object.

Question: It has been reported around the world for several weeks now that the Russophobic sentiment is sweeping entire regions. People are suffering from things not seen since the Middle Ages and things they bear no responsibility for. How does the Foreign Ministry respond to this? Perhaps dedicated centres for collecting information or assistance centres will be formed? What will happen next on this track and what else needs to be done?

Sergey Lavrov: We have commented on this situation many times. It really is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, real Russophobic mayhem. It’s as if the West was masquerading as a polite and well-mannered partner in the international arena for all these decades. In fact, this outwardly presentable mask was hiding its true face. It has now manifested itself on a scale that no one could even imagine. Everything Russian face ostracism and prohibition.

We put all these instances on record. We use the tools that exist in our state system, the resources of the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office and other departments.

The Foundation for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad has been operating in dozens of countries for a long time now helping organise legal assistance to compatriots in challenging circumstances.

Modern challenges call for global efforts at the level of international organisations. They must highlight the unacceptability of such “actions” on the part of our Western partners.  Discrimination is rampant and the “values” that the West has been touting for many years (presumption of innocence, inviolability of property, free market rules, etc.) have been torn up.Not to mention what is being done to religion and the Russian Orthodox Church not only in Ukraine, but also in the EU countries which consider themselves civilised. This conversation is overdue. Everything that is happening now is directly undermining the obligations of the organisers of these “actions” under the UN Charter and the OSCE. Without this conversation, we will not be able to overcome the situation the West has created not only in its relations with Russia, but also in international relations. This is a message for all of us.

Over the past couple of years, the United States has completely thwarted all attempts by Europe to strive for independence or strategic autonomy. Lone voices that are heard, in particular from France, no longer decide anything. Germany has completely reconciled itself to its role as US ally, blindly following in the wake of US policies. Everything is being done to recreate a unipolar world and proclaim this process as a “fight of democracies against autocracies.” What kind of democracy is this? As things stand, with Washington in the lead, they themselves, collectively, have become an autocracy in the international arena. They believe they can do anything and get away with it.

Should the United States claim to face a threat somewhere around the globe (as was the case in Iraq, Libya, or Syria thousands of kilometres away from their coasts, which usually turns out to be fake or based on false evidence) Washington is “entitled” to do what it wants, such as kill hundreds of thousands of civilians or level whole cities to the ground, such as Raqqa, Syria. This approach will inform the West’s future actions in all regions unless it is stopped.

Should any other country, not only Russia, see a direct threat in weapons, military biological programmes (as it lately transpired), or the creation of foreign military bases in a neighbouring country (in this case, right on the border with our country), the West considers this, as well as the fact that Russia defends its own interests, unacceptable. This is much deeper and broader than just the special military operation in Ukraine and ensuring its neutrality under collectively assumed security guarantees. This is a matter of the world order, in which all the rules of decency, international law and their own “values” (the West promoted them as part of its model of globalisation) were trampled upon by the West itself.

You can’t get away from having this conversation, and China, India and other countries realise this.I read the speech by Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at yesterday’s meeting on Indian-British cooperation. He noted that the newly arisen issues in international affairs touch on the very foundations of the world order, which must change to become equal and multipolar, without sovereigns and dictators.

Question: My first question is, why India? Secondly, Russia is actually hammered by a lot of sanctions, including on SWIFT-code. Will you recommend India or any other friend country to use an alternative payment gateway?

Sergey Lavrov: Why India? Because we are friends and we regularly exchange visits.

As for SWIFT, for many years, as I said, when the nature of our Western partners, who are entirely unreliable, became more and more obvious and known, we started developing national payment systems. In Russia, the Central Bank several years ago established a system of communication of financial information. India has a similar system which is called RuPay. And it is absolutely clear that more and more transactions would be done through these systems using national currencies, bypassing the dollar, euro and other currencies, which proved totally unreliable.

Just a handful, not relevant, yet…

March 27, 2022

Source

By Nat South

There are some comments made on social media, to whitewash and downplay the serious issue regarding a far-right/ ultranationalist movement in Ukraine. Such simplistic takes are seen as a sound reason for denying a Russian military intervention* in Ukraine. This article provides some responses to these, by using a combination of corporate MSM and Ukrainian information to address the points made about a handful of far-right groups and individuals and their influence.

  1. How many deputies does Right Sector or other ultranationalists have in the Ukrainian Rada?

Remarkably, people use this stance over and over on social media and in the press to justify that there is no ultranationalism problem in Ukraine. To them, support & evidence and ultra-nationalism ought to translate into votes and winning seats in the Ukrainian parliament. If only it were as simple it is seems. It goes much much deeper, and the roots are deeply established.

The focus isn’t that there are just a few ultra-nationalists that were elected to politics recently, but how since 2014 ultra-nationalists were a vector for unsettling changes in socio-political structures and provided cover for wider acceptance of an overtly fascist ethno- nationalism within Ukrainian institutions, namely in education and in the military.

Roll back a few years, there were plenty that used their status as a volunteer fighter in Donbass (known as the Anti-Terrorism Operation — ATO) to get elected back in 2014. Practically all of them lost in the 2019 parliamentary elections. This is the crucial aspect to carefully note. The background to the 2019 parliamentary elections was when Zelensky had been elected as president on a platform to bring peace to the country.

Here are some examples of the Donbass ATO unit members who become deputies:

  • Ex-commander Azov battalion: Andriy Biletsky (ex Verkhovna Rada deputy 2014- 2019), founder of the neo-Nazi Social-National Assembly;
  • Ex-commander Aidar battalion: Sergei Melnichuk (Ex-Rada deputy 2014-2019);
  • Ex- company commander, Aidar: Ihor Lapin (Ex- Rada deputy 2014-2019);
  • Ex- Dnipro Battalion commander: Yuriy Bereza
  • Ex-Aidar volunteer, helicopter pilot, Nadiya Savchenko — Ex-Rada deputy (2014-2018)
  • Ex-commander of Donbass battalion: Konstantin Grishin, former Rada deputy, (Self-Help party), alias – Semyon Semenchenko.

Only of one of the above was elected and represented a radical right party, the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko, all of the others stood for mainstream political parties. Notably, the leader of the Radical Party (RP) Oleh Lyashko did admit that members of his party murdered anti-Maidan leaders during the ‘revolution of dignity’ and extrajudicial murders of non-combatants in Torez in 2014.

Yet, all of the above Rada Deputies served in far right / ultranationalist volunteer units. The very same nationalist units cited on multiple occasions in human right reports for “credible allegations of torture and other egregious abuses”  + incommunicado detention & violence against civilians . Additionally, there are many others who fought in Donbass and also became Rada deputies.

Moreover, many of the far-right fringe groups successfully stood for election in 2014, reflecting a change in perception. However, 5 years later, the reality of what the ultra-nationalists brought with them, (regular threats, conflict, language & cultural restrictions, corruption, crime) was no longer acceptable to the majority of ordinary voters.

The election result was the one-party majority, a novelty in Ukraine, for President Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party with 254 seats.” Wikipedia. This is the crux of the matter, people wanted a change, people just did not want to vote for the ultranationalists parties and their policies. The likes of Svoboda, led by Oleh Tyahnybok did get 2.15% and just the one seat in the Verkhovna Rada. Even Oleh Lyashko lost his seat in 2019.

During the last 8 years, a number of prominent ultra-nationalist groups have made their mark on Ukrainian society. The notorious Azov’s political wing, the National Corps headed by none other than the ex-Azov commander, Andrei Biletskiy, as well as Right Sector, and its armed Volunteer Ukrainian Corps (DUK) and UVA, along with Svoboda linked groups, (key Maidan participants), have been consistently and fiercely opposed to any sort of a peace settlement in Donbass.

Similarly, the ex-Rada deputies, who participated in the Donbass ATO, other ultra-nationalists, have to date, largely enjoyed judicial impunity in the wake of committing crimes, given their official status and connections to military and nationalist units. Some examples of this are provided later in the article.

Electorally, the ultranationalist parties may not be popular and get parliamentary seats, due to a wish for a change in politics, namely a peace settlement in Donbass, but also due to the various fractions, frictions and bickering between ultranationalists groups. Obtaining a peace settlement was one of the main electoral promises made by Zelensky in 2019. Hence, the overwhelming election of Zelensky, across the board, with 73% of the votes, apparently due to widespread disenchantment with Petro Poroshenko’s policies.

Ever since the events in Maidan back in 2014, ultra-nationalists have latched themselves in various sectors, local politics, police, the security service (SBU) and military structures. There are numerous examples of this over this 8-year period, too many to cite here, but just a couple examples provided to underscore the extent of the power and influence of ultra-nationalists in Ukraine, as well as highlight the cooperation between official bodies and far-right groups and outline some of the ties that ultra-nationalists have.

A suspect in the 2015 murder of the journalist Oles’ Buzina, an ultranationalist, ex-ATO volunteer (Kyiv-2), Andrey Medvedko, (ex-Svoboda Party, ex C-14) was voted in 2019 to the public council of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). Medvedko was never put on trial.

Avowed neo-nazi, Azov deputy commander, Vadim Troyan, was appointed in 2014 by the Interior minister (MVD), Arsen Avakov, as police chief for Kyiv Oblast & later in 2016, promoted to 1st deputy chief of the new National Police.

It is the same MVD minister, Avakov, who helped to create the ATO volunteer battalions in 2014, but also backed Azov as well, and then integrated Azov into the National Guard structure. This is the same Interior minister who said in 2014, “to promise the Russians anything, and then hang them after the victory”.

In 2018, C-14 was used as a vigilante group, signed a partnership with a local Kyiv Council and also the police to carry out patrols. This is the same group that got sponsorship from the Ministry of Youth & Sports, “under less $17,000 for a children’s camp.” The same C-14 that carried out pogroms against Roma. The C-14 leader, Yevhen Yaras openly acknowledged working with the Ukrainian security service, (SBU).

Just when things couldn’t actually deteriorate regarding deeply unsavoury shenanigans at the highest levels, Zelensky appointed Oleksandr Poklad as the SBU’s counter-intelligence chief in 2021. Poklad known as the ‘The Strangler’ is a decidedly shady character, typical of the post-Maidan scene, with links to organised crimes and involvement in extrajudicial killings.

March 2022, some everyday examples of ultra-nationalists in power, as mayors of Ivano-FrankivskKonotop (article) or the city council of Ternopil with their huge banner of Bandera. In fact, they don’t hide the fact that they revere Bandera and his ideology, (more on this in the 2nd part of this article).

Over just half of all the funds allocated by the Ukrainian government for children’s and youth organisations in 2020 went to various ultra-nationalist projects. All done primarily to foster and increase an already existing popularity for Bandera.

Now replicate these examples a thousand times over, across Ukraine over eight years to get a sense of the tip of the ultra-nationalist iceberg. More examples are also provided later in the article.

Back in 2019, Zelensky tried to advocate for peace, but ended up appeasing the ultra-nationalists and of late, progressively established himself more and more with individuals and groups, from those very same radical ultra nationalist / extremists entities.

