16 August 2022
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1626 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1618 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

04.05.2022

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Al Arabiya television channel, Moscow, April 29, 2022

Question: What kind of binding guarantees Russia would accept for its own security in order to stop the current Russian special military operation in Ukraine? And, in return, what guarantees should the Ukrainians have for their own security, independence and freedom?

Sergey Lavrov: We have provided many proposals. During all these years we have been initiating draft treaties, draft agreements with NATO, with countries of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Lately, in December last year, we 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.

Every time we initiated these steps, they were basically rejected with more or less polite behaviour. In 2009, we proposed the European Security Treaty, which NATO refused to consider. The treaty, actually, was about codifying something to which all OSCE countries subscribed at the top level. The presidents and heads of government signed, in Istanbul in 1999 and then in 2010 in Astana, special declarations committing themselves to indivisible and equal security, stating that each country has the right to choose its alliances. At the same time, no country can strengthen its security at the expense of the security of other country, and no single organisation in Europe can pretend to be predominant player in this geopolitical space. We just suggested that those political commitments, solemnly adopted at the top level, at the highest level, at the summits, be codified, and be made legally binding.

In 2009 – this was the first attempt – NATO told us that there would be no legally binding security guarantees outside NATO, which means that what they signed up to within the OSCE, their presidents, their prime ministers, that this was just lip service. We tried again, later. As I said, there were several attempts. The last one took place in December last year when we once again proposed to stop building up tension, increasing tension and confrontation. During all these years, when NATO in spite of the promises by its leaders, was moving closer and closer to the Russian border.

And they were telling us: do not be afraid, we are a defensive alliance and we will pose no threat to your security. Defensive alliance it was, when there was a Berlin wall, made of concrete, and a geopolitical wall between NATO and the Warsaw Treaty. But when the Warsaw Treaty disappeared, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, NATO decided that the line of defence should be moved to the east. And they did move this line of defence five times. Now listen to what Jens Stoltenberg was saying last year already that NATO has a global responsibility for security especially in the Indo-Pacific region. My hunch is that the next line of defence of NATO would be in South China Sea, especially since leaders of  NATO member states like Foreign Secretary of Britain, Ms Truss, one of these days stated that NATO must be a global player. We can listen for so many times about the defensive nature of this alliance, but this is a lie.

The proposals, which we submitted last December, suggested that we all give security guarantees and subscribe to security guarantees, which would ensure the safety and security of Ukraine, and all other European countries, and, of course, of the Russian Federation.

They were made available, they are public, so that you can see that this was an honest proposal, which was rejected, because NATO did not want to sacrifice what they called the policy of open doors – the open doors policy, although this principle does not exist in the Washington Treaty. The Washington Treaty says that all NATO members, by consensus, might, or might not, invite any country to join, provided that this country will satisfy NATO criteria and, which is even more important, will add to NATO security. NATO expansion in the last years – I do not think that it was related to this very important criteria. What kind of security was added to NATO by pulling North Macedonia and some other countries, Montenegro, into NATO? It was all a cover to promote NATO’s expansionist plans.

If we come back to Ukraine, during all these years it was made an instrument to contain Russia and to deter Russia, and to irritate Russia. For the last years the regimes in Kiev have been cancelling everything Russian: language, education, media, and even day-to-day use of the Russian language was made an administrative offence. They were codifying legislation promoting and encouraging Nazi theories and practices. And they were pumping arms to Ukraine. They supported an illegal, anti-constitutional coup d’etat in February 2014, to which Crimean citizens and the citizens in the east of Ukraine responded by refusing to live under the rule of the people who violated guarantees from the European Union. By the way, the coup happened next morning after a deal was signed between the opposition and the president, and was guaranteed by the European Union: France, Germany and Poland. The Maidan leaders just staged this bloody coup and basically spat into the face of the European Union. They treated the European Union the same way as Victoria Nuland did when in December 2014 she talked to her ambassador in Kiev and told him what should be done to the European Union. I cannot say this in this conversation.

