Thursday, May 30

Speech and answers to media questions by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mikhail Cavusoglu and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba

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Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Today we had a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mikhail Cavusoglu. After it, a trilateral conversation took place with the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine D.I.Kuleba, which took place at the suggestion of the Turkish side. This initiative was announced by the President of the Republic of Turkey, R.T. Erdogan, in a conversation with President Vladimir Putin. We agreed with this proposal of our Turkish colleagues, proceeding from the fact that, in principle, we are in favor of any contacts on the problems underlying the current Ukrainian crisis and on issues related to the development of ways out of it.

The only thing we immediately indicated is that these contacts should have added value. We proceed from the fact that they will not be used, first of all by our Ukrainian colleagues, who regularly do this kind of thing, in order to replace or devalue the real main negotiating track that is developing on Belarusian territory at the level of two delegations approved by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine.

Today’s conversation confirmed that this track is uncontested. We talked mainly on the initiative of our Turkish friends about humanitarian issues. They explained what measures our military is taking on the ground in order to help alleviate the fate of civilians who have turned out to be largely hostages, whom the so-called Ukrainian volunteer battalions and “territorial defense” forces use as human shields. These facts are well known to you. Our officials, including in the Ministry of Defense, regularly, several times a day, make relevant reports to the media. We confirmed that the initiative that the Russian side took at the time to open humanitarian corridors on a daily basis remains in force. The routes of such corridors and the time of their opening are determined by those who control the situation on the ground, based on the analysis of the situation and the need to choose the safest, most effective routes for civilians to exit.

We reminded our colleagues that at the last round of negotiations in Belarus, the Russian side presented extremely specific (already in the form of a draft legal document) considerations, and the Ukrainian side, having taken these proposals into consideration in Kiev, assured that it would soon give a concrete answer to them.

We want to have a serious conversation on the Belarusian platform, not to get off with some informal papers, but to coordinate things that have already been recognized and should be resolved in the context of a comprehensive settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and ensuring security on the European continent with unconditional consideration of the interests of all countries without exception.

That, in fact, is briefly what we talked about today. I am ready to answer your questions.

Question (translated from Turkish): Have you already calculated the damage to Russia from the war? Is it less or more than what you expected? Would you consider the possibility of intervention outside the territory of Ukraine due to the fact that weapons (as you discovered) entered the Ukrainian army from the West? Will you consider the deployment of Patriot complexes in Poland as a direct threat? Do you leave open the option of military retaliation?

Sergey Lavrov: I didn’t really understand your question in translation. If we talk about how the special military operation is developing, then these assessments are given by representatives of our Ministry of Defense and, most importantly, by the President of Russia as the Supreme Commander. He has repeatedly stressed that the whole operation is going according to plan.

As for the supply of weapons to Ukraine from abroad – yes, we see how dangerous our Western colleagues are acting now, including the European Union, which, in violation of all its principles and so-called “values”, in fact, encourage the supply of “lethal” weapons to Ukraine, including thousands of portable anti-aircraft missile systems that can move “on the shoulder” anywhere. Very often, terrorists use them to create threats to civil aviation. Where will these thousands of mobile portable anti-aircraft missile systems then get to? We ask this question to our colleagues in the European Union when they show interest in how to put an end to the policy that has been creating a threat to the Russian Federation from Ukraine for many years. There is no answer. How will these MANPADS then be monitored? Therefore, for many years to come, risks will be created for civil aviation and not only in the Ukrainian sky, but over the whole of Europe.

As for the question of whether we plan to attack other countries. We are not planning to attack other countries. We have not attacked Ukraine either. In Ukraine, as we have explained many times, there is a situation that creates direct threats to the security of the Russian Federation. Despite our many years of reminders, exhortations, appeals, suggestions, no one listened to us. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly expressed himself in detail on this topic. New facts that are now being revealed in the liberated territories, in particular, in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, indicate that the attack on these people’s republics was carefully planned for this month.

The facts about what the Pentagon is doing in biological laboratories created with its money, using Ukrainian territory to experiment on pathogens that can later be used to create biological weapons, are absolutely outrageous. It is clear that Washington’s representatives have publicly denied rumors that they are engaged in some kind of prohibited activity in Ukraine. The fact that the EU countries immediately began to say with one voice that they also have no data that Americans in Ukraine are engaged in some kind of military biological activity is also not surprising. What the representatives of the United Nations have said is that they also do not have such information – and this is not surprising. Of course, the Americans carried out this activity in deep secrecy. In the same way, they work in other post-Soviet states, creating their military biological laboratories right along the perimeter of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. Therefore, there is certainly no way out of this. There is a Convention on the prohibition of biological and Toxin weapons. It requires States to report on any activities they carry out both on their territory and abroad.

