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Ukrainians need urgent humanitarian help, not Stinger and Javelin missiles: Russian Foreign Minister

Russia says that despite the anti-Russian course of the current leadership, it is interested in a peaceful, free, neutral, prosperous and friendly Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in an interview to China's Xinhua News Agency on Saturday, said that as many as 1.02 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine since Moscow began its 'special military operation' on February 24.  

Following is the text of the interview released by the Russian Foreign Ministry today: 

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

Lavrov: When we talk about the Ukrainian crisis, we must first of all talk about the long-term destructive line of the Western states led by the United States, which, after the end of the Cold War, took a course towards putting together a unipolar world order. One of the key components of such actions was the reckless expansion of NATO to the East. And this is despite the appropriate political obligations given to the Soviet leadership on the non-expansion of the Alliance. As you know, these promises remained empty words. All these years, NATO infrastructure has moved closer and closer to the Russian borders.

Westerners have never been embarrassed by the fact that by their actions they grossly violate their international obligations not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. In particular, Washington and Brussels arrogantly rejected the initiatives put forward by Russia in December last year to provide our country with security guarantees in the western direction. It was about stopping the process of NATO expansion, refusing to deploy weapons that threaten us in Ukraine and returning the military infrastructure of the Alliance to the configuration as of 1997, when the Founding Act on Relations between Russia and NATO was signed.

It is well known that the United States and NATO countries have always considered Ukraine as one of the tools to contain Russia. Over the years, they actively fueled anti-Russian sentiment there, forcing Kyiv to make an artificial, false choice: either with the West or with Moscow.

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

Over the past years, the United States and its allies have done nothing to stop the intra-Ukrainian conflict. Instead of inciting Kyiv to a political settlement on the basis of the Minsk "Package of Measures", they "pumped up" the Kyiv regime with weapons, trained and armed the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions, and generally carried out the military-political development of the territory of Ukraine. They encouraged the aggressive anti-Russian course pursued by the Kyiv authorities. In fact, they pushed the Ukrainian nationalists to disrupt the negotiation process and forcefully resolve the “Donbass problem”.

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

Under these conditions, we had no other choice but to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics and launch a special military operation aimed at protecting people from genocide by neo-Nazis, demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. I want to emphasize that Russia is carrying out its actions within the framework of fulfilling obligations under bilateral agreements on cooperation and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, at the official requests of Donetsk and Lugansk on the basis of Article 51 of the UN Charter on the right to self-defense.

The special military operation launched on February 24 is developing strictly according to plan. All its goals will be surely achieved, despite the opposition of our opponents. Now we are witnessing the manifestation of the classic "double standards" and hypocrisy of the Western establishment. By publicly expressing support for the Kyiv regime, NATO countries are doing everything to prevent the completion of the operation by reaching political agreements. Various weapons are sent to Ukraine through Poland and other NATO countries in an endless stream. All this is done under the pretext of “fighting the invasion”, but, in fact, the US and the EU intend to fight Russia “to the last Ukrainian”, and they are absolutely indifferent to the fate of Ukraine as an independent subject of international relations.

For the sake of satisfying its own geopolitical ambitions, the West is ready to jeopardize the energy and food security of entire regions of the world. How else to explain the unrestrained flywheel of anti-Russian sanctions, which was launched by the Westerners with the start of the operation and which they do not think of stopping?

If the United States and NATO are really interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, then, firstly, they should change their minds and stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Kyiv. The Ukrainian people do not need Stingers and Javelins, but urgent humanitarian issues. Russia has been doing this since 2014. During this time, tens of thousands of tons of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to the Donbass, and since the beginning of the special military operation, about 15 thousand tons of humanitarian aid have already arrived in the part of Ukraine liberated from the Kyiv regime, the DPR and the LPR.