At the end of last year and early this year the Ukrainian regime intensified shelling of the eastern territories of the country in Donbass, which was a gross violation of the Minsk agreements, signed in February 2015, and endorsed by a Security Council resolution. When they were targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure – schools, hospitals, kindergartens – we did not have any other choice. All these years we were hoping that the West will insist on the implementation by Kiev of the Minsk agreements. The West proved that it was not at all interested in a peaceful resolution of this crisis on the basis of the Minsk agreements which provided special status to this territory. What the West needed was to support blindly anything the Kiev regime was doing, if it is aimed against the Russian interests. This was, and still is the purpose of our Western friends.

So when in February this year, the two republics once again appealed for us to recognise them, we did not have any other choice. We did recognise them, we started, at their request, the operation of our military contingent to protect them, to protect the lives of the civilians, and to make sure that there is no threat to their lives, to their security, and to the security of the Russian Federation, emanating from Ukrainian territory.

We do participate in negotiations. When President Vladimir Zelensky, offered, soon after the special operation began, he offered to start negotiations, we agreed immediately, and we, I think, have been negotiating in very good faith, unlike the Ukrainian negotiators, who changed their position every time, from one day to another day, they can be saying diametrically opposed things. But the guarantees which are being discussed are contained in the drafts which were prepared by the Russian Federation taking into account the position of the Ukrainians. Had they been honest negotiators, had they been faithful to what they agree to on a step-by-step basis, we could have moved quite considerably in those negotiations and Ukraine would basically be given guarantees from a group of countries which it originally identified as P5 plus Germany, Turkey, maybe somebody else. We do not have anything against it. The main thing is to understand how consistent they are, especially as regards the territory on which these guarantees would be applied. You can understand that we cannot accept guarantees to cover Crimea, for example, and to cover the east of Ukraine which we recognised as independent republics. And they agreed, originally, when the negotiators met in Istanbul that the security guarantees should not be applied to Crimea and to the east of Ukraine, but then they changed their mind again. We are stuck because of this inconsistency, because of their desire to play games every time and, as far as I can guess, because of the instructions they get from Washington, from London, from some other capitals not to accelerate the negotiating process.

Question: When the special military operation started on February 24, Russia described Ukraine joining the NATO alliance as an existential threat to Russia. You stated in an interview to Russian TV this week that if the US and its allies continue to arm Ukraine, the risk of war escalating into a nuclear conflict should not be underestimated. Forgive me, I took this from a translation of your Russian answer, and I noticed that you called it ‘war’ in this context saying ‘the war escalating.’ A nuclear conflict is an existential threat to us all, of course, something that Russia tried to stop in the first place by starting its special military operation in Ukraine. Can this peace operation deliver a wrong message or miss its targets?

Sergey Lavrov: Actually, you quoted some of my statements. It is not a very accurate quotation. I was asked whether a nuclear war is possible, whether the risk of a nuclear war became closer and more acute and whether Russia allows for such an eventuality. What I said was absolutely different. I said that from the very beginning of our cooperation with the Trump administration we have been proposing to them to reiterate what Reagan and Gorbachev stated in 1987, namely, to issue a joint Russian-American declaration at the top level saying that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and therefore it must never be launched.

Question: So you did not say that there is a risk of war escalating into a nuclear conflict that should not be underestimated?

Sergey Lavrov: Wait a second. I said that we have been champions of making pledges by all nuclear countries never to start a nuclear war. We could not persuade the Trump administration, they were hesitant, but the Biden administration agreed. They understood the importance of such a declaration. In June 2021, in Geneva, at the Russian-American summit this declaration was made. Then, again, at the Russian initiative, in January of this year, all five nuclear states issued a statement of presidents and heads of government.