Those who pump Ukraine with weapons should understand that they are responsible for their actions. As well as those who encourage the sending of mercenaries to Ukraine in order to fight in the spirit of those traditions that ultra-radicals, battalions have introduced into Ukrainian daily life.

Question (translated from English): Russia used various words to justify the invasion of Ukraine, but you said it was for the benefit of the Ukrainian people. How can you justify the shelling of the maternity hospital and the hospital where the children were treated? Do you agree with President V.A. Zelensky that it is an atrocity to shoot at mothers and children? As for the Russian people, Russia is in danger of default – forty billion dollars – this will send Russia back to 1917, during the Bolshevik revolution. What do you say, justifying yourself to Russian citizens that you destroyed their economy because of the invasion, which, as the rest of the world believes, should not have happened?

Sergey Lavrov: About the maternity hospital – this is not the first time we have seen pathetic cries about the so-called “atrocities” that are being repaired by the Russian armed forces. Three days ago, on March 7, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, our delegation presented the facts that this maternity hospital had long been seized by the ultra-radical Azov battalion, from where all the women in labor, nurses, and all service personnel were expelled. Therefore, draw your own conclusions about how public opinion is manipulated around the world.

I saw reports from your channel and other Western media today. Very emotional. Unfortunately, special attention is never paid to the second side of any situation that allows you to make an objective representation.

As for the state of the economy of the Russian Federation – you know, we will take care of this ourselves. Both the President of Russia and our Government are engaged in this. You say that we used a lot of words to justify what we are doing in Ukraine. We drew attention to the fact that for many years they have been making “Anti-Russia” out of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the 2000s, the West has publicly demanded that Ukrainians decide before every election whether they are with the West or with Russia. That is, either you are with us or you are against us. What are these Western values that were hammered into the head of the Ukrainian people? In addition, we observe such: as soon as the pro-Western “candidate” was in last place, as it was in 2009, the West, in violation of the Constitution of Ukraine, forced the Constitutional Court of the country to make a decision on holding the third round of voting. There were a lot of such manipulations in those “best years”. A pro-Western experimental instrument was constantly being created from Ukraine. In the end, NATO began to demand that Ukraine have full freedom to join this bloc, naval bases were already being created in Ukraine, and there was talk of deploying missiles there that pose a direct threat to the Russian Federation. Now we find out that, secretly from the Ukrainian people and the world community, military biological laboratories also functioned there. When they started talking about the need for Ukraine to abandon its nuclear-free status, we began to appeal to the reason and conscience of our Western partners and offered to agree on the principles of security on the European continent. We were told – you can talk about anything, but don’t even get involved in the issues of NATO expansion. We will decide this ourselves without you. Don’t worry, NATO expansion does not threaten your security. Why on earth does NATO define our security issues and our security interests? That won’t do. You can’t talk to Russia like that. We are not going to justify our actions in Ukraine in any way. Their goals are extremely specific: we do not want the militarization of Ukraine in NATO or without NATO, because it is possible to put American systems there without NATO, which will keep our territory at gunpoint. We do not want to build a neo-Nazi state in Ukraine with traditions when battalions with SS stripes march in front of the President of Ukraine. When these militants train to carry out terrorist actions. We want Ukraine to be neutral. President Vladimir Putin has said many times that insisting on non-expansion of NATO, we do not want to deny the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state security at all. We are ready to discuss the guarantees of the security of the Ukrainian state together with the guarantees of the security of European countries and the security of Russia. The fact that now, judging by the speeches of President V.A. Zelensky, the understanding of this approach is beginning to make its way, inspires some optimism.

As for our economic problems– we will cope with them. We coped with difficulties at all stages of our history when they arose. This time, I assure you, we will come out of this crisis with a completely improved psychology and consciousness. We will have no illusions that the West can be a reliable partner, we will have no illusions that the West will not betray anyone and its own values at any moment. Where has it been seen that the right of private property was trampled on just by the click of two fingers? Where has it been seen that the presumption of innocence, as a pillar of the Western legal system, has simply been ignored and grossly violated? I assure you, we will definitely manage. But we will do everything to no longer depend on the West in any way in those areas of our life that are crucial for our people.