Secondly, it is necessary that Kyiv stop cynical provocations, including in the information space. Ukrainian armed formations, using civilians as a "human shield", carry out barbaric shelling of cities, as was the case in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. Detained Russian servicemen are being abused with animal cruelty, publishing their atrocities on the Internet. And at the same time, with the help of their Western patrons and the global media controlled by Westerners, they accuse the Russian army of war crimes. They shift, as we say, the responsibility for what is happening from a sick head to a healthy one.

It is high time for the West to stop unconditionally “whitewashing” and covering Kyiv. Otherwise, Washington, Brussels and other Western capitals should be aware of the responsibility for complicity in the bloody crimes of Ukrainian nationalists.

Question: What measures did Russia take to protect the life and property of civilians and what efforts did it make to establish humanitarian corridors?

Lavrov: As I have already noted, the special military operation is proceeding according to plan. Within its framework, Russian military personnel are doing everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties. The strikes are carried out with high-precision weapons, first of all, at military infrastructure facilities and places where armored vehicles are concentrated. Unlike the Ukrainian army and nationalist armed groups that use the population as a "human shield", the Russian army provides the local population with all kinds of assistance and support.

Every day, humanitarian corridors are opened in the Kharkiv and Mariupol directions to evacuate residents from dangerous areas, but the Kyiv regime requires the “national battalions” that control the respective areas not to let civilians out. Nevertheless, many manage to get out with the assistance of the military personnel of Russia, the DPR and the LPR. During the NWO, the hotline of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response received requests for assistance in evacuating 2.8 million people to Russia, of which 16,000 are foreign citizens and employees of UN and OSCE international missions. In total, 1.02 million people were evacuated from Ukraine, the DPR and the LPR, of which over 120 thousand citizens of third countries, incl. over 300 Chinese citizens. More than 9.5 thousand equipped with all the necessary points of temporary accommodation. They provide seating and hot meals. Arriving refugees are provided with qualified medical and psychological assistance.

Russia is taking measures to ensure civil navigation in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas. A humanitarian corridor is opened daily, which is a safe lane for ships. However, the Ukrainian side continues to block foreign ships, creating a threat of shelling in its internal waters and territorial sea. Moreover, units of the naval forces of Ukraine laid mines on the coast, in the waters of ports and territorial waters. These explosive devices detach from the anchor lines and drift into the open sea, which is why they pose a serious danger to both the navies and the port infrastructure of the Black Sea countries.

Question: Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, Western countries have adopted many unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. What impact do you think these sanctions will have on Russia? What main countermeasures has your country taken? There are reports that a "new cold war" has begun – what is your opinion?

Lavrov: Indeed, the special operation to defend Donbass has become a pretext for the collective West to introduce massive restrictive measures against Russia, its legal entities and individuals. In the USA, Great Britain, Canada, the EU countries, they do not hide the goal of "stifling" our economy, undermining its competitiveness, and blocking the country's further progressive development. At the same time, the ruling circles of the West are not embarrassed that anti-Russian sanctions are already beginning to harm ordinary citizens of their own states. I am referring to the worsening economic dynamics in the US and many European countries, including rising inflation and unemployment.

It is obvious that this Russophobic line not only cannot be justified in any way, but also has no prospects. As President Vladimir Putin noted, Russia withstood this unprecedented pressure. Now the situation is stabilizing, although, of course, not all risks have already passed.

In any case, we will not be weakened. I am confident that we will reconfigure the economy and protect ourselves from possible illegitimate hostile actions of opponents in the future. We will continue to properly and adequately respond to the imposed restrictions, guided by the tasks of maintaining the stability of the Russian economy, its financial system, as well as the interests of domestic business and the entire population. We will focus our efforts on work on de-dollarization, de-offshorization, import substitution, and strengthening of technological independence. We will continue to adapt to external challenges and intensify development programs for promising and competitive industries.