Ex-president Petro Poroshenko, likewise has used the nationalist leaders and groups during the 1st December 2021 demonstrations against Zelensky. Basically, a rent-a-mob those various political entities use to their advantage. This exchange of mindsets isn’t surprising, given that Andriy Parubiy, [1] , the co-founder of Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, was the on the party list for Poroshenko’s “European Solidarity Party”. An example of an ultra-nationalist gaining some traction by extending into the ‘conventional’ political system.

Although the ultra-nationalists as political parties are on the margins, they still have significant socio-political influence wider in society. For instance, the parades and massive torchlight rallies in Ukraine by various ultra-nationalists, approved by local authorities and local enforcement, reminiscent of the 1930’s torchlight processions. Paradoxically, the Western press expressed anguish and anger when such a torchlight march took place in in Charlottesville, USA, the one. But in Ukraine, nothing of the sort is expressed by Western corporate MSM on the numerous marches in various Ukrainian cities.

Additionally, although Zelensky initially make some tentative steps to try and get a peace settlement back in autumn 2019, this was totally scuppered by the threats made by ultra-nationalists, who forcefully asserted their “No Capitulation” campaign. Other high-profile Ukrainian politicians “drew red lines that Zelensky should not cross during the Normandy Format meeting”.

Moreover, no concerted attempts were made by Brussels, Washington or the OSCE to effectively pressurise Zelensky to cut loose from using ultra-nationalist units in the military, (first and foremost: Azov), nor were any efforts made to assist Zelensky in removing the ultra-nationalists out of official or elected positions.

2. There are just a handful of neo-Nazis / ultra-nationalists / extremists. Or, they’re only 0,005% of the military.

By solely mentioning ‘Azov’ as being teeming with Neo-Nazis, alleging that there are only about 900 to 1500 members, thus stating that is it a relatively small proportion compared to the total Ukrainian armed forces. Thus, the Neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists is correspondingly insignificant. As if that was okay to start with.

“Ah but there are neo-Nazis in most militaries…” This type of comment misses the point completely. Only Ukraine has tolerated whole units with Neo-Nazis or supporters of Bandera and allowed units to have fascist-inspired insignia and flags. Only in Ukraine, is overt Neo-Nazi ideology permitted in the ranks. For the sake of fighting the ‘Muscovites’.

Yet, just Azov accounts for more than 1500 volunteers, up to double or triple that numbers, given the other battalions, as well as 2 regiments and other units across Ukraine. Add in the Right Sector’s units, conservatively estimated at around 10,000 volunteers. Not included are also other ultra-nationalist military units, Aidar, Donbass, nor the special police battalions, including Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kyiv-1, Kyiv-2 and a dozen other units. Then there are others such as the Carpathian Sich, OUN volunteers and foreign volunteer units. Their odious ideology and zeal is matched with their outright hatred for Russians. Some ultra-nationalists love to wear the Totenkopf, a symbol by the SS stormtroopers, who considered themselves to be the elite. These ultra-nationalists are currently the spearhead in fighting Russian forces across Ukraine.

Recently, the French President, Emmanuel Macron claimed that Russia’s special operation to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” Ukraine is “not a fight against Nazism”. A prime example of the denial or attempt to ignore some deeply serious issues that are being constantly overlooked by Western politicians and MSM. Evidently, he never got to read The Atlantic Council’s 2018 article Ukraine’s far-right problems or browsed through this photo essay.

The concept of ‘de-nazifying’ is probably totally lost on most people in the West. What should have been added was a reference to reclaiming nazi-era ideology and glorifying nationally a nazi-inspired supremacist. Even Zelensky stated categorically that “this is a normal and cool thing.” Why would he need to say such things if it wasn’t to placate and please a certain part of Ukrainian society?

“There are indisputable heroes. Stepan Bandera is a hero for a certain part of Ukrainians, and this is a normal and cool thing. He was one of those who defended the freedom of Ukraine.” Zelensky

(2019)

Ethno-ultra-nationalism in Ukraine has different strands, but all converge on reclaiming the ideology espoused by Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Partisan Army (UPA) and their activities in the 1940’s. Right Sector, OUN, C-14, National Corps foster and practice a cult principally centred on Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, (See the photo below — Bandera Readings 2022, for an example). The government is no exception either, along with the Rada as well in promoting, nurturing these WWII fascist leaders, in order to establish them as part of Ukrainian culture. Bandera has been officially recognised as a national hero since 2010. Maidan was the catalyst in accelerating this process, more violently, more brutally on one hand and more insidiously by officials in education, culture and the military. Violent far right units that got patronage from Washington and Brussels.

Bandera Readings 2022

As the C-14 leader, Yevhen Yaras stated back in February, it is not a question of numbers per se, but actual influence and capability to mobilise people and resources. This was the vividly the case in Maidan, (as reported in a BBC documentary), and as he clearly said in his talk, and it is still certainly the case nowadays.

A clear example of this influence happened in December 2021, when Zelensky appointed the Right Sector founder, Dmitro Yarosh, as advisor to the chief of the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces. More recently, in March 2022, Zelensky appointed the ex-Aidar commander, Maksym Marchenko, as the new head of the Odessa Administration.

Ultra-nationalists have been unable to regain a political foothold via the political parties, yet this doesn’t stop them from asserting their presence in society in general:

  • marches & demonstrations; (15,000 Ukraine nationalists march for divisive Bandera — USA Today)
  • disrupting council meetings & court proceedings; (BBC documentary 2018)
  • pogroms against Roma (Kyiv, Lviv);
  • attacked other protests & events (LGBT, environmentalists, International women’ s day marchers) as reported by HRW;
  • intimidation, blackmail and murders of opponents.

Their deeply unsavoury activities did raise alarm by human right and civic groups back in 2018. The concerns were about how the far right “created an atmosphere of near total impunity that cannot but embolden these groups to commit more attacks“. This deplorable situation has never been dealt with by authorities. Fast-forward five years, the reluctance was still there to even start tackling part of the problem. Rather than being seen as a liability, their presence is seen in some quarters as a necessary obligation.

Thus, the ultra-nationalists gained a firmer foothold, by the fact that they were the ones who went to the ATO, the ones willing to continue fighting in Donbass. Add in a perpetual fear that these groups could turn against the government or officials, as recently evidenced by the 1st of December 2021 protests, no official is willing to confront them. This shows the extent of the influence and power that they can wield. For instance, Dmytro Yarosh, the founder of Right Sector publicly threatened Zelensky in an interview that he would hang from a tree.

Since 2018, a continuous effort has been made to legitimise Ukraine’s extremists, (i.e. 2018 — National Militia cooperation with the police, during the 2019 election). Even though, groups linked to Azov, and both military wings of Right Sector are in fact illegal military groups, not officially part of the military or National Guard structure, it is telling how they are seen and valued at the highest levels of government.

1st December 2021 saw Zelenskiy in the Verkhovna Rada, giving the country’s highest state award, “Hero of Ukraine”, to the Right Sector unit commander, Dmitro Kotsyubailo. The unit is part of the Right Sector’s Volunteer Ukrainian Corps (DUK), a stand-alone irregular military unit, part of Right Sector.

A reminder to the readers that Right Sector units are predominantly manned by ultra-nationalists and neo-nazis. An example is Dmitro Kotsyubailo himself as one of thousands of examples, (centre photo with statue of Bandera and Right Sector flags):

Insert picture description

Dmitro Kotsyubailo’s unit has been given anti-tank missile systems. Likewise, an Azov unit in Kharkiv got given the same systems, as this tweet shows:

Insert picture description

As I said earlier, here are the ultra-nationalist units that get fast tracked training & access to NATO weaponry, as part of a total of $2.5 billion given by the U.S. alone to Ukraine. This isn’t indicative of a tolerance by Kyiv, but tacit acceptance of these units as well as the ideological stance that they have. Not only Kyiv, but Washington, London, Paris, and Brussels. A modern-day revamping of Op Gladio style units to fight the Russian military now and Donbass units since 2014.

A broader perspective can be glimpse through these selected headlines:

  • For Ukraine’s Far Right, War With Russia Can Be an Opportunity (Haaretz 2022)
  • Preparing for War With Ukraine’s Fascist Defenders of Freedom (Foreign Policy 2014)
  • A Year After 1/6, Ukraine’s War Draws U.S. Far-Right to Fight Russia, Train for Violence at Home (Newsweek 2022)

Western politicians, corporate media, think tanks experts are blatantly ignoring these deeply unpleasant aspects in Ukraine. However, given the widely circulated MSM articles that flagged up the far-right in Ukraine, most media outlets and journalists are willingly glossing over these aspects as well as the accompanying violence and brutality against civilians for daring to oppose this Ukrainian ideology. All in the pursuit of fighting the Russian military.

It is fair to say that overtly fascist elements provide a stream of volunteers for Azov, Right Sector, C-14, OUN, National Corps, and others, whose members have been integrated into the military, National Guard, police, security services & also in mainstream political parties. Paradoxically, the Russian intervention has provided a catalyst for the growth in Ukrainian ultra-nationalist military units.

Conclusion

Blindsided by citing simplistic comments, those who do not wish to look any further, as such, for them, there are just a handful of weak ultranationalists. Case closed, conveniently so for them. Yet, the disturbing reality shows the opposite and this article only attempted to provide a brief insight. The Ukrainian ultra-nationalists certainly pack a punch above their weight.

Both the U.S and Europe only understand to some extent the considerable danger represented by violent extremism when is present in their countries. Yet, they shut their eyes to very same danger, amplified by a conflict, fostered with the connivance of authorities.

Footnotes

* to use a standard U.S. and NATO MSM/military terminology.

[1] which became the political party ‘Svoboda’. He was also the leading hand of Euromaidan “Self-Defense” fighters and activists.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT, Moscow, March 18, 2022

March 19, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1805134/

Question: The sanctions that are currently imposed on Russia are of course unprecedented. And they are really negatively affecting the lives of ordinary Russians, even though Washington is saying that it’s not targeting Russians. What can you say about what the goals of these sanctions are and who the target really is?

Sergey Lavrov:

 I believe the goal of the sanctions is much more strategic than just Ukraine. I think what we witness in Ukraine is the quintessence of the western course, strategic course to marginalise Russia, to contain Russia, to stop Russia’s development and to reduce Russia to a zero role in world politics and world economy, world trade, world sports, art, science, education

And we observe unprecedented steps our Western colleagues are taking. One of the underlying trends is the United States’ desire – which has been much more manifested by the Biden administration – to come back to a unipolar world. And, if you wish, they are trying to take the melting pot concept from the United States soil and make a melting pot from the entire world, and they would be the smelters. The European Union already, I think 99 percent, stopped trying to be independent. President Macron, of course, keeps repeating that strategic autonomy for the European Union is his goal and he would be fighting for it, but my guess is that he would not succeed. Germany is already absolutely ready to obey instructions from the United State. The situation with North Stream 2 clearly indicated what exact place in world politics Germany occupies now, when the Americans in fact have “persuaded” the Germans and others that they, the Americans, know much better what Europe needs for its energy security than Europeans themselves. And there are many examples like this. So the sanctions drive is going to continue, they are threatening the fifth wave, maybe there would be another wave, but we’re used to it. I will recall that, long before the Ukrainian crisis erupted because of the illegal anti-constitutional coup d’etat, the sanctions were already imposed on us. It was, you know, when the Jackson–Vanik amendment was repealed, the Magnitsky Act was immediately introduced and the sanctions, in one way or another, stayed. And then there was a series of sanctions, as you mentioned, to punish us, basically, for supporting the legitimate cause of Russians in Ukraine, Russians in Crimea, you know this story, I wouldn’t rehearse the events and the sequence of events.