Question: The Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine says that Kiev is ready for a diplomatic settlement, but the only possible negotiations with the Russians could only be at the presidential level. Do you think it is expedient at the moment or in the future to organize negotiations between the presidents of the two states?

Sergey Lavrov: I think it is well known that Russian President Vladimir Putin never refuses contacts. We just want these contacts to be organized not for their own sake, but in order to fix specific agreements. This topic was touched upon today. I reminded D.I.Kuleba that we are always in favor of meeting if it helps to solve the problem. In recent years, after the unconstitutional coup d’etat, the Ukrainian leadership prefers meetings for the sake of meetings, to imitate specific decisions under TV cameras. When the Minsk agreements were tightly blocked by the Kiev regime, President V.A. Zelensky constantly called: “let’s meet,” “let’s finally get together once again.” Then we reminded our Ukrainian colleagues that a Normandy format summit was held in Paris in December 2019, all decisions were addressed to Kiev and not one of them was not implemented. Why was it necessary to meet in Paris if in order for the Paris decisions to be implemented, it is necessary to hold another summit? This manner of substituting the essence of any problem with various external effects: they also proposed to make the “Normandy format” expanded, to invite the British, Americans and Poles there. They offered to invite Turkey too. Then they decided to create something parallel to the Contact Group, then invite the French and Germans to the Contact Group. The Kiev leadership “gushed” with initiatives. At today’s meeting, we confirmed that President Vladimir Putin does not refuse to meet with President Vladimir Zelensky. Someday, I hope, such a need will arise. But for this it is necessary to carry out preparatory work, which is underway on the Belarusian track. Three rounds have already taken place. Our extremely specific proposals have been submitted to the Ukrainian side. She promised us that there would be extremely specific answers. We’re waiting.

Question: Wherever Russia goes “in peace” and denazification, kidnappings and tortures occur. It was in the Crimea. We know about 200 Crimean Tatars and the deputy chairman of the “Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people” N.Dzhelyalov. Women have been abducted in the occupied territories of the southern Azov region today. One of them is a Crimean Tatar deputy of the Zaporozhye Regional Council, L. Ibragimova. You have already moved to a new level. You haven’t abducted any women in these eight years. It is important that my colleagues from Turkey know what Russia is doing with the Crimean Tatars not only for eight years in Crimea. What do you say to that? These are facts. This is my native region: Genichesk, Melitopol (where I spent my childhood).

S.V. Lavrov: You said these are facts. I think it’s pretty much a different word, also starting with the letter “f” – fake. The ether, the Internet and the media in general are full of fakes. I didn’t know about this story, about the alleged abduction of a representative of the deputy corps, but I know about the stories that the Kiev regime is famous for. Yesterday I heard that the deputy E.V.Shevchenko disappeared somewhere. Didn’t find him? A member of the delegation to the Belarusian negotiations, who participated in the first round, D.B.Kireev was killed. At first they said that the security service of Ukraine executed him without trial on charges of treason, then that it was some kind of showdown. If you deal with this kind of individual stories, you can find a lot of interesting and outrageous. I proceed from the fact that trying to take one episode, most likely a fictional one, and try to get public opinion, including here in Turkey, in order to build an anti-Russian policy, is again a substitution of serious conversation, negotiations and actions of this kind with external effects. I have not heard about a specific case with deputies. I’ll make inquiries. I heard about E.V. Shevchenko, who disappeared not in Zaporozhye, but in Kiev.

I think that you have already been filmed and will be shown with pomp in your homeland. You have achieved your goal.

Question (translated from English): Now they are talking about the use of biological weapons during an attack. What can you say about this?

Sergey Lavrov: We are concerned about the information that has been revealed that the Pentagon has created several dozen military biological laboratories on Ukrainian territory as part of its program to create such facilities around the world in violation of the relevant Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons. We have sent an official request. We will demand explanations.

As for the fact that they have already used this weapon, I have no data. But there is practically no doubt that these were not peaceful experiments at all, but aimed at creating biological weapons, and ethnically oriented ones at that.

Question: The United States openly declares that its ambassadors have been instructed to persuade the governments of the countries of the world to join the sanctions against Russia. Have you given appropriate instructions to our ambassadors to convince them not to join?

S.V. Lavrov: In any situation, we orient our ambassadors in as much detail as possible about our position, facts related to a particular situation under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Ministry. Our ambassadors faithfully convey this information to the authorities of the host country so that they have an objective picture.