During the period of ongoing turbulence, our response special economic measures necessary to ensure the normal functioning of the Russian economy will continue to operate and will be expanded. Russia, as a responsible participant in the world market, intends to continue to conscientiously fulfill its obligations under international contracts in terms of export deliveries of agricultural products, fertilizers, energy carriers and other critical products. We are deeply concerned about a possible food crisis provoked by anti-Russian sanctions, and we are well aware of the importance of the supply of socially significant goods, including food, for the socio-economic development of the states of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

As for the second part of the question, I will be brief. Today we are not talking about a new "cold war", but, as I have already noted, about the persistent desire of Washington and its satellites, who imagine themselves to be "arbiters of the fate of mankind", to impose an American-centric model of the world order. It has gotten to the point that the Western minority is trying to replace the UN-centric architecture and international law formed after the Second World War with their own “rule-based order”. These rules are written by Washington and its allies themselves and then imposed on the international community as binding.

It must be understood that the United States has been pursuing this destructive line for more than a decade. Suffice it to mention the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, the attack on Iraq, Libya, the attempt to destroy Syria, the "color revolutions" orchestrated in Western capitals in a number of countries, including Ukraine. All this cost hundreds of thousands of lives, led to chaos in various regions of the planet.

Those who pursue an independent course in domestic and foreign policy, the Westerners are trying to suppress by the most brutal methods. And not only Russia. We see how “bloc thinking” is being imposed in the Asia-Pacific region. What is the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy promoted by the United States, which has a pronounced anti-Chinese orientation. In the spirit of the archaic Monroe Doctrine, the US seeks to dictate how and by what standards Latin America should live. This explains Cuba's many years of illegal trade embargo, sanctions against Venezuela, attempts to "rock" stability in Nicaragua and some other countries. In this vein, and the ongoing pressure on Belarus. This list can be continued.


Obviously, the attempts of the "collective West" to impede the natural course of history, to solve their problems at the expense of others, are doomed. Today's world has several decision-making centers, it is multipolar. We see how the states of Asia, Africa and Latin America are developing dynamically. Everyone has a real freedom of choice, including ways of development and participation in integration projects. Our special military operation in Ukraine also contributes to the process of freeing the world from the neo-colonial oppression of the West, heavily mixed with racism and an exclusiveness complex.

The sooner the West comes to terms with the new geopolitical realities, the better it will be for itself and for the entire international community.

Question: The Russian-Ukrainian talks have attracted great attention from the world community. What are the main obstacles to negotiations at the present time? How do you see the prospect of a peace treaty between the two sides? What bilateral relations does Russia intend to establish with Ukraine in the future?

S.V. Lavrov: At present, the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are actually discussing a draft of a possible treaty via videoconferencing on a daily basis. This document should fix such elements of the post-conflict state of affairs as permanent neutrality, non-nuclear, non-bloc and demilitarized status of Ukraine, as well as guarantees of its security. The agenda of the talks also includes issues of denazification, recognition of new geopolitical realities, the lifting of sanctions, the status of the Russian language, and others. The settlement of the situation in Ukraine will make it possible to make a significant contribution to the de-escalation of military-political tension in Europe, and in the world as a whole. As one of the possible options, the creation of an institution of guarantor states is envisaged, among which, first of all, are the permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia and China. We share with Chinese diplomats information about the progress of the negotiations. We are grateful to Beijing, as well as to other BRICS partners, for their balanced position on the Ukrainian issue.

We are in favor of continuing the negotiations, although they are not going well.

You rightly ask about what hinders them. For example, these are militant rhetoric and inflammatory actions of Kyiv's Western backers. They actually encourage him to “fight to the last Ukrainian”, pumping up the country with weapons and sending mercenaries there. I note that the Ukrainian special services, with the help of Westerners, staged a crude bloody provocation in Bucha, including to complicate the negotiation process.

I am convinced that it will be possible to reach agreements only when Kyiv begins to be guided by the interests of the Ukrainian people, and not "advisers from afar."

As for Russian-Ukrainian relations, Russia is interested in a peaceful, free, neutral, prosperous and friendly Ukraine. Despite the anti-Russian course of the current leadership, we remember the centuries-old history of all-encompassing cultural, spiritual, economic, and simply family ties between Russians and Ukrainians. We will definitely restore these bonds.

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