It is not us who are playing with ‘nuclear war.’ You remember, in January this year, Vladimir Zelensky was again mobilising Western support against Russia. In his Russophobic rhetoric, he was saying that nobody was going to change the policy on the Russian language and Russian media and that nobody would be prosecuting the neo-Nazi battalions, who were supported by the state, and openly wearing swastikas and symbols of Waffen-SS divisions. Then he said that Ukraine made a mistake when it refused to be a nuclear power. He said that we might think about acquiring nuclear weapons again. Recently, Polish Prime Minister stated that Warsaw will welcome if nuclear weapons of the United States are moved from Germany to the Polish territory. We never played with such dangerous things. That is what I said. We must all insist on the statements made by the P5: never ever there could be a nuclear war. But to make sure that this is the case, the West must discipline speakers like our Ukrainian and Polish colleagues who see no danger in playing with such risky words.

Question: Ok, because it came across like threatening war. Your words widely spread in the media.

Sergey Lavrov: It did not come across. It was played the way in which you described it. We know how indecent are those who set the tone for the Western media policy, how indecent they are. We are used to it.

Question: So you do not think that this was just a wrong translation?

Sergey Lavrov: I just explained what I said. I gave you specific examples of the statements basically inviting the discussion on the possibility of nuclear war coming from the Ukrainians and from Poland.

Question: Yes, because it was really very surprising considering the role played by Russia in promoting in the Security Council in January 2021 the statement by the heads of state and the presidents.

Sergey Lavrov: The statement was initiated by Russia. Do not forget this.

Question: Does Russia consider itself at war now with NATO inside Ukraine because of the large, continuous, advanced armed shipments to the Ukraine forces?

Sergey Lavrov: We do not consider ourselves at war with NATO because this exactly would be another step to increase the risks of what we just discussed. Unfortunately, NATO, it seems, considers itself at war with Russia. NATO, and European Union leaders, many of them in England, in the United States, Poland, France, Germany, and of course European Union chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, bluntly, publicly, and persistently say “Putin must fail,” “Russia must be defeated.” When you use this terminology, I believe you think that you are at war with the person whom you want to be defeated. Yes, they are supplying arms to Ukraine. We know the routes which are used for these purposes, and that as soon as these weapons are reaching Ukrainian territory, they are fair game for our special operation.

Question: I asked you this question because many feared that one day they wake up and hear the news that a NATO plane has been downed by Russian forces or a NATO ship has been sunk by Russian forces when transferring arms to Ukraine, hence risking a major escalation of the conflict.

Sergey Lavrov: As I said, any weapon, any arms shipment on Ukrainian territory is a legitimate target because these weapons would be given to the regime who is at war with its own population, who conducts military offensives against civilians in the east of the country.

Question: The intensifying of the Russian operation in Donbass. What is the ultimate aim in eastern Ukraine, beside what has been announced  ̵  that Russia aims to protect the two self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics?

Sergey Lavrov: I told you already that our aim is to protect these two republics because they have been under attacks from the Ukrainian regime for a long, long eight years. When the coup happened in 2014, they said that they do not want anything to do with these people who came to power illegally, and they said: “Leave us alone. We want to understand what is going on.” They never attacked the rest of Ukraine, and they were announced terrorists, and an anti-terrorist operation was launched by the putsch’s leaders who came to power by force, through illegal means.

For a long eight years, they have been victims of the Ukrainian aggression. From 13,000 to 14,000 civilians were killed, civilian infrastructure destroyed. Many, many other crimes were committed by the Ukrainian regime against them. So, the goal of our operation (it was announced openly) is to protect these two republics and to make sure that no threat will ever emanate from the Ukrainian territory to the security of these people and to the security of the Russian Federation. This was a response to what NATO was doing in Ukraine in order to prepare this country’s very aggressive posture against the Russian Federation. They were given offensive arms, including the arms that can reach the Russian territory; military bases were being built, including on the Sea of Azov. Dozens of exercises, military exercises, including many of them on Ukrainian territory, were conducted under NATO auspices, and most of those exercises were designed against the interests of the Russian Federation. So, the purpose of this operation is to make sure that those plans never materialise.

Question: But what would you say to military analysts who say that Russia wants to have control over Donbass and the sovereignty of Ukraine and to provide a land corridor to Crimea? How does Russia foresee this military operation developing? 