Running around the world and forcing sovereign, independent UN member states to fulfill the order of the “big brother” is not in our traditions. We are still polite people, as you know. The Americans do not hide that they demand from Turkey, India, Egypt, Southeast Asian countries and even from China to comply with US unilateral illegal sanctions. I could not imagine such disrespect for great countries and civilizations. But for Americans, any “lyko in a row”, everything will fit in order to bring their Russophobia to the apotheosis. We don’t do that kind of thing.

Question (translated from English): You said today that Russia is not invading Ukraine, but this is actually happening. You also said that you would not harm civilians, but thousands were injured, hospitals were attacked. Why should Ukrainians believe what you tell them and the whole world?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already said about hospitals and maternity hospitals, but you are not listening. This will never be shown, and no one from the Western media will say that we explained three days ago in the UN Security Council what happened to this maternity hospital.

As for the statements about who and what will do or who and what will not do, we wanted to resolve the issue diplomatically until the last moment. We presented a detailed document on our bilateral treaty with the United States and a draft Russia-NATO agreement on all key issues of European security, taking into account the security interests of all countries of the continent, including Ukraine, without exception. We were told that Ukraine is “theirs” and they and Ukraine will decide its fate as they want and will do. Many other things that we proposed, including preventing the creation of physical military threats to the Russian Federation “on the ground”, were also rejected. Russian President Vladimir Putin has clearly explained why he decided to conduct a special military operation. I hope that you (even if you are not allowed to tell your listeners, viewers about it) will be able to read our document yourself and understand our logic. It is explained there. We want a Ukraine that will be friendly, demilitarized, in which there will be no threat of creating another Nazi state, there will be no ban on the Russian language, culture, and the Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, all this has already been created, reflected in the legislation. All our exhortations over the past eight years after the coup d’etat, appeals to Western colleagues to bring the Ukrainian authorities to reason, ran into a blank wall of silence. The most obvious things with the Russian language. The law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language” was adopted, in which only the Ukrainian language was declared usable, and all other languages were infringed in one way or another, including from the point of view of teaching in primary schools and higher educational institutions. Not only we, but also Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania began to express dissatisfaction. Then the Ukrainian government acted simply. She made an exception to this discriminatory law for EU languages. Very elegant. Russian Russian remained, completely deprived of his rights, despite the fact that in the Constitution of Ukraine these rights are guaranteed for the Russian language. The West fell silent and calmed down. This once again showed that it is the West that needs Ukraine – that it constantly works against Russia, against everything Russian.

The attitude of the West towards the referendum in Crimea is also a policy of double standards. There was no referendum in Kosovo. NATO deliberately created the situation with its bombing in order to break up Yugoslavia. When independence was declared by the decision of the Kosovo legislature, the entire West (almost all of it) applauded and supported it as a manifestation of democracy and freedom of choice. Why can Albanians, but Russians can’t in Crimea? Albanians in Yugoslavia were not allowed to do this, they were strongly encouraged to move in this direction, because the long-standing goal of a country with a rich history like Great Britain was always to avoid too large states in the Balkans, and in general in Europe. We know this well. Probably, the same goal was pursued in relation to the Russian Federation.

We realized that now we are not talking about Ukraine at all, but about aggression against all Russian: interests, religion, culture, language, security, etc. The frenzied reaction of the West to our actions shows that there really is a life-and-death battle for Russia’s right to be on the political map of the world with full respect for its legitimate interests.

Question (translated from English): The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that there is no progress regarding the ceasefire. Have any results been achieved during the negotiations? What are your future plans?

S.V. Lavrov: We did not come here to replace the negotiation track on the Belarusian territory created by the President of Russia and the President of Ukraine. It is there that all practical issues are discussed. It was explained in detail what needs to be done in order to end this crisis. This includes demilitarization, denazification, ensuring the neutral status of Ukraine, and a number of other things. There’s a business conversation going on. We have warned our colleagues from the very beginning of today’s meeting that we will not create a parallel track here, as the Ukrainian side wants. They always prefer to replace specific work on the implementation of agreements with the creation of new formats, which must necessarily occupy the main place in the news, simulating real work.

I am not surprised that D.I. Kuleba said that it was not possible to agree on a ceasefire. No one was going to negotiate a ceasefire here. All these proposals and the sequence of steps outlined in these proposals are well known to the Ukrainian side.