The latest sanctions wave was really unprecedented and, as President Putin recalled, we are now champions in the number of sanctions introduced against the Russian Federation – more than 5,000 individual acts, almost twice as many as was introduced against Iran and North Korea. But sanctions, or all of this, made us stronger. After the sanctions were announced in 2014, when the West could not accept the free vote of Crimeans to rejoin the Russian Federation, when the West basically supported the illegitimate and unconstitutional coup d’etat. You know what was very interesting to me when I talked about those events to my Western colleagues? They very often use the tactic of cutting off an unwanted historical period. The situation in Ukraine they start discussing only with what they call annexation of Crimea. If you remind them that it all started with the European Union being unable to insist on the implementation of the deal, which they guaranteed, by the opposition, and then the opposition just threw away the deal signed and guaranteed by the European Union, and then the leaders of the opposition and of the so-called Maidan, the radicals, like Dmitry Yarosh were saying “We stand for a Ukraine without Russkis and katsaps” (which means Muscovites), and he publicly stated that if the Russians – well, he said the Russians in Crimea would never think Ukrainian, would never speak Ukrainian, would never glorify the heroes, meaning Bandera and Shukhevich and other collaborators of Hitler – and that’s why Russians must be swiped out of Crimea. Actually, this was said a couple of weeks before the Crimeans eventually decided to go to referendum. And these words were accompanied by deeds. They sent armed groups to take control of the Crimean parliament, and that’s how it all started. Not to mention the initiative – immediately, on the first day of this coup d’etat, the putschists introduced an initiative to do away with the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, which was in the Ukrainian Constitution. So all these instincts were immediately translated into very Russophobic policies.

The idea that Russians should get out of Ukraine is still very much on the minds of politicians in this country. Oleg Tyagnibok, the leader of the ultra-radical party, Svoboda (“Freedom”), has repeatedly said that “we must have de-Russification”, as he calls it. And de-Russification means that ethnic Russians must not have their own language, history and identity in Ukraine and so many similar things. But what is more important for us to understand in the current state of play are these statements by Zelensky himself. So I said that the ultra-radicals called for Russians to be wiped out of Crimea, and President Zelensky, in September last year, said, if you believe you’re a Russian, if you believe you want to be a Russian and if you want to be friendly with Russia, go to Russia. He said this just a few months ago.

So, coming back to sanctions: sanctions we will survive. The measures which the president and the government are developing, elaborating, are being announced. This is only the beginning of our economy getting adjusted to the new situation. After 2014, as I started to say, we did gain experience to rely upon ourselves. And the biggest lesson from this particular historical period is, unlike what we saw after 2014, that now, 

… if there was any illusion that we can one day rely on our Western partners, this illusion is no longer there.

We will have to rely only on ourselves and on our allies who would stay with us. This is the main conclusion for Russia in the context of geopolitics.

Question: I think it’s safe to say that Russian culture specifically has become accustomed to being part of, you might say, a global village of countries that share deep economic ties and enjoy travelling between each other. How do you think these sanctions are going to influence the everyday life of Russians in the long term in relation to that?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, as I said, the assessment of what is going on, in my view, clearly indicates that what America wants is a unipolar world, which would be not like a global village, which would be like an American village and maybe American saloon where who is strongest is calling the shots. And they said they are succeeding to mobilize behind themselves and, on the basis of their own interests, the entire Western world, which is indicative of how independent NATO members and European Union members are and which is indicative of what place the European Union, as I said, would have in the future configuration of the world situation and the world system.

There are players who would never accept the global village under the American sheriff …

and

China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico – I am sure these countries do not want to be just in the position where Uncle Sam orders them something and they say “Yes, sir.” And of course, Russia is not in the category of countries who would be ready to do so. Actually, when people say – when the Americans and Western Europeans and others say that Russia was defeated in the General Assembly because the vast majority of countries voted against the Russian action in Ukraine, it’s misleading because, if you take the population represented by the countries who were not voting against Russia, and especially if you take the number of countries who introduce sanctions against Russia, a majority of those who voted against us did so under huge pressure, under blackmail, including – I know this for sure – including threats to individual delegates regarding their assets in the United States, bank accounts, children studying in universities and so on and so forth. It’s absolutely unprecedented blackmail and pressure without any scruples. So a majority of those countries who voted with the West, they did not and they would not introduce sanctions against Russia. They believe that it’s, you know, not a very big price to pay for their own practical cooperation with Russia, just to vote on something which is needed for the West for entirely propagandistic purposes. So we will be, as always, open to cooperation with anyone who is ready to do so on the equal basis, on the basis of mutual respect and searching for balance of interests, and the countries to the east of Russia are much more disposed to act on this basis, and we will certainly reciprocate for the benefit of both us and our partners. We are not closing the door on the West. They are doing so. But when they come back to their senses and when this door is reopened, we will be looking at proposed projects of cooperation with a very important thing in mind to which I alluded to already – that we will be going into cooperation with them knowing very well that we cannot be sure that they are reliable and that they are credible as long-term partners.

Question: Well, I’d like to take the discussion now to a sort of different topic: these US-sponsored biolabs in Ukraine. I mean, for years already, Russia has been trying to bring the world’s attention to them. And the latest piece of evidence connected to them the Russian military just put forward not too long ago, with documents signed by US officials in connection to them. Why do you think is the world not paying so much attention to these biolabs? And will Washington and its allies be held accountable for what they’re doing there?

Sergey Lavrov: Actually, it’s interesting that the special military operation launched by the president of the Russian Federation helped discover many things which are very important for understanding what is going on. Recently, the military of Russia, together with Donetsk and Lugansk forces, discovered documents of the Ukrainian general staff indicating clearly that they were preparing a massive attack against the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. So the operation, which was launched by Russia, in fact, preempted this threat and did not allow them to implement what they wanted to do, and they wanted to do exactly what they failed to do implementing the Minsk agreements. They were trying to use what they called Plan B and to take these territories by force with bloodshed on an unbelievable scale, in addition to what they have been doing to civilians for the last eight years.

But another set of documents which was discovered – as you said, documents related to military biological activity of the United States in Ukraine – documents with signatures of Ukrainian officials, US military. 

Those laboratories have been created by the United States all over the world. More than 300 laboratories in various countries, many of them on the perimeter of the Russian Federation – in the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. Ukraine is probably the biggest project for the Pentagon, who is running this show.

The special Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Pentagon is in charge of this biological activity, and they are developing very dangerous pathogens, including plague, brucellosis, anthrax and many others, which are really very dangerous. And we know that they were experimenting on potential infections, which could be related to the ethnic groups living in the east of Ukraine and in neighboring regions of Russia.

We have been raising this issue in international organizations for a while, I would say almost more than 20 years. In 2001, we suggested that the countries participating in the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons should develop a verification mechanism which would be transparent, which would be understood by everybody and applied to everybody because the convention itself provides for consultations if any participating state has some suspicions or some information which the state would like to clarify. And if these consultations indicate that there is a good reason for some kind of investigation, then an investigation is supposed to be launched. But there is no mechanism to investigate, and there is no mechanism which would require each and every country, in response to an address, to provide information and to guarantee transparency of its biological activity anywhere, be it on your own territory or abroad.

By the way, 

… the Americans some years ago decided that it is too dangerous to do these things on their own soil. So they moved all these threatening and dangerous activities to other countries,

and more and more they concentrate their research and experiments around the borders of the Russian Federation and China. So we will be insisting on this issue to be picked up by the Biological Weapons Convention, but also by the Security Council, because it’s a clear threat to international peace and security. We will be again emphasising the importance of negotiating a legally binding protocol to the Convention on Biological Weapons, which would require obligatory transparency measures by any participating state. The Americans, I have no slightest doubt, would be against it, but this position of theirs is not defendable. I am convinced that more and more countries understand how dangerous these plans are, and we will continue to fight them.

Question: What can you say on the topic of Washington’s role in all of this? President Zelensky called for weapons to come to his country from the West. He’s talked about a demand for establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and this is something that Joe Biden just recently again said is not going to happen because that would lead, no doubt, to outright war between Russia and NATO and the United States. Why do you think is Ukraine so desperately trying to make some sort of scenario like that happen?

Sergey Lavrov: Whatever you think of some of Joe Biden’s statements, he is a very experienced politician and he understands that it is absolutely inadmissible to establish something like a no-fly zone, to provide planes to Ukraine and to do other things which will bring the risk of direct confrontation between NATO and Russia just, you know, immediately. But Zelensky also understands that there are much less responsible politicians in the United States who are being agitated by the Ukrainian lobby and just driven by Russophobic feelings, and many of them are in Congress. They adopt every now and then resolutions condemning Russia, threatening Russia. I believe Zelensky is counting on them pushing the president in the direction of a more confrontational approach.

We clearly said that any cargo moving into Ukrainian territory which we would believe is carrying weapons would be fair game. This is clear because we are implementing the operation the goal of which is to remove any threat to the Russian Federation coming from Ukrainian soil. This was part of our proposal in December last year when we suggested that we negotiate with NATO security guarantees – the way which would be codifying the old agreement reached at the highest level that no one, no country should increase its security at the expense of the security of others. So they know what it is all about.

They also speak about missile defense. Kiev authorities think of asking NATO members who possess Soviet air defense systems to share this with them.

I would like to remind the countries who might be playing with this idea that 

the Soviet and Russian-made systems of missile defense or of any other purpose are there on the basis of intergovernmental agreements and contracts, which includes an end user certificate. The end user certificate does not allow them to send these weapons to any third country without our consent. This is a legal obligation.

I understand that legality and legal obligations is not something which our Western colleagues respect these days. They’ve already thrown away the presumption of innocence, private property being sacred and many other “pillars” on which the “liberal values” have been resting for so many centuries and decades.

But this is a serious matter, and I can assure you that we would not allow these risks to be materialised. The purpose of our operation is to protect civilians, who have been bombed and shelled and murdered for eight years, and to demilitarise Ukraine so that it does not pose a serious threat to the Russian territory, and to find security guarantees, which would be based on this equal, indivisible security principle for Ukraine, for Russia, for all European countries. We have been proposing this for many years. Denazification is an absolute must. And that includes not only canceling laws encouraging Nazist ideology and practices, but it also includes withdrawing any legislation which discriminates the Russian language and other national minority languages and, in general, national minority rights in Ukraine which have been hugely discriminated and offended.