Sergey Lavrov: I told you the goals of this operation. The military means that are used to achieve those goals are not for me to discuss. This is not for discussion in response to speculations by military experts. Military experts are paid to speculate, and let them continue.

Question: Do you expect the Donbass operation to be completed by May 9?

Sergey Lavrov: It will be completed as soon as the goals, which I have just described to you, are implemented and achieved.

Question: Last Wednesday, a munitions depot in Russia’s region bordering on Ukraine caught fire with several explosions. Two fires broke out at two fuel storage depots in the Bryansk Region on Monday. These attacks on oil storage facilities have been reported since April 1. Do you attribute these escalating attacks inside Russian territory against military supply routes and depots to increasing Ukrainian capabilities?

Sergey Lavrov: The Russian Minister of Defence presented information on these situations, some of them were just accidents, some were the result of Ukrainian helicopter attacks. And this, of course, made us understand that the goals of the military operation, which I described to you, must be achieved. I can assure you that during the course of this military operation these “adventures” by the Kiev regime are taken care of.

Question: Russia has become the most sanctioned country in the world. These sanctions are many and considerable. How long can Russia resist these painful sanctions? The West believes that these sanctions will make Russia sit down to the negotiations table and consider a compromise.

Sergey Lavrov: They are not very smart and they certainly don’t know history. After the Soviet Union disappeared, the profession of sovietologist or rusologist disappeared as well. The West and the United States thought that Russia was in the pocket of the United States, therefore there is no need to study Russia, and Russia will be doing what it is told. It was not the case.

Sanctions are not something out of the blue. Sanctions have been with us for decades. There has not been a day in the history of the Soviet Union or the history of the Russian Federation when there were no sanctions. When we were entering the WTO, the United States understood that it could not accept Russia entering the WTO without waving the Jackson-Vanik Act, which was discriminatory and which was not in line with the WTO standards. They wanted us to be in the World Trade Organisation. But after removing the Jackson-Vanik Act, they immediately replaced it with the Magnitsky Act. So there was never a break in the sanction regime against the Russian Federation.

After Crimeans refused to remain in the ultra-radical Ukraine under the rule of the Nazi regime, they adopted more and more sanctions. They never stopped but increased them every six or 12 months. So this recent outrageous wave of sanctions has eventually showed the real face of the West, which, as far as I now understand, has always been Russophobic. To believe that this latest wave of sanctions is going to make Russia cry uncle and to beg for pardon, you have to be a bad planner and know nothing about the foreign policy of Russia. They do not know anything about how to deal with Russia. We have already come to a very important conclusion: we cannot rely on the West in anything, especially in such areas as the economy, technology, food, and other day-to-day requirements, which are of strategic nature. We will never say that we will not have any relations with anybody. If people understand that they were hugely mistaken and that they were wrong. We can foresee that there might be some resumption of relations down the road, but in any case we must be self-sufficient in the sectors which are key to the life of the Russian Federation.

I can assure you that the fact that the Americans and others are running all over the world threatening people and telling them to join sanctions and to vote against Russia is not dignifying for any self-respecting country. Recently US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said, when India was discussed in the context of what is going on in and around Ukraine, that they must help India to understand what is good for its security. How do you like this? It is not about some small island country, it was said to India. The same was publically said to China. “China must play by the rules,” somebody, I think UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss said. “China must respect the rules, otherwise it would be punished” was said publically, without even blushing. The nature of this colonial attitude is absolutely unacceptable. And these people tell us that this is a fight between democracies and autocracies. What kind of democracies are they if they don’t give a damn about democracy in international relations. They just say everybody what to do. They are not even autocrats; they are dictators. They threaten to punish the people and countries who would not join their policies. It’s shameful. It is a shame for the Western civilisation to use such methods.

Question: The Ukrainian conflict affects the entire world’s food security, especially in my region. How do you regard the negative effects that the special military operation has?

