Lavrov in Russia: “Special operation” in Ukraine to protect Donetsk, representative of Luhansk



Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in what it calls a “special military operation”, is aimed at protecting the two self-proclaimed Russian-backed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Russian minister said on Friday. of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov in an interview with Al Arabiya.

“The purpose of our operation, it was openly announced, is to protect these two republics and to ensure that no threat will ever emanate from Ukrainian territory for the safety of these people and for the safety of the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said.

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He claimed that Russia was aiming to protect the two republics because they “have suffered attacks from the Ukrainian regime for eight long, long years. When the coup happened in 2014 they said they wanted nothing to do with these people who came to power illegally and they said ‘leave us alone, we want to understand what happens”, they never attacked the rest of Ukraine.

The far-right coup in Kyiv in 2014 overthrew then pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and is key to understanding the war in Ukraine. The coup was openly supported by American and European powers, which led to even greater tension in relations between Ukraine and Russia.

“They were declared terrorists, an anti-terrorist operation was launched by the chief butcher who came to power by force by illegal means and during the eight long years they fell victim to Ukrainian aggression, killing around 13,000 or 14,000 civilians, destroying civilian infrastructure and many, many other crimes were committed by the Ukrainian regime against them,” he told Al Arabiya.

Lavrov added that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a “response to what NATO was doing in Ukraine to prepare that country for a very aggressive stance against the Russian Federation.”

“They have received offensive weapons, including weapons that can reach Russian territory, military bases have been built, including on the Sea of ​​Azov, and several dozen military exercises, many of them on Ukrainian territory, have were conducted under the auspices of NATO and most of these exercises were designed against the interests of the Russian Federation, so the purpose of this operation is to ensure that these plans do not materialize.

“NATO considers that it is at war with Russia”

The foreign minister said that Russia does not consider itself to be at war with NATO, but NATO does.

“Unfortunately, NATO, it seems, considers itself at war with Russia. NATO and European Union leaders, many of them in England, the United States, Poland, France, Germany and of course the European Union’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, say without detour, publicly and consistently: ‘Putin must fail, Russia must be defeated.’ When you use this terminology, I believe you think you are at war with the person you want to defeat.

He added that Russia knows the routes used to supply Ukraine with weapons, saying that “as soon as these weapons reach Ukrainian territory, they are fair game for our special operation”.

Russia, NATO disagreements

Lavrov said Russia had put forward many proposals to end the invasion of Ukraine but was unable to reach an agreement with them.

“During all these years, we have launched draft treaties, draft agreements with NATO, with countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and, most recently, in December last year , we have proposed another initiative to the United States and NATO to conclude treaties with the two of them on security guarantees to all countries of the Euro-Atlantic space without joining any military alliance”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Every time we initiated these steps, they were basically dismissed with more or less polite demeanor. In 2009 we proposed the European Security Treaty which NATO refused to consider and the treaty was in fact intended to codify something to which all OSCE countries have subscribed at the highest level.

Russia had suggested that political commitments to give countries the right to choose their alliances and not to strengthen their security at the expense of another country’s security, meaning that “no organization in Europe can claim to be a dominant player in this geographical area”. -political space.

Lavrov said NATO responded to Russia by saying there would be no legally binding security guarantees outside of NATO, which he said makes the OSCE, which has been signed by several leaders across the continent, “a simple speech”.

He added that Russia’s last attempt was in December 2021, before its invasion of Ukraine, where it again offered to ‘stop creating tension’ in response to ‘the growing tension and confrontation’. over the years.

This was, according to Lavrov, rejected by NATO because it did not want to sacrifice its “open door policy”, which “does not exist in the Washington treaty”, and used as a “cover to promote the plans NATO expansionists”.

“NATO, despite its promises and the promises of its leaders, was getting closer and closer to the Russian border and they were telling us, ‘Don’t be afraid, we are a defensive alliance and we will pose no threat to your security.’ ”

He noted that NATO was indeed a defensive alliance when there was a Berlin Wall and a “geopolitical wall between NATO and the Warsaw Treaty” drafted in 1949 after World War II.

“When the Warsaw Treaty disappeared, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, NATO decided that the line of defense should be moved to the east and they moved this line of defense five times,” he said. said Lavrov.

“British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss once said that NATO needs to be a global player so we can listen to the defensive nature of this alliance so many times, but that’s a lie.”

Ukraine would have obliterated Russia

Lavrov accused Kyiv of “cancelling everything Russian”, including “the language, education, media and daily use of the Russian language have become an administrative offense”.

“So when the Ukrainian regime intensified at the end of last year and the beginning of this year the bombardment of the eastern territories of the country in the Donbass, in the worst violations of the Minsk agreements which were signed in February 2015 and approved by the Security Council resolution, when they targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure, schools, hospitals, kindergartens, we had no other choice.

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