Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells China’s Xinhua News Agency Russia’s ‘Special Military Operation' will ‘definitely achieve all its goals
April 30, 2022
Question: What do you think is the essence of the Ukrainian crisis? What can the international community do to solve this problem?
Sergey Lavrov: When we talk about the Ukrainian crisis, we need to talk, first of all, about the long-term destructive line of Western states led by the United States, which after the end of the Cold War took a course of conjecting a unipolar world order. One of the key components of such actions was NATO's reckless expansion to the East. And this is despite the relevant 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 Russia's initiatives 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 threatening us in Ukraine and returning the Alliance's military infrastructure to configuration as of 1997, when the Fundamental Act on Relations between Russia and NATO was concluded
It is well known that the United States and NATO countries have always seen Ukraine as one of the tools to deter Russia. For many years, they actively fueled anti-Russian sentiments there, forced Kiev 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 unconstitutional coup d'état in Kiev in February 2014. Nationalists came to power in Ukraine, who immediately unleashed a massacre in Donbass, and in the rest of the country took a course to destroy all Russian. Let me remind you that it was because of this threat that the residents of Crimea voted for reunification with Russia in the same 2014 referendum.
Over the past years, the United States and its allies have done nothing to stop the intra-Ukrainian conflict. Instead of encouraging Kiev to a political settlement on the basis of the Minsk "Complex of Measures", they "pushed up" the Kiev regime with weapons, trained and armed the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions, in general carried out military and political development of the territory of Ukraine. They encouraged the aggressive anti-Russian course implemented by the Kiev authorities. In fact, they pushed Ukrainian nationalists to disrupt the negotiation process and solve the "Donbas problem" by force.
We were deeply concerned about the undeclared biological programs implemented with the support of the Pentagon in Ukraine in close proximity to the Russian borders. And, of course, we could not ignore the undisguised intentions of the Kiev leadership to acquire military nuclear capabilities, which would pose an unacceptable threat to Russia's national security.
In these circumstances, we had no choice but to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk 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 carries out its actions within the framework of fulfilling its obligations under bilateral treaties 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 definitely be achieved, despite the opposition of our opponents. Now we are witnessing the manifestation of classic "double standards" and hypocrisy of the Western establishment. Publicly expressing support for the Kiev regime, NATO countries are doing everything to prevent the completion of the operation by reaching political agreements. Various weapons are flowing to Ukraine through Poland and other NATO countries. All this is done under the pretext of "fighting the invasion", and, in fact, the United States and the European Union intend to fight Russia "until the last Ukrainian", and they are absolutely indifferent to the fate of Ukraine as an independent subject of international relations.
In order to meet its own geopolitical ambitions, the West is ready to jeopardize the energy and food security of entire regions of the world. Otherwise, how to explain the unrestrained flywheel of anti-Russian sanctions, which the Westerners launched with the beginning of the operation and which they do not think to stop?
If the U.S. and NATO are really interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, then, firstly, they must come to their senses and stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Kiev. The Ukrainian people need not 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 Donbass, and since the beginning of the special military operation, about 15 thousand tons of humanitarian aid have already been received for the part of Ukraine liberated from the Kiev regime, the DPR and LPR.
Secondly, it is necessary that Kiev stop cynical provocations, including in the information space. Ukrainian armed groups, using civilians as human shields, carry out barbaric shelling of cities, as it was in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. They bully Russian servicemen with animal cruelty, publishing their atrocities on the Internet. And at the same time, with the help of their Western patrons and Western-controlled global media, they accuse the Russian army of war crimes. They shift, as we say, responsibility for what is happening from a sore head to a healthy one.
It is high time for the West to stop unconditionally "boreaking" and covering Kiev. Otherwise, Washington, Brussels and other Western capitals should be aware of responsibility for complicity in the bloody crimes of Ukrainian nationalists.
Question: What measures has Russia taken to protect the lives and property of civilians and what efforts has it made to establish humanitarian corridors?
Sergey Lavrov: As I have already noted, a special military operation is going according to plan. Within its framework, Russian servicemen are doing everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties. Strikes are carried out with high-precision weapons, primarily on military infrastructure facilities and places where armored vehicles are concentrated. Unlike the Ukrainian army and nationalist armed groups that use the population as human shields, the Russian army provides all kinds of assistance and support to the local population.
Humanitarian corridors are opened daily in the Kharkiv and Mariupol directions to evacuate residents from dangerous areas, but the Kiev regime requires the "national battalions" controlling the relevant areas not to release civilians. Nevertheless, many people manage to get out with the assistance of servicemen of Russia, the DPR and LPR. During the CBO, the hotline of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response received appeals for assistance in the evacuation of 2.8 million people to Russia, of which 16 thousand were foreign citizens and employees of international missions of the UN and OSCE. In total, 1.02 million people were evacuated from Ukraine, DPR and LPR, of which more than 120 thousand citizens of third countries, including more than 300 citizens of China. More than 9.5 thousand temporary accommodation facilities equipped with all necessary points operate in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. They provide places for rest and hot meals. Qualified medical and psychological assistance is provided to arriving refugees.