Sergey Lavrov: Even you have been brainwashed, I understand. The food crisis has not started this year. The food crisis started several years ago for several reasons, including the coronavirus infection, but also including a miscalculation of the Western countries. They were concerned too much with steering food supply chains in their direction, and, of course, the current situation aggravated the problem. But eventually Russia did not have any other choice but to defend itself and its allies from the Ukrainian regime. But the sanctions that the West announced broke all supply chains. For example, dozens of foreign vessels are kept in the Black Sea and Azov Sea ports of Ukraine because they are under sanctions. We are ready to let them go. The Ukrainian government is not cooperating. They mined the waters, as you know, but we are ready to clear the mines and let the ships go. Some of them are with food. This is about Ukraine’s lack of cooperation in letting foreign ships leave their ports, but the sanctions prohibited Russian ships from going anywhere and prohibited any logistical actions and the use of infrastructure by Russian companies. So if they want to see the real reason of this food crisis, they have to look in the mirror.

Actually, when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Moscow on April 26, I raised these issues at the meeting because he reported publically about the food, energy and financial crises. I told him that it was a shame that he never mentioned sanctions as the key reason of the interruption of food supply chains. Do you know what he told me? I hope he is not going to be angry with me for revealing a secret. He said: no, it was not mentioned in the report, but at the press conference, when he was presenting this report, he was asked about it and he answered that, of course, sanctions also played their role. See for yourself.

Question: I understand and I agree with you: the situation was bad before, but the special military operation certainly did not help either. Russia suspended gas and oil exports to Bulgaria and Poland due to the absence of payment in roubles. Are Bulgaria and Poland only the first ones in Europe? And we can expect more suspensions of supplies?

Sergey Lavrov: The contracts, which were signed before the situation, envisaged payment in dollars or euros. And these payments were made directly to Gazrpom’s accounts. This money was kept in Garprom’s accounts in Western banks. After the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, our Western friends have stolen more than $300 billion from us; in fact they stole what they paid to us for gas. In other words, they have used Russian gas for free during all these years. To avoid the continuation of this robbery, President of Russia Vladimir Putin issued an executive order saying that from now on Europe would not be paying to Gazprom and its accounts in Western banks but to Gazprombank, still in dollars and euros. Nothing would change. You pay the same amount of foreign currency, which is agreed in the contract. And then, inside Gazprombank, the euros and dollars will be moved to the rouble account. This is an absolutely necessary scheme to avoid the continuation of the shameless robbery, in which these countries are engaged. You might have heard that in London, Washington, and Brussels, they speak about confiscating the money, which they have frozen, and giving this money to somebody else.

You remember how the United States was created through the principles of the “golden fever”  ̵  first come, first served; who shoots first is winning. We don’t want to be part of this game and we don’t want to be part of this robbery. They have a choice. They either pay the same amount in the same currency as they used to do, and then the rest will be done almost automatically. Those who refuse to follow this rouble scheme don’t want us to get the money for our product. Well, this is their choice. Most key partners of Russia agreed with the scheme that I have described. If Poland and Bulgaria put their ideological ambitions above the interests of their population and the interests of their budget, it is up to them.

Question: You expect most countries will sign such a contract.

Sergey Lavrov: I have just told you, you are not listening to me. I have just said that most of our key partners who buy Russian gas have already switched to the scheme that I described. I want to underline this once again: there is no change in the actual currency in which they pay; but it would be the bank, and not Gazprom, because as I said Gazprom was basically robbed.

Question: Turkey has closed its air space to Russian planes coming from Syria. They once again are arguing that this is because Russia is transferring Syrian mercenaries to fight in Ukraine. Is this true?

Sergey Lavrov: We have never used mercenaries. And I can assure you that people in Syria are busy with their own business.

Question: Why did Turkey close it air space then?

Sergey Lavrov: We cooperate with Turkey on many things, and I can assure you that we understand each other on each and every issue that we discuss, because Turkey and Russia are partners that respect each other’s interests and that never impose anything on another partner.