Question: Well, we’ve talked a lot about the kinetic war, but I wanted to ask another question about the information war actually. A few days ago, the White House had a briefing with several popular TikTokers in the United States, and they were basically briefed on a new anti-Russian narrative that Washington wants to put forward. What do you think about such sort of underhanded propaganda technique when it’s usually Russia that they’re accusing of misinformation and underhanded tactics?

Sergay Lavrov: Well, we are a very, very small player in the international information war. It’s the information… World information is dominated by media belonging to the Americans, the Brits, and also the Germans, the French and others. It’s another matter, what the quality of those information outlets is. If you take CNN, they prefer to avoid analytical materials and they more and more concentrate on some reports which would be made of slogans “Russia is an aggressor,” “Russia is murdering civilians,” “Russia is abusing sports” and so on and so forth.

When they concentrate on TikTok and other resources like this and other platforms and when they target kids because TikTok is about young boys and girls, I believe this is an attempt to brainwash them for the rest of their lives. And this is indecent and not fair.

If you want information and competition, if you want competition among media outlets, then there at must be some rules.

I would remind you and your viewers that in 1990, when the Soviet Union was living under this “new thinking” concept and the human values, common values for humankind, the Western colleagues in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe were pushing very actively, and finding support on the Soviet side, a series of documents of the OSCE on freedom of speech and on access to information. Such documents were endorsed by consensus in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. These days, when your channel and Sputnik many years ago were banned from attending, for example, press conferences and briefings in Élysée in Paris, and when we were drawing the attention of the French colleagues that this was against the commitment in the OSCE, they were saying, “No, no, no, no, no. Access to information is applicable only to mass media and RT and Sputnik are not mass media, they are propaganda tools.”

Another example of abusing the commitments and obligations – when a couple of years ago in London there was a conference on freedom of media in the modern world, no Russian media were invited.

So we know the manners and the tricks which are being used by the Western countries to manipulate media. We understood long ago that there was no such thing as an independent Western media. If you take the United States, only Fox News is trying to present some alternative points of view. But when you watch other channels and when you read social networks and internet platforms, when the acting president was blocked, as you know, and this censorship continues in a very big way and the substitution of notions. Whenever something is happening by the way of mass protest, mass demonstrations, which they don’t like, they immediately call it domestic terrorism. So it’s a war, and it’s a war which involves the methods of information terrorism. There is no doubt about this.

A very interesting example was yesterday, when the Bild newspaper in Germany published a piece saying that myself on the evening of March 16 left Moscow by plane to go to China, but in the area of Novosibirsk, the plane turned back because either Putin told me to come back or the Chinese said, “We don’t want to talk to you.” It was published by, yes, a tabloid, but with millions of copies. And it’s a shame that we have these habits being introduced into the information world by our “friends.

It is not by incident that President Putin said about the existence of the Empire of Lies.

Question: Well, just one more question for you, Mr. Lavrov. Of course, this conflict in Ukraine is not going to go on forever. When it does come to an end, what do you foresee as the main challenges in future Russia–Ukraine relations?

Sergay Lavrov: Well, we never had any issues with the Ukrainian people. I have many Ukrainian friends, the two peoples are very close culturally. Practically all of them speak, and those who don’t, they understand the Russian language. Culture, common history, way of life, attitude to life, traditions of families and communities. So I hope that when this anomaly is over, this will gradually come back. It will have to be gradual.

It cannot come back fast because the efforts of our Western colleagues to make Ukraine a Russophobic and anti-Russian instrument – anti-Russia, as President Putin called it – they started long ago, and they are already rather deeply rooted in Ukrainian mentality, especially the young generation which was born after the demise of the Soviet Union. They have been indoctrinated in a very, very heavy way.

The efforts were taken systemically to train military officers on the basis of radical Bandera and Shukhevich-style methodology. The purpose being – to make sure that they would not become friendly to Russia again and that they would build their nationalism, nationalistic feelings as the means to strengthen the statehood of their country.

The purpose was always to make sure that Russia does not have Ukraine as a friend. It’s like Zbigniew Brzezinski in the late 1990s said, “Russia with Ukraine, a friendly Ukraine next to it, is a superpower. Russia with Ukraine which is not friendly to Russia, is just a regional player.” This concept is very deeply rooted in the minds of American policymakers, and it will take time to get rid of these negative legacies.

Even now, when the armed forces of Ukraine are fighting, trying to procrastinate the crisis. The leaders of Ukraine with the help of American and other Western advisors have reformed the army in the way which puts these radicals, Bandera-like trained officers, to lead all more or less meaningful units in the Ukrainian army. And these people radicalise and terrorise others, especially those who don’t believe that this should be the fate of their country.

Their actions in Mariupol is an example of that. The refugees coming from Mariupol to Russia in dozens of thousands tell such stories. It’s really threatening how this kind of people command armed men and women.

But I am sure, at the end of the day, the historic closeness of two fraternal nations will certainly prevail.

More on this Topic

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RBC TV channel, Moscow, March 16, 2022

March 17, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/press_service/minister_speeches/1804655/

Question: Initially, the in-person talks were held in Belarus followed by online talks. You met with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in Antalya, Turkey, on March 10. What’s your take on the negotiating process?

Sergey Lavrov: I did not fly to Turkey in order to forestall the Belarusian negotiating track agreed upon by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky which is now being implemented via video conference. President Zelensky asked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to speak with President Putin in order to set up a meeting between Dmitry Kuleba and me in Antalya, since we both planned to take part in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

Based on this request, President Vladimir Putin instructed me to hold a meeting and find out what Dmitry Kuleba has to offer (which is what I asked him to do). He stated that he did not arrive there to reiterate public statements. This statement got my attention. Dmitry Kuleba failed to vocalise any new ideas during the 90-minute conversation in the presence of Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, despite multiple reminders to the effect that I wanted to hear things that had not been said publicly. I did my part and made myself available to listen to what he had to say. Anyway, we had a conversation, which is not a bad thing. We are ready for such contacts going forward. It would be good to know the added value derived from such contacts and how the proposals to create new channels of interaction correlate with the functioning of an existing and steady negotiating process (the Belarusian channel).

I’m not going to comment on the details, which are a delicate matter. According to head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky, the talks focus on humanitarian issues, the situation on the ground in terms of hostilities, and on matters of political settlement. Overall, the agenda is known (it was repeatedly and publicly announced by President Vladimir Putin in his elaborate remarks) and includes matters of security and saving lives of the people in Donbass; preventing Ukraine from becoming a permanent threat to the security of the Russian Federation; and preventing the revival in Ukraine of neo-Nazi ideology, which is illegal around the world, including civilised Europe.

I base my opinion on the assessments provided by our negotiators. They state that the talks are not going smoothly (for obvious reasons). However, there is hope for a compromise. The same assessment is given by a number of Ukrainian officials, including members of President Zelensky’s staff and President Zelensky himself.

Question: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky said that the positions of Russia and Ukraine during the talks have become more “realistic.”

Sergey Lavrov: This is about a more realistic assessment of the ongoing events coming from Vladimir Zelensky. His previous statements were confrontational. We can see that this role and function has been reassigned to Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who started saying that Russia’s demands are “unacceptable.” If they wish to create additional tension (as if the current tension were not enough) in the media space, what can we do?

We saw a similar tendency with respect to the Minsk agreements. Dmitry Kuleba was riding ahead on a dashing horse, along with those who were hacking the Minsk agreements into pieces. He publicly stated that the agreements would not be fulfilled. I would give negotiators an opportunity to work in a calmer environment, without stirring up more hysteria.

Question: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky said that they are “reasonable people” and they realise that they are no longer welcome in NATO. What made him change his rhetoric? NATO aspirations are stated in one of the articles of the Ukrainian Constitution. They have been saying it all along that Kiev actually wants to be part of the alliance.

Sergey Lavrov: The rhetoric has changed because more reasonable thinking is paving its way to the minds of the Ukrainian leaders. The issue of dissolving the Soviet Union was resolved in a very odd manner: very few parties were asked; the decision was split “between three,” so to speak, and it was done. Later, certain common ground was achieved in the form of the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is good that the other former Soviet republics were shown some respect, at least post factum.

In the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, adopted before the Belovezh Accords, it was stated in black and white that Ukraine would be a non-aligned and militarily neutral state. In all the subsequent documents characterising the formation of Ukrainian statehood, the declaration was always listed among fundamental documents. After the anti-constitutional coup in February 2014, the Ukrainian Constitution was amended to include statements on continuous movement towards NATO (in addition to the European Union). That undermined the integrity of the previous process and the fundamental documents that the Ukrainian state is based on – because the Declaration of Sovereignty and the Act of Ukraine’s Independence are still listed among the founding documents of the Ukrainian state.

This is not the only inconsistency. The provision of the Ukrainian Constitution on ensuring the rights of the Russian and other ethnic minorities remains intact. However, a huge number of laws have been adopted that run counter to this constitutional provision and flagrantly discriminate against the Russian language, in particular, against all European norms.

We remember that President Zelensky recently said that NATO must close the sky over Ukraine and start fighting for Ukraine, recruiting mercenaries and sending them to the frontline. That statement was made very aggressively. The reaction of the North Atlantic Alliance, where some clear-headed people still remain, had a cooling effect. This reasonable approach in the current situation deserves to be welcomed.

Before the final decision was made to begin the special military operation, President Vladimir Putin spoke about our initiatives concerning the security guarantees in Europe at a news conference in the Kremlin, explaining that it is unacceptable that Ukraine’s security be ensured through its NATO membership. He clearly said that we are ready to look for any ways to ensure the security of Ukraine, the European countries and Russia except for NATO’s expansion to the east. The alliance has been assuring us that we should not be worried as it serves a defensive purpose and nothing threatens us and our security. The alliance was declared as defensive in its early days. During the Cold War, it was clear who was defending whom, where and against which party. There was the Berlin Wall, both concrete and geopolitical. Everybody accepted that contact line under the Warsaw Pact and NATO. It was clear which line NATO would protect.

When the Warsaw Pact and later the Soviet Union were dissolved, NATO started, at its own discretion and without any consultations with those who used to be part of the balance of power on the European continent, working its way to the east, moving the contact line further to the right each time. When the contact line came too close to us (and nobody took our reasoning seriously in the past 20 years), we proposed the European security initiatives which, to my great regret, were also ignored by our arrogant partners.

Question: Many people in Russia and Ukraine are asking themselves whether the situation could not have been resolved peacefully. Why didn’t this work out? Why did it become necessary to conduct a special operation?

Sergey Lavrov: Because the West did not want to resolve this situation peacefully. Although I have already discussed this aspect, I would like to highlight it once again. This has absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine. This concerns the international order, rather than Ukraine alone.

