Sergei goes to town

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. Their current policy is rooted in bitterness and derangement (excuse the non-diplomatic word choice), though it’s not all about Ukraine but rather turning that country into a bridgehead from which Russia can finally be subjugated and subordinated to the global system built by the West even though the Cold War ended and the USSR and Warsaw Treaty disappeared. The West was moving closer to our borders all the time despite its promises not to expand NATO, statements to the effect that we were no longer adversaries and many other things. 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. But we are not allowed to respond to a threat on our borders, as opposed to across the ocean. That’s the message.

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.

Western propaganda immediately used all this to portray Russia as pure evil and themselves, consequently, as purely good. The current Ukrainian regime is described as a model of democracy, justice, freedom.

Ukrainian soldiers sit atop an APC near Urzuf, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Ukraine put its military forces on high combat alert and announced martial law this week after Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.

European aspirations in all things, including the values that Europehas supposedly always preached. The response that followed shows that they understand very well that Ukraineisn’t really the point. The point is their own dominance, which far from all countries are willing to accept.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.

But what Mr Borrell said – even by the standards of the unprecedented, aggressive level things have reached – marks a serious change in the rules of the game. Until now the EU has never acted as a military organisation. Yes, now they are discussing their “strategic compass.” For the first time in history, Germany allocated an additional 100 billion euros to exercise its military muscles, which represents a qualitative change. This “strategic compass” includes a tangible increase in military spending and the formation of a certain collective structure for defence against potential aggressors. But the upshot of all this independence is zero because the United States is controlling everything that is being done. The EU has not been given any independent role, even internally. Its efforts are being skillfully controlled by the Baltic states, Denmark and Poland, which will not allow any kind of separation between the EU and NATO. Quite the contrary, they will be pushing it back into NATO’s web.”

Sergey Lavrov: “So it seems. Whenever the chief diplomat of a country or an organisation (in this case, head of EU diplomacy Joseph Borrell) says that a particular conflict can be resolved exclusively by military means, that is how such a statement is construed. This means that either he has a personal grudge, or it was a slip of the tongue, or he got ahead of his orders. This statement is out of line. We will cover this in more detail in our official documents. I hope we will be able to analyse all this within the next couple of days.

You also mentioned Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whom I know well back from his days as Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is now the President of Germany. In an interview that he gave several days ago, he was asked whether an international tribunal was needed to try representatives of the Russian leadership, starting with President Vladimir Putin and the Foreign Minister, as war criminals. He agreed, saying that everyone who is responsible for the military operation and the political decisions should be held accountable. I leave this to his conscience. I think that the facts will become known in Germany, and the perpetrators of war crimes will become known. This will be determined not on the basis of fakes (such as Bucha or Kramatorsk), but on the basis of the deadly evidence that we present, and that our military discover during the special military operation and on the basis of the testimony of the people who have lived in the divided Donbass under the yoke of these neo-Nazis for many years, cut off from their sons who stayed on the eastern side of the line of contact. As these people are being liberated now, it is impossible to fake the feelings that they have or to make up the hardships they went through living under the control of neo-Nazi and other “territorial” battalions.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier gestures as he addresses the media at Bellevue Castle in Berlin, Germany May 28, 2021.

Steinmeier said another interesting thing about Ukraine. He said that, as a diplomat, he had never dedicated as much time to any other country as he did to Ukraine. He recalled that when Germany chaired the EU in 2007, he was the one to initiate the talks on preparing an Association Agreement with the EU. In 2013, when the riot began on the Maidan, he brokered the talks between Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition. That’s how it was, indeed. Importantly, a half-truth is worse than a lie. In fact, Mr Steinmeier left out some important episodes and turning points in the events that he mentioned. First, the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU provided for the transition to zero tariffs for the vast majority of goods. By the time this Agreement had already been in the works in 2013, we reminded our Ukrainian colleagues that we also have a free trade area with them as part of the CIS. We introduced significant protections against European goods when we joined the WTO. So, if they have zero tariffs with Europe, and we have long had zero tariffs for most goods with Ukraine, then goods from the EU will pour into our country freely contrary to the agreements that we reached when joining the WTO. We told them we need to sit down and decide on this issue so that we are not impacted by their relations with the EU. However, the EU, which (as Steinmeier says) started the talks on the Association Agreement on his initiative, told us that this was not our business and that they would reach an agreement with Ukraine as they see fit. After that, Yanukovych realised that this would be a problem and Russia would be forced to build a barrier on the border with Ukraine against Ukrainian-made goods. The President of Ukraine asked to postpone the signing for several months so that we could resolve these problems taking into account the interests of Ukraine, Russia and the EU.

Steinmeier forgot to say he had signed this agreement as a guarantor alongside the foreign ministers of Poland and France. The next morning, they spat on his signature. The opposition tore up the agreement and, from day one, advocated the abolition of the special status of the Russian language (contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine), called for Russians to “get out” of Crimea, sent “friendship trains” there with armed thugs

It was after this that Europe, which Mr Steinmeier was so proud of when he said that Ukraine aspired to European values, provoked the Maidan. They rallied the people under the banner of fighting Yanukovych who allegedly wasn’t letting Ukraine join the EU.

Mr Steinmeier did not mention that he did not just broker the talks between Yanukovych and the opposition, but also took part in concluding them by signing a settlement agreement. On behalf of Germany and the EU, athe Constitution of Ukraine), called for Russians to “get out” of Crimea, sent “friendship trains” there with armed thugs who wanted to storm the Supreme Soviet. After that there was a referendum. Eastern Ukraine completely refused to recognise the coup. They did not attack anyone, but they were declared terrorists and an anti-terrorist operation was announced.

Mr Steinmeier forgot to say that Germany, France, Poland and the entire European Union showed total helplessness and lack of self-respect. Their signatures were trampled on. Tacitly, they even began to encourage this whole thing when they realised that the thugs who came to power would help the West in every possible way and manipulate it. They remained silent when these people burned dozens of innocent people in Odessa’s House of Trade Unions and when, on June 2, 2014, Ukrainian Air Force bombed central Lugansk. They just remained silent. Later, during the attempts to resolve the situation months and years later, we asked them how they allowed a coup to happen. They told us it was “not quite a coup.” Then what? “The costs of the democratic process.” How can you say that with a straight face?

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