Question: Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya has been saying that the Pentagon financed a number of biological laboratories in Ukraine. Official Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian also says the US has biological laboratories in 30 countries. Permanent Representative of the US to the United Nations Linda Thomas‑Greenfield has denied these accusations.

Sergey Lavrov: The simple answer is that they are lying. It is in the documents that the participants in the Russian special military operation found when they entered the respective territories of Ukraine.

It is also not just the statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry that they have dozens of laboratories. They did have about 30 laboratories run by the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The documents discovered and made available to the United Nations prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the research the Pentagon was conducting in its military biological laboratories in Ukraine contravenes the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

Political scientists and experts in the US are now trying to have a discussion to understand exactly what the Americans were doing in Ukraine and other parts of the world, because if you take the global spread the US has hundreds of military biological laboratories. It is not by chance that Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said when she was testifying in Congress that they did everything to prevent these pathogens from getting into the hands of the Russian Federation. She basically confessed that what they were doing was not peaceful. They create these laboratories around the Russian Federation and around China. We have information that they have been trying to pull Mongolia in this game.

We negotiate memorandums or agreements with all our neighbours. We have signed them already with several countries, agreements on cooperation in biological security, making pledges that Russian biological security and biological science and their biological science would be transparent and subject to reciprocal inspections. These activities by the United States, which most probably are direct violation of the Convention, explain why the Americans have been single-handedly blocking our proposals supported by basically everyone else to create a verification mechanism in the context of the Biological Weapons Convention. Since 2001, we have been trying to get it through, but the Americans block it.

Question: Your forces have been in Ukraine since February 24, for two months. Did they find any biological weapons or research centres on biological weapons?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, as I said, we discovered documentation and we discovered samples, which are being analysed, and this information – most of it – has been already presented to the United Nations. In those laboratories, they are keeping the most dangerous pathogens, including pathogens of plague, anthrax, cholera, brucellosis and others. And these are very dangerous substances, so we don’t have any doubt that this must be investigated and we will continue to do this. We have reasons to believe that biological and chemical weapons are something that we need to emphasise much more in discussions with the United States insisting that they must publicly explain why they have once again prolonged their commitment to destroy all chemical weapons, why they build all these military biological laboratories without agreeing to have verification and a transparent mechanism under the Convention on Biological Weapons, and many other things. We want clarity and we would insist on answers.

Question: How will this conflict affect the United Nations? Do you think this Organisation is now facing an existential threat and might go the way of the League of Nations?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, it might, if we continue to watch the activities of the West led by the United States to move away the discussion of important issues from the United Nations into closed non-inclusive formats: the Summit for Democracy, which was convened by President Biden last year. The invitees were individually selected by Washington. And, of course, you find there the countries which the Americans never labelled as democratic, yet they were invited to the summit of democracies, as they were obedient servants of Washington, or they were considered to be ones.

A few years ago, the French and the Germans announced the creation of the Alliance for Multilateralism. We asked them: why should this be done outside the United Nations, because nothing is more multilateral than the United Nations? Everybody is there, except a few unrecognised states, however, it is a universal organisation. They told us, “No, we need something separate, because in the United Nations there are many autocratic countries.” Yes, there are autocratic countries there. There are also monarchies. And we explained to them that this is a pluralistic picture of the world community, and if they wanted to be multilateral, then they cannot avoid including everybody. Nevertheless, they created the Alliance for Multilateralism which is based, as they said, on the European Union values. Many initiatives like this – on freedom of the media, cybersecurity – have been announced by European countries outside the United Nations although there are specialised agencies under the UN umbrella which are universal and which deal with the same issues.

But the main thing is democracy in international relations. If you want to have an honest relationship, it should be like this: the United States said what it thinks, the Russian Federation stated what it thinks, China and everybody else (India, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil), everybody presents their positions as it should be at the UNGA General Debate. And then the countries who listen, they should decide whose view is closer to them. This is a democratic way of discussing. It will then be followed by building some consensus and compromises so that everybody has their position reflected in the common document.