The United States has pinned down the whole of Europe. Today, some Europeans are telling us that Russia started behaving differently, that Europe had its own special interests differing from those of the United States, and that we have compelled Europe to share the United States’ fervour for the cause. I believe that what has happened is entirely different. Under President Joe Biden, the United States set the goal of subordinating Europe, and it has succeeded in forcing Europe to implicitly follow US policies. This is a crucial moment, a landmark in contemporary history because, in the broad sense of the word, it reflects the battle for a future international order.

The West stopped using the term “international law,” embodied in the UN Charter, many years ago, and it invented the term “rules-based order.” These rules were written by members of an inner circle. The West incentivised those who accepted these rules. At the same time, narrow non-universal organisations dealing with the same matters as the universal organisations were established. Apart from UNESCO, there is a certain international partnership in support of information and democracy. We have international humanitarian law and the UN Refugee Agency dealing with related issues. The European Union is setting up a special partnership for dealing with the same matter. However, decisions will be based on EU interests, and they will disregard universal processes.

France and Germany are establishing an alliance for multilateralism. When asked about the reason for setting it up at a time when the UN – the most legitimate and universal organisation – embodies multilateralism, they gave an interesting reply that the UN employed many retrogrades, and that the new alliance prioritised avantgardism. They also stated their intention to promote multilateralism in such a way that no one would hamper their efforts. When asked what the ideals of this multilateralism were, they said that they were EU values. This arrogance and misinterpreted feeling of one’s own superiority also rule supreme in a situation that we are now reviewing, namely, the creation of a world where the West would a priori manage everything with impunity. Many people now claim that Russia has come under attack because it remains virtually the only obstacle that needs to be removed before the West can start dealing with China. This straightforward statement is quite truthful.

You asked why it was impossible to peacefully resolve the situation. For many years, we suggested resolving the matter peacefully. Many reasonable politicians from the US and Europe responded in earnest to Vladimir Putin’s proposal at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. Unfortunately, decision-makers in Western countries ignored it. Numerous assessments by world-famous political analysts, published in many leading US magazines, such as Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs, and European magazines, were also ignored. A coup took place in 2014. The West unconditionally backed Ukraine and the coup’s perpetrators who had gained power in Kiev. The West emphatically refuses to set any framework in relations between NATO and the territory of Russian interests. These warnings were also voiced but were disregarded, to put it mildly.

You should read the works of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said back in the 1990s that Ukraine would become a key issue. He said openly that a friendly Ukraine would make Russia a great power, and that a hostile Ukraine would turn it into a regional player. These statements concealed geopolitical implications. Ukraine merely acted as a tool for preventing Russia from upholding its legitimate and equal rights on the international scene.

Question: Not long ago, I heard the current adviser to the President of Ukraine, Alexey Arestovich, speak. A couple of years ago, he said that neutral status was too expensive for Ukraine. “We can’t afford it,” he said. What do you think about this statement? Is that true? Following up on what worries ordinary Ukrainians – security guarantees – what is Russia ready to do? What kind of guarantees can it provide?

Sergey Lavrov: Neutral status is being seriously discussed in a package with security guarantees. This is exactly what President Vladimir Putin said at one of his news conferences: there are multiple options out there, including any generally acceptable security guarantees for Ukraine and all other countries, including Russia, with the exception of NATO expansion. This is what is being discussed at the talks. There is specific language which is, I believe, close to being agreed upon.

Question: Can you share it with us yet or not?

Sergey Lavrov: I’d rather not, because it is a negotiating process. Unlike some of our partners, we try to adhere to the culture of diplomatic negotiations, even though we were forced to make documents public that are normally off-limits. We did so in the situations where our communication with the German and French participants of the Normandy format was misrepresented to the point where it was the opposite of what really happened. Then, in order to expose the culprits before the international community, we were forced to make things public. No attempts at provocation are being made now as we discuss the guarantees of Ukraine’s neutrality. Hopefully, the first attempts at a businesslike approach that we are seeing now will prevail and we will be able to reach specific agreements on this matter even though simply declaring neutrality and announcing guarantees will be a significant step forward. The problem is much broader. We talked about it, including from the point of view of values such as the Russian language, culture and freedom of speech, since Russian media are outright banned, and the ones that broadcast in Ukraine in Russian were shut down.

Question: But they can always tell us that they are an independent country and it’s up to them to decide which language to speak. Why are you – Russia and Moscow – forcing us to speak Russian?

Sergey Lavrov: Because Ukraine has European obligations. There is the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. There are multiple other commitments, including in the Council of Europe, which we are leaving (this has been announced officially). However, we will never renounce our obligations regarding the rights of ethnic minorities, be they linguistic, cultural, or any other. We will never “withdraw from the documents” that guarantee freedom of access to information.

In the 1990s, everyone was rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the Soviet Union becoming an absolutely obedient and obsequious partner of the West. Back then, we did our best to show that perestroika and new thinking were opening up a groundbreaking chapter in the history of our state. We signed everything that the West wanted us to sign at the OSCE, including the declaration proposed by the West and supported by us which contained obligations to ensure freedom of access to information in each country and to transboundary information sources. Now, we are unable to get through to the West so that it itself starts fulfilling this obligation, which they themselves initiated.

This Russian language-related requirement is enshrined in the obligations. Ukraine did not turn them down. Can you imagine the consequences of Finland banning the Swedish language? There are 6 percent of Swedes in Finland, and Swedish is the second official language. Or, Ireland banning English, or Belgium banning French? The list goes on and on. All these minority languages ​​are respected, regardless of the fact that they have a parent state, whereas our case represents an exception. This is a case of outright discrimination, and what is known as enlightened Europe is just keeping quiet about it.

Question: We have decided to withdraw from the Council of Europe before being expelled. Why?

Sergey Lavrov: By and large, this decision was formulated long ago. Not because of a series of suspension and reinstatement of our rights, but because that organisation has fully degenerated. It was established as a pan-European organisation of all countries, with the exception of Belarus which was given observer status. We did our best to help Belarus participate in several conventions, which is possible in the Council of Europe. In general, Belarus was considering the possibility of joining it.

However, over the years the Council of Europe has turned into a kind of OSCE, (excuse my language), where the initial idea of interaction and consensus as the main instruments of attaining the goal of common European cooperation and security was superceded by polemics and rhetoric, which was becoming increasingly Russophobic and was determined by the unilateral interests of the West, in particular, NATO countries and the EU. They used their technical majority in the OSCE and the Council of Europe to undermine the culture of consensus and compromise and to force their views on everyone, showing that they have no regard whatsoever, do not care one iota for our interests and only want to lecture and moralise, which is what they have actually been doing.

Our intention to withdraw matured long ago, but our decision to withdraw has been accelerated by the recent events and the decision enforced through voting. The Parliamentary Assembly issued recommendations for the Committee of Ministers, which has voted to suspend our rights. They told us not to worry, that we would only be unable to attend the sessions but can still make our payments to the budget.  This is what they have openly said.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out in a statement that our withdrawal from this organisation will not affect the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens under the European Convention on Human Rights, from which we are withdrawing as part of our withdrawal from the Council of Europe. First of all, there are constitutional guarantees and guarantees under the international conventions to which Russia is a party. These universal conventions are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (which the United States has not signed); the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the US is not among its signatories) and many other conventions and covenants most of which have been incorporated into the national legislation. Our lawyers are working with the Constitutional Court and the Justice Ministry on additional amendments to Russian laws to prevent any infringement on the rights of our citizens as the result of our withdrawal from the Council of Europe.

Question: Several counties have been trying to develop dialogue between Moscow and Kiev. France was the first to do this, followed by Israel, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will come to Moscow today. Turkey has stepped up its activity. Why are these three countries so active on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: They are not the only ones to offer their services. The President of Russia had a telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel yesterday. He has had contacts with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President of France Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett. My foreign colleagues have contacted me as well. For example, Switzerland, which has traditionally posed as a country where compromises are reached, is ready to mediate.

In this context, it is strange that mediation services are being offered by the countries which have joined the unprecedented sanctions against Russia and have proclaimed the goal (they make no bones about stating this openly) of setting the Russian people against the Russian authorities. We take a positive view on the mediation offers coming from the countries which have refused to play this Russophobic game, which are aware of the root causes of the current crisis, that is, the fundamental and legitimate national interests of Russia, and which have not joined this war of sanctions. We are ready to analyse their proposals. Israel and Turkey are among these states.

Question: Do they come with proposals, asking if they could help establish dialogue?  Or how is this taking place in reality?

Sergey Lavrov: This happens in different ways. Right now, I cannot go into detail, but both want to help achieve accord at the talks conducted via the “Belarusian channel.”  They know the state of the talks, what proposals are on the table, and where there is a bilateral rapprochement.   They are sincerely trying to speed up the rapprochement. We welcome this, but I would like to stress once again that the matter of key importance is having a direct dialogue between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations and  solving what we consider fundamental issues related to the effort not only to ensure the physical security of people in eastern Ukraine and for that matter in other parts of Ukraine, but also to enable them to live normal, civilised lives in the country that has a duty to ensure the rights of  those who are known as ethnic minorities, rights that have been trampled underfoot in every sense.

Let us not forget about the tasks of demilitarisation. Ukraine cannot have weapons that create a threat to the Russian Federation. We are ready to negotiate on the types of armaments that do not present a threat to us. This problem will have to be solved even regardless of the situation’s NATO aspect. Even without NATO membership, the United States or anyone else can supply offensive weapons to Ukraine on a bilateral basis, just as they did with the anti-missile bases in Poland and Romania. No one asked NATO. Let us not forget that [Ukraine] is perhaps the only OSCE and European country that has legislatively legalised the neo-Nazis’ right to promote their views and practices.

These are matters of principle. I hope that the realisation of their legitimacy, justifiability and key importance for our interests and therefore the interests of European security will enable those, who are graciously offering their good offices, to promote relevant compromises in contacts with Ukraine, among others.

Question: We have named certain countries that are helping to settle this crisis. Has the United States offered any services in this connection, like “let us help to establish contacts?” After all, it is no secret to anyone that Russia-US relations were at a very low level. Now they have hit rock bottom, haven’t they?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, there is such a figurative expression. Of course, the situation is unprecedented. I can’t recall anything like the frenzied policy that Washington is conducting right now. To a considerable extent, this policy is generated by Congress whose members have lost all sense of reality and are throwing all conventions to the winds. I am not even mentioning the diplomatic proprieties that have long since been abandoned.

The United States certainly has played the decisive role in shaping the position of the Kiev authorities. The Americans have maintained a huge “presence” in Kiev’s “corridors of power” for many years, including the uniformed agencies, the security service, and the top brass. Everyone knows this. The CIA and other US secret services have their missions there.

Like other NATO members (the Canadians, the British), they have sent hundreds of their instructors to train combat units not only within the Armed Forces of Ukraine but also in the so-called volunteer battalions, including Azov and Aydar. However, some seven or eight years ago, in 2014, immediately after the coup d’etat, the Azov battalion was officially struck off the list of recipients of US aid.  This was done precisely because it was regarded as an extremist, if not terrorist, organisation. Today, all pretences have been removed.