If the purpose of the meeting was to ask questions: “let’s stop the fire,” “let’s build humanitarian corridors not as the Russian side suggests, but as the Ukrainian side wants,” then all this was done only to tell journalists that all our good aspirations have failed. This fits into the logic of Ukrainian diplomacy, which I have already mentioned. External effects designed for the immediate perception of the public and replacing real work.

Question (translated from English): My question concerns the US ban on the import of oil and gas from Russia. What is Russia’s oil policy towards Europe? How does Russia react to sanctions from various companies and countries?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already answered that we will solve this problem. Moreover, so that never again and in no way depend on Western partners, be they governments or companies that are not guided by the interests of their business, but act as an instrument of political aggression that Russia is currently experiencing from the West. Let’s make sure that we don’t find ourselves in such a situation anymore, and that no “Uncle Sam” or anyone else can make decisions aimed at destroying our economy. We’ll find a way not to depend on it anymore. It should have been done a long time ago.

About oil and gas. We leave it all to the discretion and conscience of our Western colleagues. We have never used oil and gas as a weapon, despite the fact that they regularly blame us. In 2010, there was the first crisis when the Ukrainian government began to steal transit gas for Europe, because it stopped paying for its own. We regularly supplied transit gas to Europe in full compliance with our obligations (this concerned volumes and prices), and they stole. Do you think Europe somehow tried to pacify them? Nothing like that. Europe began to say that Russia is using gas as a weapon. Although they knew perfectly well what was really going on. With regard to Ukraine, everything is measured by one criterion: how it is possible to harm the Russian Federation through this country. This containment of our country began even before it was officially announced. An interesting point that characterizes European values. They scold us with the last words, imposed sanctions, banned their companies from staying here. At the same time, they say that we will buy oil and gas, because otherwise they will be cold. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation A.V. Novak, who oversees the energy sector, told in detail that we will not persuade to buy our oil and gas. They will want to replace it with something, for God’s sake. We will have markets for sales. They are already there.

Question (translated from English): Does Russia have any “red lines” regarding countries that send military aid to Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already answered the question of whether we are going to react in any way to what the countries arming Ukraine are doing. We believe that these countries pose enormous threats to themselves, including when they transfer the most dangerous weapons, for example, portable anti-aircraft missile systems, and when they absolutely dispassionately observe how the Ukrainian authorities distribute small arms by the hundreds of thousands to no one, without any documents. We have never talked about any plans for NATO member countries. My new colleague, the British Foreign Minister, E. Truss, spoke about this. She said that if the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin does not lose in Ukraine, then there will be no limit to his ambitions, and the Baltic States and Moldova will be the next targets. We are not saying this, but E. Truss, who is famous for her aphorisms. When she predicts an attack on the Baltic States and Moldova, I think it is quite worthy of English culture, politics, diplomacy, because the British also wrote a fake testament of Peter I. Quite in their spirit.

Question: Today it becomes possible that it was impossible to imagine yesterday. Tell me, do you believe that a nuclear war can begin?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t want to believe it and I don’t believe it. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the nuclear topic in the context of the events that have unfolded in Ukraine in recent years has literally escalated in recent months and weeks, the nuclear topic has been thrown into this discourse exclusively by Western representatives, primarily from NATO. Let me remind you that the same E.Truss (we talk about her a lot today) stated that she does not rule out a conflict between NATO and Russia. How can such a thing come to mind? Secretary General Y.Stoltenberg (who, in my opinion, is already acting too independently, without coordinating his statements properly with all NATO members) said that if NATO wants, nuclear weapons will be deployed on the territory of the Eastern European members of the alliance. My French colleague J.-I. Le Drian reminded President Vladimir Putin that France also has nuclear weapons. By the way, French Economy Minister B. Le Maire proudly stated that the West is declaring total war on Russia (“total krieg”, as “not the French” used to say at the time). U.S. President J.Biden, when asked if there was any alternative to these “sanctions from hell,” said that the alternative was only World War III. They have it constantly pops up “in the subcortex”. We never talked about it. Of course, it is alarming when the West, as “according to Freud,” keeps coming back and returning to this topic.

Question: The President of Kazakhstan K.-Zh.Tokayev previously proposed Kazakhstan as a platform for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Is Russia considering this proposal and when are the next negotiations of the conflicting parties possible?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia is grateful to all those who, out of good intentions, offer services to help resolve the current grave internal Ukrainian crisis and who are ready to help find a solution, taking into account the concerns of all parties and on the basis of a balance of interests. The main thing is that these proposals (which, as I have already said, we are sure that our Turkish friends and Kazakh friends make them out of the kindest intentions) are not used by the Ukrainian side, which is used to replacing real actions to fulfill its obligations with external effects. I remember that they also wanted to move the Contact Group to Kazakhstan, when life was still glimmering in the Minsk agreements, they also offered a Turkish platform. I am sure that the unwillingness to do their job, which was generally agreed upon, was behind all this and is now hidden. But if there is added value, as President Vladimir Putin said, and as we have repeatedly reminded about it, Russia is ready for a variety of formats that should not be convened for a “talking room”.