The Americans act in the United Nations very differently. They just dictate, they threaten people and countries, they tell them “If you don’t do what you are told, we will cut assistance to your country.” They tell some ambassadors, “If you don’t vote the way we want, don’t forget that you have an account in an US bank, don’t forget that your children are studying at an American university.” I am not joking. I have some friends who have been experiencing from this kind of treatment.

But the key issue is the United Nations Charter. It says the United Nations is based on the principle of sovereign equality of states. Consider what the Americans are doing all over the world, and you will immediately come to the conclusion that they do not give a damn about this principle.

Question: Many countries are accusing Russia of ignoring the Charter by invading or by sending forces into an independent recognised state, Ukraine, which is a member of the United Nations.

Sergey Lavrov: Do they believe that the Americans were right to go to Iraq, to go to Syria, to bomb Libya? When the United States declares that there is a threat to the United States 10,000 kilometres from its border, some people were grumbling, some were expressing their concern. But there was no hysteria like the one we witness today, when Russia, having warned for many many years that this was going to be a problem, that we cannot tolerate a threat which NATO and the United States have been building just on our borders, not 10,000 kilometres away. You know, there was one interesting message I saw in Telegram, from the Middle East, by the way. They say “If you cannot sleep because of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, there are some pieces of advice to calm you down. First, imagine that this is happening in Africa or in the Middle East. Imagine Ukraine is Palestine. Imagine Russia is the United States.”

There is also a joke about an Estonian zoo with a crocodile pool. A mother with a young kid are watching the crocodile. Next to them there is a guy who drinks beer and looks around. Then somehow the kid fell into the pool. And the guy jumped into the pool, saved the kid and gave it to the mother. She said, “Oh, thank you very much, you are a very brave Estonian guy.” He replied, “Unfortunately, I am not Estonian, I am Russian.” The next morning, Estonian newspapers came out with headlines “A drunk Russian steals crocodiles’ lunch.”

Question: The UN Secretary General visited you on Tuesday and had a meeting with you and later with President Putin, and came with two proposals: first, to establish contact to bring together Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations to look for opportunities to open safe humanitarian corridors and, secondly, the Secretary General proposed coordinated work to be carried out by the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Russia.

Sergey Lavrov: There is no need in anybody’s help to open humanitarian corridors. There is only one problem. Humanitarian corridors, which are being announced on a daily basis, are ignored by the Ukrainian ultranationalists, who are sitting in this steel mill in the outskirts of Mariupol. The Kiev regime either does not order them to let civilians go (if there are civilians there), or cannot tell them what to do and does not have any authority over them.

We appreciate the Secretary General’s interest in being helpful, and we agreed that his people (his representatives have already been in Russia for a couple of months) will work with the Ministry of Defence to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian convoys. And these people were told yesterday and today about the mechanism for them to monitor how the humanitarian corridors are announced and how their offers of humanitarian corridors are received by those who use civilians, if there are any, as a human shield.

Question: Does Moldova have anything to worry about Russia’s special military operation?

Sergey Lavrov: They should worry about their own future, because they are being pulled into NATO. And I do not think this would enhance security for Moldova.

The goals of the Russian operation in Ukraine have been announced. They are to protect civilians in the east of Ukraine and to make sure that there are no threats to those civilians or to the Russian Federation coming from the Ukrainian territory. That’s it. 

Question: After the guns are silenced one day, after all the devastation, killing people in Ukraine, after all the accusations from both sides, can the Ukrainian and Russian people restore their trust to live side by side in peace and cooperation, as they did in the past? Or is it already too late?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t have the slightest doubt that the two peoples would live in peace with good neighbourly relations.

 

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1811531/ 




LATEST EVENTS

01.08.2022 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 29 July, 2022

The Foreign Minister drew the Secretary of State’s attention to the fact that the continued arming of the armed forces of Ukraine and nationalist battalions with US and NATO weapons, which are being used against civilians on a large scale, is only prolonging the agony of the Kiev regime by dragging out the conflict and increasing the number of victims. Mr Lavrov stressed that the armed forces of Russia strictly observe the norms of international law and that Russia has engaged in consistent efforts to restore peaceful life on the territories that it is liberating.