Now any person or group in Ukraine that declares Russia its enemy is immediately taken under the wing of overseas and Western patrons.

They are talking about the supremacy of law and about democracy. What supremacy of law, if the EU, in violation of its own law on the inadmissibility of arms supplies to conflict zones, takes the decision to do the opposite and send offensive arms to Ukraine?

We do not see any sign that the United States is interested in settling the conflict as soon as possible. If they were interested, they would have every opportunity, first, to explain to the Ukrainian negotiators and President Zelensky that they should seek compromises. Second, they need to make it clear that they are aware of the legitimacy of our demands and positions, but do not want to accept them, not because they are illegitimate but because they would like to dominate the world and are unwilling to restrain themselves with any commitments to take into consideration the interests of others. They have already brought Europe to heel, as I have said.

The US has been telling Europe for years that Nord Stream 2 could undermine their energy security. Europe responded that they should find out that on their own. They took the decision and their companies invested billions of euros. The Americans were claiming that this was contrary to the EU’s interests. They offered to sell them their liquefied gas. If there are no gas terminals, they should be built.  The Germans told me this a few years ago. It was during President Trump’s administration. Europe was complaining that this would considerably increase gas prices for their consumers. Donald Trump replied that they were rich guys and will compensate the difference from the German budget. That’s their approach.

Today, Europe was shown its place. Germany eventually said that its regulator was taking a break, and this precisely defines the FRG’s place in the arrangements that the Americans are making on the world scene.

Question: Has Germany become a less independent state under the new chancellor? Would it have acted the same under Angela Merkel?

Sergey Lavrov: The Nord Stream 2 was commissioned, albeit temporarily suspended afterwards, under the new chancellor. I hope that experience will bring an understanding of the need to uphold national interests, rather than to fully rely on the overseas partner who will make all the decisions for you and then do everything for you as well. Clearly, the enormous number of US troops on German soil is also a factor that interferes with independent decision-making.

Articles are being published to the effect that the “politics of memory” is vanishing. It has always been considered a sacred thing in Germany and meant that the German people would never forget the suffering they brought during World War II, primarily to the peoples of the Soviet Union. After I read this, I realised that many people are aware of it. These are open publications. German political scientists are talking about this and, of course, ours do so as well. Several years ago, I spotted something that was probably the early phase of this emerging trend. We were holding ministerial and other consultations with the Germans (I’m talking about foreign policy talks) at the level of department directors and deputy ministers. I never saw this at the ministerial level. The thought that was conveyed to us during the talks was that “we, the Germans, have paid our dues to everyone and owe nothing to anyone, so stop bringing this up.”

Speaking of the Germans, there is a thing that is worth mentioning. We are now talking a lot about attributes of genocide or racial discrimination. Take, for instance, the siege of Leningrad. For many years and with all my colleagues, starting with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Guido Westerwelle, Heiko Maas, and most recently Annalena Baerbock, I very persistently, with each of them, raised the topic of paying compensations to the Leningrad siege survivors. The German government has made two one-time payments but only to Jewish survivors. We asked why only Jews, because many ethnic groups, including Russians and Tatars, lived in Leningrad and continue to live there. Many of them are still alive. How are they supposed to understand the fact that only the Jews have received some kind of help from the German government when at the time they were boiling shoes, burying children and transporting corpses on sleds together? The payments in question are not big. But, first, for many of them they matter, and second, they serve as the recognition of the fact that everyone has been impacted by the siege. Their answer was interesting. The Jews, they said, are victims of the Holocaust. These payments cannot be made to other survivors, because they are not Holocaust victims. Our attempts to reach out to the German legislators and politicians and tell them that the siege of Leningrad was an unparalleled event in the history of WWII, where there was no distinction between Jews, Russians or other ethnic groups, failed. We reached out to Jewish organisations. It is a matter of honour for them as well. We will continue this work going forward. January marked yet another anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad. The President of Russia signed an executive order on one-time payments to all siege survivors, including the Jews. We have not seen any sign of conscience awakening in Germany so far.

To be continued…

FM Lavrov presser after talks with FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (Iran)

March 16, 2022

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1804343/

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held talks with my colleague, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The talks were held in a traditionally friendly atmosphere and were frank, concrete and useful.

We discussed the further development of our broad and multifaceted bilateral cooperation in accordance with the agreements reached by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi during his visit to Moscow on January 19-20, 2022. We are continuing to work on a new, big interstate treaty at Iran’s initiative. We expressed mutual interest in signing this basic document as soon as possible. It will reflect the current state and development prospects of the entire range of Russian-Iranian relations. We reaffirmed the principles of our interaction on the international stage.

We highlighted our trade and economic cooperation and noted the steady growth in our mutual trade despite the illegal sanctions and the pandemic. In 2021, it increased by nearly 82 percent, to more than $4 billion. We agreed to continue working to build up our business ties and enhance their quality, including at the interregional level. We confirmed that no illegal sanctions would hinder our consistent progress.

We had a constructive discussion on current international matters. We have a common stand on the promotion by our Western partners, led by the United States, of the “rules-based order,” which they want to take the place of international law. This rules-based order is the epitome of injustice and double standards, alongside the afore-mentioned illegal unilateral sanctions, which are targeting ordinary people.

We spoke up firmly in favour of making international life more democratic, based on all countries’ strict compliance with the UN Charter and its principles, and on the strengthening of the UN’s central role in international affairs. We decided to continue strengthening our effective cooperation within the framework of the UN, where our positions are traditionally very similar or coincide.

We expressed support for the decision taken at the 21st SCO summit in Dushanbe in September 2021 to launch the procedure to grant the status of full member to Iran. Tehran plays a major role in Eurasia and has been working closely with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for a long time. This interaction will now be given a new, comprehensive quality.

We facilitate a negotiating process that was launched in November 2021 to conclude a full-scale free trade agreement between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union. We are convinced that the liberalisation of customs tariffs will positively influence the development of Russian-Iranian trade and economic ties.

We held a detailed discussion on the current situation with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Iranian nuclear programme. We support the soonest possible resumption of the full implementation of the agreement, which was formalised by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, based on a balance of interests initially stipulated by it. We are expecting the United States to return to the nuclear deal’s legal framework and to cancel the illegal US-imposed sanctions that have a painful effect on Iran, its people and a number of other countries.

We exchanged opinions on the military-political and humanitarian situation in Syria. We expressed our mutual striving to closely coordinate our actions to further attain a lasting peace and improve the humanitarian situation in this country. We agreed to continue to work together for these purposes within the framework of the Astana format, which has proven effective and which includes our Turkish colleagues.yem

We coordinated our positions on other important regional matters, including the situations in the Caspian region, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan and Yemen.

We touched on the situation in Ukraine and around it. We thanked our Iranian colleagues for their objective and well-thought-out position and for understanding Russia’s security concerns, which were caused by the destabilising actions of the United States and its NATO allies. Once again, we noted that our actions are to protect the people of Donbass from the military threat posed by the Kiev regime and to facilitate the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine in full compliance with the values contained in the UN Charter and within the framework of documents, approved at the top-level.

I believe our talks were very productive. We have agreed to maintain contact on all issues under discussion.

Mr Minister has kindly invited me to pay a reciprocal visit to Tehran. We have accepted the invitation, and will coordinate the dates soon.

I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate our Iranian friends and, in their person, all those celebrating the springtime Nowruz holiday in the approach to this bright event.

Question (translated from Farsi): They say Russia has demanded written guarantees from the United States at the talks in Vienna, so that any sanctions against Moscow would not affect its relations with Tehran. Can this prevent agreements from being reached? Or will the American side’s illogical demands lead to this?

Sergey Lavrov: We have received written guarantees. They are actually included in the text of the agreement on the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear programme. All projects and areas of activity envisaged by the JCPOA have been protected, including the direct involvement of our companies and specialists, including cooperation on the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which is a flagship cooperation project, and in the context of all existing plans associated with it. The Americans try to accuse us of slowing the agreement process almost every day. This is a lie. Certain capitals have yet to approve the agreement, but Moscow is not one of them.

Question (translated from Farsi, addressed to Hossein Amir-Abdollahian): Yesterday you spoke on the phone with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba. He wanted to give you a message for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. How would you comment on this?

Sergey Lavrov (adds after Hossein Amir-Abdollahian): During our meeting, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke to me about the phone call he had with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister. He conveyed to me Dmitry Kuleba’s wish that we need to “stop the war” as soon as possible. This is exactly what we are doing – we are stopping the war that the Kiev regime has been waging against the population of Donbass for the past eight years or more. This war must stop. Especially now, when once again we can see the true face of the radical nationalists in Kiev. Yesterday, they used Tochka-U systems to fire cluster munitions at the centre of Donetsk killing 20 and injuring even more civilians. All these facts are being hushed up in the West, which continues to whip up hysteria by spreading patent fake news.

We have handed over some materials to our Iranian friends (we are distributing them to all our counterparts). They contain concrete facts to show what the current Ukrainian government is like, what approaches Ukrainian officials (starting with the president) express, and how they treat their obligations under the United Nations Charter, UN resolutions, the OSCE and the Minsk agreements. They signed the Package of Measures and then ignored it with the connivance (or even encouragement) of our Western colleagues.

The negotiations are ongoing on Ukraine’s neutral military status with security guarantees for all participants in this process; Ukraine’s demilitarisation to prevent any threat to the Russian Federation from its territory ever; and the termination of that country’s nazification policy supported by a number of Ukrainian legal acts, including the abolition of all discriminatory restrictions imposed on the Russian language, education, culture and media in Ukraine.

Question: Russia has repeatedly said that there is no alternative to the JCPOA. There are some reports that the United States may suggest a new agreement without Russia’s participation. Does Moscow have any counter proposals?

Sergey Lavrov: This is yet another attempt to lay the blame at the wrong door. We have never made any excessive demands. All our rights in cooperation with Iran on JCPOA projects are reliably protected. If the Americans have not yet made a final decision on resuming the JCPOA, they probably want to shift the blame for this on somebody else. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that at this point, the obstacles are being created by the US’s excessive demands.

Question: The nuclear deal could unfreeze Iran’s oil exports. Would this affect Russian oil exports? Is there any mechanism to smooth over such consequences in relations between Moscow and Tehran?

Sergey Lavrov: The nuclear deal is bound to unblock Iran’s oil exports. We enthusiastically supported this important part of the agreement.

As for the impact of Iranian oil on the world market, this will affect all exporting and importing countries. There are mechanisms to prevent volatile surprises. First, there is OPEC+, of which Iran is a member. When new amounts of hydrocarbons appear in the world market, it drafts an agreement on an optimal distribution quota. I am sure that constructive work lies ahead as soon as all issues linked with Iran’s oil on the world market are settled.

