Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya television network, Moscow.
Question: I would like to ask you about “strange” statements by European diplomats on the course of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Sergey Lavrov: This is a major shift in the policy of the EU and the entire West under the leadership of the US (there is no doubt about that) that occurred after the start of our special military operation. Our special military operation is designed to put an end to NATO’s unlimited expansion and to keep the US and other NATO countries from achieving total domination in the world arena.
They are building this system based on “rules” which they just now started going on about, despite violating international law in the crudest manner in the process. They devise these rules on a case-by-case basis. It is fine to recognise independence in Kosovo without a referendum but not in Crimea even after a referendum that was monitored by hundreds of unbiased foreigners.
A threat to US security was detected in Iraq (10 000 km away from the US). They bombed it but didn’t locate the threat and didn’t even apologise. They are cultivating neo-Nazis and ultra-radicals on our borders. The Pentagon is setting up dozens of laboratories conducting experiments to develop biological weapons. The documents found there leave no doubt about this.
President Vladimir Putin explained in detail the reasons for the decision on the special military operation. These include eight years of sabotage of the Minsk agreements accompanied by the daily bombing of Donbass; the flooding of Ukraine with Western weapons; and the sending of instructors that trained the most extremist units that were later sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
They formed the backbone of the groups that are now resisting our operation to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine. Russia, with its history and traditions, is one of those countries that will never accept a subordinate status. We can be members of the international community only on equal terms, on conditions of indivisible security. We wanted to reach some accommodation but were ignored by our Western colleagues.
Question: Is it possible to speak about a change in the positions of the sides at the Russia-Ukraine talks after the provocations in Bucha and Kramatorsk and considering the collective West, primarily the US, is doing all it can to prolong hostilities?
Sergey Lavrov: President of Russia Vladimir Putin emphasised more than once that we prefer talks. During the very first round of talks when Ukraine suggested contacts and we agreed to arrange them, President Vladimir Putin ordered a pause in the special military operation. When we realised that the Ukrainians were not going to reciprocate, we decided not to make any pauses for subsequent rounds of talks until the final agreement was reached and signed.
The provocations are outrageous. Our military personnel provided chronological arguments and videos made in Bucha.
It is revealing that they tried to keep Bucha going as a story for several weeks but quickly stopped talking about Kramatorsk. Evidence was presented on the same day, including ballistic trajectories, the absence of Tochka-U systems in our forces and the like. More provocations will follow.
Recently, the Defence Ministry and the National Defence Management Centre of Russia submitted intelligence data revealing the plans of the Ukrainian regime to stage new provocations with direct support of Western intelligence services, for instance, involving the use of toxic chemicals, mass executions and burials.