Russia is taking measures to ensure civil navigation in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. A humanitarian corridor opens daily, which is a safe course of traffic. However, the Ukrainian side continues to block foreign ships, creating a threat of shelling them in its inland waters and territorial sea. Moreover, units of the Ukrainian Navy laid mines on the coast, in port waters and territorial waters. These explosive devices are detatachable from anchor cables and drifted on the high seas, which poses a serious danger to both marine fleets and port infrastructure of the Black Sea countries.
Question: Since the special military operation in Ukraine began, Western countries have adopted many unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. What impact do you think these sanctions will have on Russia? What are the main countermeasures your country has taken? There are reports that a "new cold war" has come - what is your opinion?
Sergey Lavrov: Indeed, a special operation to protect Donbass has become an occasion for the collective West to introduce massive restrictive measures against Russia, its legal entities and individuals. In the United States, Great Britain, Canada, the EU countries, the goals of "suffocating" our economy, undermining its competitiveness, blocking the further progressive development of the country are not hidden. 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 deterioration of economic dynamics in the United States and many European countries, including rising inflation and unemployment.
Obviously, this Russophobic line not only cannot be justified, 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 won't be able to weaken us. 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 respond accurately and adequately to the restrictions imposed, 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, deoffshorization, import substitution, strengthening technological independence. We will continue to adapt to external challenges, intensify programs for the development of promising and competitive industries.
During the period of continuing turbulence, our special economic measures necessary to ensure the normal functioning of the Russian economy will continue to operate and will expand. Russia, as a responsible participant in the world market, intends to continue to faithfully fulfill its obligations under international contracts in terms of exports of agricultural goods, fertilizers, energy and other critical products. We are deeply concerned about the possible food crisis provoked by anti-Russian sanctions, and are well aware of the importance of the supply of socially important 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 issue, 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 think they are "the executors of the destinies of mankind", to impose an American cenote model of the world order. It has come to the point that the Western minority is trying to replace the onocentric architecture and international law formed after World War II with its own "rule-based order". Washington and its allies write these rules themselves and then impose them on the international community as binding.
It should be understood that this destructive line of the United States has been carried out for decades. Suffice it to mention the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, the attack on Iraq, Libya, the attempt to destroy Syria, the "color revolutions" directed 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, Westerners are trying to suppress with the most brutal methods. And not only Russia. We see how "block thinking" is 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, worth? In the spirit of the archaic "Monroe Doctrine," the United States seeks to dictate how and by what standards to live Latin America. This explains Cuba's long-standing illegal trade embargo, sanctions against Venezuela, attempts to "rock" stability in Nicaragua and some other countries. This is the ongoing pressure on Belarus. This list can be continued.
It is obvious that the attempts of the "collective West" to hinder 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 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 liberating the world from the neocolonial oppression of the West, densely mixed with racism and the complex of exclusivity.
The sooner the West accepts new geopolitical realities, the better it will be for itself and for the entire international community.
As Chairman Xi Jinping emphasized at the Boao Forum, "We must defend the principle of indivisibility of security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture and counteract the construction of national security based on insecurity in other countries."
Question: The Russian-Ukrainian negotiations attracted great attention of the world community. What are the main obstacles to the negotiations at present? 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?
Sergey Lavrov: Currently, the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are actually discussing the draft possible contract on a daily basis via videoconference. This document should record such elements of the post-conflict situation as permanent neutrality, non-nuclear, non-align and demilitarized status of Ukraine, as well as guarantees of its security. The agenda of the negotiations also includes issues of denacification, recognition of new geopolitical realities, lifting of sanctions, the status of the Russian language and others. The settlement of the situation in Ukraine will make a significant contribution to the de-escalation of military and political tensions in Europe, and in the world as a whole. One possible option is to create an institution of guarantor states, including, first of all, permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia and China. We share information with Chinese diplomats about the progress of negotiations. We are grateful to Beijing, as well as other BRICS partners, for their balanced position on the Ukrainian issue.
We support the continuation of negotiations, although they are not easy.
You rightly ask what prevents them. For example, these are bellicose rhetoric and inflammatory actions of the Western patrons of Kiev. They actually encourage him to "feat to the last Ukrainian," pumping up the country with weapons and sending mercenaries there. I would like to note that the Ukrainian intelligence services staged a gross bloody provocation in Bucha with the help of Westerners, including to complicate the negotiation process.
I am convinced that it will be possible to reach agreements only when Kiev 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 inclusive cultural, spiritual, economic, and simply family ties between Russians and Ukrainians. We will definitely restore these ties.