Question: Having cited considerable evidence, Russia raised the issue of bio-laboratories in Ukraine. Is the international community interested in this issue? Is it ready to talk about this? Will Moscow return to this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: I would not describe the reaction of the international community as “interest.” The reaction is sooner a negative surprise and wariness. The revealed facts point to the enormous scale of the US’s unlawful activities on spreading its military bio-laboratories all over the world. There are hundreds of them, including almost 30 in Ukraine. Many of them have been established in other former Soviet states right along the perimeter of the borders of Russia, China and other countries.

We will demand that this issue be reviewed in the context of the commitments assumed by all participants in the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. We will do all we can to force the Americans to stop blocking our proposal from 20 years ago on the need to create a special mechanism for verifying any alarming reports on the appearance of substances that may be used to develop biological weapons. They are against this mechanism because it would make any bioactivity transparent. They do not want transparency because they find it more expedient to do everything under their own control, as they have been doing up until now.

I am convinced that the international community has realised (and will realise again) that such activities are unacceptable and fraught with lethal threats to civilians on a massive scale.

Meeting of the Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine (March 8, 2022)

March 08, 2022

Channel: https://t.me/mod_russia_en : First post link of various: https://t.me/mod_russia_en/73

 Taking into account the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the settlements of Ukraine, where nationalists continue to forcibly detain thousands of civilians, including foreigners, yesterday the Russian side, despite repeated failures of all agreements by Kiev authorities, came up with another initiative to conduct a humanitarian operation. At the same time, we have completed all preparation for the evacuation of civilians and foreign citizens through safe corridors.

 Unfortunately, out of the ten routes suggested to the Ukrainian side – two from Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol – including one from each city to the Russian Federation, as well as one through the territories controlled by the Kiev authorities to Poland, Moldova, Romania, official Kiev confirmed only one route – from Sumy through Poltava further to the border with Poland.

 At present, thanks to the unprecedented security measures taken by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, 723 people have been evacuated along this route (among them: 576 are citizens of India, 115 of China, 20 of Jordan, 12 of Tunisia).

 In addition, Russia, without the participation of the Ukrainian side, evacuated 5,334 people from dangerous zones in various regions of Ukraine, as well as the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, including 781 children. Since the beginning of the special military operation more than 174,000 people have been evacuated including 44,250 children. The state border of the Russian Federation was crossed by 20,033 personal vehicles including 777 per day.

 At present, also without the participation of the Ukrainian side, a humanitarian operation is being completed to evacuate 223 foreign citizens from dangerous areas of Kherson region, through Crimea to Novorossiysk, including 188 people from Turkey, 15 from Egypt, 8 from Italy, 6 from Pakistan and 5 from India, as well as 1 from Brazil. But these figures will increase as the operation is still ongoing.

 At the same time, the official Kiev authorities continue to reject all the main evacuation routes from Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol to the territory of the Russian Federation. I would like to remind the Ukrainian side that in our database, 2,541,367 appeals have already been recorded through various communication channels from citizens of Ukraine, as well as foreigners, with requests to rescue and evacuate them from 1,917 settlements of Ukraine.

This database contains the names, surnames and addresses of these people, heartbreaking stories about the difficult humanitarian situation, about the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by nationalists, murders, physical violence and illegal arrests.

If we had basic confidence in the Ukrainian authorities, then we could give them this database in order to dispel the speculation that no one wants to go to the Russian Federation. But for obvious reasons, we cannot do this. As soon as the database is in the hands of the nationalists, all Ukrainian citizens who have applied for help will face persecution, humiliation, torture and execution.

For the same reason, we are afraid to give this information on to representatives of the United Nations, since detailed information about the citizens of Ukraine may also fall into the hands of nationalists.

 Official representatives of the Kiev authorities and mayors of cities received the strictest instructions to prevent any attempt to evacuate to the Russian Federation. Citizens simply do not receive information about a possible evacuation to Russia and the creation of humanitarian corridors.

Any attempts to exit through humanitarian corridors to the Russian Federation are suppressed by the nationalists. We have already told you about this. Any additional comments here are unnecessary.

But no matter how the situation develops, no matter what measures are taken by the Kiev regime, including with the assistance of short-sighted, unscrupulous UN employees, as well as other international organizations to conceal their monstrous crimes, sooner or later, the civilized world will learn about all the atrocities against its people.

This database will become direct evidence of lawlessness and crimes of the Kiev authorities against the citizens of Ukraine.

 The Kiev regime, as a result of the loss of civil law administration in cities and towns, with its helpless actions, in practice, supports the chaos reigning in the territories controlled by Bandera gangs, does not notice the numerous facts of looting, which have already assumed catastrophic proportions.

This says that official Kiev does not control the state of affairs in its own country and cannot ensure the fulfillment of its obligations. All fundamental decisions are essentially taken by the nationalists and their accomplices.

Radical gangs continue to intimidate civilians, threatening them with murder when they try to evacuate towards Russia.

At the same time, the checkpoints in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova and Romania unprepared to receive Ukrainian refugees trying to find protection from the terror organized by the territorial defence battalions. Traffic jams at border crossings. People are forced to abandon vehicles and walk with heavy bags. The queues stretched up to 40 kilometers, and the passage time exceeded two days.

At the same time, there are no toilets, no water, no food at the checkpoints, there are no heating points and medical care. People are forced to stay outside for days at sub-zero temperatures. Numerous cases of physical violence, robberies, looting against Ukrainian refugees and foreign citizens were recorded by local criminals, who, in addition, demand a bribe of up to one and a half thousand US dollars for organizing unimpeded passage.

Various restrictions on admission have been introduced. In particular, male persons aged 18 to 60 years are not allowed to enter the territory of Poland without permission from Ukrainian military enlistment offices. But corrupt border guards offer a bribe of up to $5,000 to cross the border without hindrance.

After crossing the border, refugees face numerous problems related to the lack of basic conditions for accommodation and recreation.  In neighboring states, tent camps without any amenities are provided for their accommodation.

Despite the inconsistency of the actions of the Kiev authorities, we are ready to patiently wait for constructive work on humanitarian issues from them and hope for close cooperation with the relevant structures of the UN, the OSCE and other international organizations. Now, more than ever, it is important to get away from the political engagement of the humanitarian component, as a high-level official did immorally from the rostrum of the United Nations. This is extremely important for every person who finds himself in the most difficult humanitarian conditions in the settlements of Ukraine.

Since yesterday, the Joint Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine has organized effective interaction with UN representatives, who, after the appeal of UN Secretary General António Guterres to the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, officially arrived in Moscow and are in contact with us around the clock.

 Militants of the territorial defence battalions continue to hold hostage as a human shield more than four and a half million civilians, as well as about two thousand foreigners who have already expressed a desire to evacuate to safe places. Information about cases of discrimination against human rights on racial grounds by neo-Nazis continues to come in.

At the same time, the Russian side is creating the necessary conditions for a peaceful and safe life in all the liberated territories, ensuring unimpeded access of the population to any humanitarian aid.

 More than 9,000 temporary accommodation centers continue to function normally in almost all regions of the Russian Federation. Strictly individual work is organized with each person arriving in Russia.

 The accumulation of humanitarian aid at points continues, more than 15,500 tons have already been accumulated.

946 tons of humanitarian cargo have already been delivered to Ukraine, 132 humanitarian actions have been carried out in the settlements of Zaporozhye, Kiev, Kharkov, Kherson and Chernigov regions, as well as in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Over the past day 22 humanitarian actions were carried out in Kiev and Chernigov regions, as well as in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, during which 325 tons of basic necessities were handed over to the civilian population of the liberated regions, medicines and food.

To date, 33 humanitarian actions have been planned and are currently being carried out in Kharkov and Kherson regions, in Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, during which 341 tons of basic necessities, medicine and food will be distributed.

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

March 07, 2022

The Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can only convey my condolences to the bereaved families.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Russia announces ceasefire in Ukraine, opens humanitarian corridors

March 7, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen net 

Russian forces announced a ceasefire from 10:00 a.m. (07:00 GMT) for Ukraine’s residents in Kiev, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy to evacuate.

Emergency workers in Kiev (Getty)

The Russian military forces declare a truce beginning at 10:00 a.m. (07:00 GMT).

The ceasefire would allow for inhabitants of Ukraine’s Kiev, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy to evacuate the city, according to the interdepartmental coordination center for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine on Monday.

In a statement, the response center announced that “Given the catastrophic humanitarian situation and its sharp aggravation in the cities of Kiev, Kharkiv, Sumy and Mariupol, as well as at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron to Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the Russian armed forces announce ceasefire for humanitarian purposes from 10;00 March 7, 2022, and open humanitarian corridors.”

The statement added that during the ceasefire, Russia will oversee resident evacuation with the help of drones.

The headquarters added that “We warn that all attempts by the Ukrainian side once again to deceive Russia and the entire civilized world in disrupting the humanitarian operation, allegedly through the fault of Russia, this time are useless and meaningless,” adding that the information has been sent to the appropriate bodies of the UN, the OSCE, the ICRC, and other international organizations via all available information means, including the media.

Moscow is awaiting actions from Kiev’s leadership, along with leaders of the aforementioned cities.

“We demand that the Ukrainian side strictly fulfill all the conditions for the creation of humanitarian corridors in the above-mentioned directions and ensure an organized withdrawal of civilians and foreign citizens,” the statement detailed.

In a phone call with Macron, Putin put the blame on Kiev for failed evacuation attempts from the 10th largest city in Ukraine, Mariupol, which is currently surrounded by Russian troops. 

The Russian President drew attention to the fact that Kiev is not fulfilling its agreements regarding the critical humanitarian issue, notably after the signed two agreements to evacuate Mariupol fell amid reports that Ukraine has been breaching ceasefire agreements.

Ukrainian nationalists, according to Putin, prevented civilians and foreign citizens from leaving Mariupol and Volnovakha on Saturday despite the ceasefire agreements.

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Day 6 – Mr President, is Ukraine winning the war? (not a joke!)

March 01, 2022

This question was asked by some pressitute while Biden was walking to his helicopter today: Mr President, is Ukraine winning the war?

Wow, just wow.  Either she fully believes it, and then WOW or she doesn’t and then WOW again.

This is a “Let’s Go Brandon” on a geostrategic level! 🙂

By the way, she followed up with a question about whether he worried about a nuclear war.

I think that this exchange sums of the entire and total delusion which folks in the West are holding on.  The inevitable wake up phase will be painful, very painful.

Clearly, “Biden” is winning this one. Not 🙂

Then there is this (see graph) to keep in mind.  Biden is down in the proverbial shits and, worse, pretty much anything he does next will only make things worse.  The fact that this is an entirely self-inflicted wound makes no difference as to how hard it bleeds…

In other news from the “back to reality” corner: the UK and Poland have had to announce that, no, after careful thought and all things considered, they won’t be sending fighter aircraft into the Ukraine.

What a surprise to everybody in Kiev (and to nobody in Moscow)!

