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“In the Past Napoleon and Hitler set out to subjugate Europe; Now, the US has taken it over”

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Russia is firm on their resolve to counter the mounting military influence of US in Ukraine.  Justifying the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine as a legitimate exercise to demilitarise their nighbour for Russian foresees a security threat in the event of their immediate neighbor joining NATO and US building a military base there.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview elaborated the circumstance that necessitated an armed intervention in Ukraine.  Excerpts:

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: 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: 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 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: 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. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken 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.

Question: 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. President of France Emmanuel Macron has 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.

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