Question (translated from English): Tell me, is Russia really serious about finding a negotiated solution to this situation? If so, what suggestions have you made, what progress have you been able to achieve?

How can you talk about diplomacy, cease-fire and negotiations when maternity hospitals are being attacked and so many civilians are suffering?

Sergey Lavrov: This is the third time I have been asked about the maternity hospital, which means that you have not heard what I said about this particular case, which your corporation and all other key Western media have made a headliner today. In this maternity hospital (we said this on March 7 this year at the UN Security Council) there have been no women, no children, no attendants for a long time. It was occupied by the soldiers of the Azov battalion, along with other radicals, and set up their stronghold there, as they do throughout Ukraine, turning people into human shields, placing shock equipment in residential quarters and from there firing at the positions of Russian troops and militia of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. As for our proposals made on December 15, 2021, they were extremely serious. These are proposals to build a security system, and not some new system, but to implement what has been agreed on more than once at the highest political level, including the OSCE summits in Istanbul in 1999 and in Astana in 2010, where it is written in black and white that each country has the right to choose for itself unions, but no one has the right to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. This formula was agreed upon in the complex. It was the pinnacle of diplomacy. It was a decision signed by the leaders of Russia and our neighbors, and (sorry for the indiscretion) of the free world. No state, group of countries, organization in the European space has the right to claim a dominant role, as NATO is doing now in gross violation of all the obligations of its member states. In response to our proposal to conclude an agreement between Russia and NATO, in which the principles I set out, taken from documents signed at the highest level, would be codified and legally binding, we received such “references” for half a page from Y.Stoltenberg and from J.Borrel, where it was said: don’t worry, we are ready to talk. The fact that we received answers not from the leadership of individual countries, but from the heads of NATO and the European Union means that both Britain and other Western leaders simply delegated all their powers to them and placed on them all responsibility for fulfilling or not fulfilling those sworn promises that are contained in the documents of the OSCE summits. That’s what your representatives, representatives of the West, have done with diplomacy.

We still want all issues to be solved by diplomacy. But this time we clearly explained that demilitarization, denazification of Ukraine is necessary. This cannot be delayed. The direct military, cultural, informational, linguistic, and civilizational threat created in this territory against the Russian Federation has acquired an absolutely distinct and urgent character. If we were dealing with decent people, honestly, probably everything would have already been decided, and agreements on security would have been reached. But we don’t see partners who are willing to do business with us honestly. Although such attempts were manifested. I hope that those Western leaders who are now animated about what is happening in Ukraine are aware of the existential threat to the entire European security caused by their complete inaction and unwillingness to fulfill previous agreements. We never wanted war and still don’t want war. We want to end this war, including, based on the interests of the two republics that refused in 2014 to accept an unconstitutional bloody coup, a regime that proudly, with a grin on its lips, watched its representatives burn people alive in Odessa, which sent warplanes to bomb the center of the city of Lugansk, and which bombarded, attacked, shelled residential neighborhoods, villages, schools, kindergartens for all these eight years. There is a lot of evidence for this. Because we, our journalists (honor and praise to them, I bow my head to everyone who gave their lives there) showed everything that was happening there 24/7. And Western journalists have hardly traveled to the contact line for all these eight years. They showed how well life actually lives on the other side. 70%, 80% of the destruction was concentrated on the side of the militia, which indicates who usually starts the shelling. Once representatives of your corporation, the BBC, went there for a couple of days and, I must say, made a fairly objective report. But for someone in the West to cover the topic of the aggression of the Ukrainian regime against its own people on a daily basis, against the sabotage of the Minsk agreements approved in the UN Security Council, direct statements about the refusal to implement this important document, I do not recall such a thing. If we take everything that you are writing about what is happening in Ukraine now and compare it with what and how you have been telling all these eight years, I think we will get a very instructive picture about freedom of speech, access to information and much more that is enshrined in decisions taken at the highest political level within the OSCE and that, as we see, is not fully respected by our Western colleagues.



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