As for Uncle Shmuel, he declared that (trying to) imposing a no-fly would mean “shooting down Russian aircraft” which, for some unfathomable reason, the USA did not want to do.  That might have something to do with Putin’s very blunt warning yesterday.

Maybe the western leaders are very slowly coming to realize that while Russians don’t threaten, they don’t bluff either.  That is a “new normal” which is going to cause a lot of buttaches to the narcissists ruling the West…

The Eurorodents in all heroically walk out of the room when Lavrov addressed them by video.  If the intention of the Eurorodents was to convey to the Russians that “we won’t ever listen to a single word you have to say” then I am confident that the Russians heard that message and will keep that factoid in mind in planning future unilateral Russians actions (of which there are plenty more to come, that is quite obvious now).

A few good news now: the nuclear plant at Zaporozhie is safely in Russian hands.  Thank God for that.

So what has been the triumphant President “Ze” up to?

He signed an application to be immediately accepted into the EU.  The new Europeans loved it.  The old ones, not so much.

The Eurorodents are also forming what I would call “internationalist Nazi brigades” of volunteers who can go and fight for Banderastan.  No visa needed – show up, declare your willingness to kill Russians, and, voila, you are shipped to…

… to the almost closed operational cauldron in the Donbass!

In fact, I suppose that by now getting in is about as hard and dangerous as getting out.  Yes, technically, there is a no man’s land between the two Russian prongs (the one from the north and the one from the south), but it is now a Russian “free fire zone” which, considering both the presence of very heavy weapons systems (MLRS and TOS-1A) and the sharp increase in Russian air operations would be a very very dangerous attempt indeed.

Speaking of cauldrons, Russia has cut off the entire Ukrainian coast from the Sea of Azov and Mariupol is the first “cauldron” to be officially locked.

The civilized and winning West is showing that it really knows the score: Russian students are expelled from EU colleges (a similar idea is now floated in the USA), even neutral countries like Switzerland have closed their airspace to Russian carriers (which Switzerland really did not have to do since all the countries neighboring Switzerland already did that), and Russian citizens can’t even fly across Canadian airspace on their way home to the EU from the USA (just happened to a friend of mine).  I fully expect “Russian Standard” vodka to disappear from US stores (we bought all the last ones we could).

Maybe we will soon be treated to YouTube videos showing (US or Ukie) Nazis machine-gunning Russian “matrioshka” dolls followed by thunderous cries of “Glory to the Ukraine!  Glory to the heroes!“?

Russians are being expelled from sports clubs, musical events, cultural events and pretty much from everywhere where something “Russian” can be treated with hate and contempt.

These are Orwell’s two minutes of hate, but drawn out over days.

This is an russophobic Kristallnacht, but officially organized and praised.

I want to add one more thing about all this: nobody, absolutely NOBODY, is forcing the folks in the West to act the way they are.  No Gestapo, no SA/SS patrols – nothing.  Just the US PSYOPs and the eager willingness of these folks to “show Russia” in some way.

And since there are practically NO voices denouncing all this, this is also an important “message” from the people of Europe to the people of Russia.

And,

This is EXACTLY what the Russian nation needs to understand the world it lives in.

THAT is the reality, not their smiles or promises.

Yesterday, Putin used the expression “Empire of lies” – and he is spot on.  I will adopt that expression alongside my two favorites “AngloZionist Empire” and “the Axis of Kindness”.

In other “rodent news” – the OSCE is leaving the Donbass.  Not that these fake humanitarians ever made a difference, but now that they are gone, it also sends a very clear message to the Russian people.

Remember how Woke-thugs approached white people in restaurants and demanded that the white “take a knee” or see “black lives matter”?  The same is being done to Russians (and even non-Russians thought to be Russians) all over the democratic and civilized West.

“Cancel Russia” might be the unifying slogan (and goal) of the entire Zone A.

I have an idea: I think that western dictionaries should remove the word “Russian” and western maps should, from now on, just write “here be bears” on the map of Russia.  THAT would show ’em accursed russkies 🙂

And it is all repeated ad nauseam on Russian TV channels and on the Runet.

That will be neither forgotten nor forgiven.

The West is very much “talking to us” and “sending us a strong message”.  We all need to hear and carefully record it all.  For our children and for posterity.

I have to say that in Zone A the US PSYOPs gave Russia a massive thrashing and soundly defeated all the Russian counter-propaganda efforts.  The Russian PR people got a black eye and lost this one.

Inside Russia, it is more complicated.  As I mentioned, the Atlantic Integrationists (in power), the 5th column (liberal) and the 6th column (emo-Marxists) all joined forces and tried has hard as can be to inject a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubts (FUD) in the Russian society, from rumors of a NATO invasion to hallucinations about how the “sanctions from hell” will result in hunger, abject poverty and chaos.

The good thing is that by working hand in hand, they showed their true face and agenda.  Their ideology can be summed up as follows “we cannot allow Putin to win this one”.

This is a very positive development as the disgust and anger against them is clearly on the rise while the latest polls show that:

  • 68% of Russian approve of this military intervention
  • 22% oppose it
  • 10% are unsure

Of course, the Atlantic Integrationists, and the two columns (from now on I will refer to them all together AI+5+6) will quickly dismiss these polls because, as all AI+5+6 know, “Russian polls are as fake as Russian elections”.  I am confident that there is going to be legal action taken by the Duma and the Kremlin to, no, not “crush free speech” or anything like that, but to further unmask the real goals of this AI+5+6 coalition.

What about the situation on the ground?

  1. Mariupol cauldron confirmed locked (a very large number of hardcore Nazis are surrounded)
  2. Operational cauldron in the Donbass closing but not physically closed yet
  3. Kiev blocked on all directions except the humanitarian corridor

In plain English this means:

  1. Several days, difficult and violent combats to denazify Mariupol.  The outcome is not in doubt, but all the ingredients are here to indicate a truly intense urban assault operation.
  2. Donbass.  Again, the outcome is not in doubt, I will announce it here as soon as I get enough convergent info to confirm the closure of this operational cauldron
  3. Kiev – here I really don’t know.  I get the need to resolve the Kiev situation in some way, but I remain deeply concerned by any Russian operation to liberate the city.  Kiev is not Mariupol and while in Mariupol there are no other options than to kill all the Nazis, I will keep hoping for some negotiated solution similar to what is happening in a lot of (admittedly much smaller) towns in recently liberated eastern Ukraine.

Then there is the issue of Odessa.  Honestly, there are a lot of rumors on the Runet that Russia intends to liberate the entire Ukrainian coast, including Odessa, and open a land corridor to the Russian forces in Transnistria.  Putin, Shoigu and Gerasimov are infinitely smarter than me and they have the real info, which I don’t.

But I don’t want Russia to occupy in the mid-to-long-term a single inch of legally 404 land (outside the official borders of the LDNR, of course!).  But then, I was also very concerned when Putin ordered the Syrian military operation, and he proved me wrong, so all I can do is try to not worry too much, hope that if there are any such plans, they will be similar to the 08.08.08 format: quick in, disarm, quick out.

I am encouraged by all the statements by Russian officials and analysts that Russia has no intention of holding on to any Ukrainian territory and that as soon as the Ukraine is disarmed and denazified, all the Russian forces will be pulled back.  God willing, that is exactly what will happen soon.

Lastly, the Black Sea fleet.  It seems to have cut off Ukie port from shipping and several ships have been stopped and turned back (not simply stolen like the French just did!).  I am quite sure that before this is all over, we will see the Black Sea Fleet in action, possibly as part of an operation to liberate Odessa, here I defer to Andrei Maryanov and his expertise.

That’s it for now.  Over the past 6 days I have been posting two, sometimes three, updates.  Now since the situation on the ground is pretty clear, I will wait for a major development before posting a commentary.  That could happen as soon as later today, but tomorrow seems more realistic to me.  We shall see.

Andrei

Russian MFA: Vassily Nebenzia’s explanation of vote

February 28, 2022

Slowly the ability of the Russians to get information out to the world, while their internet infrastructure is still being heavily DDoS’ed, is improving.

https://russiaun.ru/en/news/270222u

 Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia’s explanation of vote (https://russiaun.ru/en/news/270222u) following UNSC vote on a draft resolution calling an emergency special session of the General Assembly:

 Russia voted against the proposed draft resolution, because its authors offer to concede that Security Council is not able to uphold its main responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The draft has no slightest hint of an attempt to find a constructive solution within the Council. Two days ago, we vetoed another draft resolution for the same reason – it was lopsided and misbalanced. This time we saw no new initiatives either.

 The United Nations and the Security Council were created in a post-war period so that to avoid scourge of a new war. To achieve this, the world’s powers consented to make agreements, ideally – find consensus, but in any case – never attempt imposing their decisions upon each other or try to ignore the interests of any of P5 members. That is why the Security Council envisages a right for permanent member states to veto its decisions. This is not a privilege, but a tool for ensuring the balance of interests, which the world needs so badly, and ensuring global stability through this balance. An attempt to disregard the position of Russia and ignore it contradicts the very basics of the UN Charter. What we need is not push forward such schemes, but try and find points of contact, no matter how hard our Western partners try to evade this, for example when ignoring our legitimate concerns with regard to NATO’s policy and actions of Western states who undermined basic OSCE principles about the indivisibility of security.

Now we need to focus on correcting the situation that led to this crisis that we are living through. It did not start when Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine. It started much earlier, when you spent 8 years pretending to not notice crimes of Ukrainian nationalists in Donbass. And again, today you found no words of sympathy for the people of Donbass.

 It is the houses in Donbass that were destroyed by nationalists and Ukraine’s armed forces that Western media most often brazenly present as consequences of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

At this meeting, we again hear lies and fakes about indiscriminate bombardments of Ukrainian cities, hospitals, and schools.

Russian military pose no threat to Ukraine’s peaceful citizens, they do not fire at peaceful facilities. What does pose a threat is Ukrainian nationalists who in fact hold the people of Ukraine as hostages, using them as a human shield. There is numerous evidence, disseminated by ordinary Ukrainians, proving that nationalists, despite people’s protests, deploy heavy equipment and multiple rocket launchers in residential quarters. This is a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law that must be duly condemned. Basically it is the same tactics as that of ISIL terrorists. All responsibility for possible consequences rests with the Maidan regime.

Another thing that threatens the people of Ukraine is uncontrolled distribution of weapons by radicals and the authorities to all those who are ready to have them, including criminals that have been released from prisons. Those guns already shoot in the hands of burglars and plunderers.

Numerous proofs of that can be easily found on social media. Those are posted by the dwellers of Kiev and other cities. This demonstrates the irresponsible approach of the Ukrainian authorities to its citizens.

Today we witness an information war on Russia in social media. Since there are no proofs that Russian military destroy civilian infrastructure, Ukrainian strikes and occasional hits are presented as such, as well as photo and video footage from Donbass that again depict crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists. Besides, in social media one can easily find tutorials that teach how to shoot fakes that should defile our special operation. All in all, there are 1.2 million such fakes in Ukrainian social media.

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