01.08.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions following a meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council, Tashkent, July 29, 2022

The African countries – and they are not alone because our other interlocutors, for example, our colleagues in the SCO, with whom we met yesterday and today – understand well that any member of the international community who behaves in a way that does not suit Americans or who meets with their disapproval could face sanctions. Everyone has a deep understanding of this. What can be done? Today, we have agreed to submit proposals for the consideration of the leaders of our countries on taking concrete steps towards switching to payments in national currencies.


29.07.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Wang Yi, Tashkent, July 28, 2022

We see the world becoming more diverse and balanced with a growing number of truly inclusive interaction formats coming to the fore. This evolution is backed by multiple countries, including Russia, China and most countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which seek to pursue independent policies. We act as a team with our Chinese partners to support these processes and to advocate peace and order based on international law, genuine multilateralism and the centrality of the UN and the UN Security Council.


28.07.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks following talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen, Addis Ababa, July 27, 2022

Our positions on key regional and international issues have traditionally been identical or close because they rely on Russia and Ethiopia’s firm commitments to international law, primarily, the principles of the UN Charter, especially including respect for the sovereign equality of states. We see that the attempts by the United States and its allies to impose their views and development models on other nations and to promote their geopolitical zero-sum games run counter to these principles.


28.07.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks following talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen, Addis Ababa, July 27, 2022

Our positions on key regional and international issues have traditionally been identical or close because they rely on Russia and Ethiopia’s firm commitments to international law, primarily, the principles of the UN Charter, especially including respect for the sovereign equality of states. We see that the attempts by the United States and its allies to impose their views and development models on other nations and to promote their geopolitical zero-sum games run counter to these principles.


27.07.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni following talks, Entebbe, July 26, 2022

The role of Africa in the new Concept for Russian Foreign Policy will be given much more prominence. This would have happened regardless of the developments in the West, which as you know, is “cancelling” itself on its own. Given our principled and long-term, as well as short-term interests, the importance of Africa will be increasing as a result of what the West is doing in respect of Russia. This will objectively force us to concentrate more on Africa in our work.


26.07.2022 - Foreign Minister’s Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions following his visit to the Republic of the Congo, Oyo, July 25, 2022

Our Western colleagues have become adept at distorting any news item when it can be used against Russia. Nothing surprises me anymore. Regarding the incident in Odessa, the obligations that Russia assumed under the agreements signed on July 22 in Istanbul say nothing about preventing us from continuing the special military operation, which can include destroying military infrastructure and other military targets. UN Secretariat representatives confirmed this interpretation of the documents yesterday.


25.07.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt Sameh Shoukry following talks, Cairo, July 24, 2022

Problems with the Ukrainian grain will be resolved through the coordination centre in Istanbul. It will be guaranteed that the Ukrainians clear their territorial waters from mines and allow the ships to sail from there. Throughout the itinerary on the high seas, Russia and Türkiye will ensure the ships’ safety with their naval forces. When the ships sail back to Ukrainian ports for new batches of food, they will be inspected to make sure no weapons are brought in. This document is publicly available. You can read it.


23.07.2022 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement regarding agreements on transporting Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports and on promoting Russian exports of food and fertilisers, Moscow, July 22, 2022

Russia will honour its commitments in this regard. The fact that the United States and its allies are using food in the interests of their geopolitical adventures is unacceptable and inhumane.


22.07.2022 - Article by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, the Congolese Dispatch de Brazzaville, the Ugandan New Vision, as well as the Ethiopian Ethiopia Herald, July 22, 2022

Moscow will continue to pursue a peace-loving foreign policy and play a balancing role in international affairs. We are in favor of broad interstate cooperation based on the provisions of the UN Charter, first of all the principle of the sovereign equality of states. We will continue to strengthen productive interaction with foreign partners who in their turn are willing to cooperate with us.



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