UNITED NATIONS, April 26. /TASS/.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has branded as schizophrenic the West’s statements that talks between Russia and Ukraine will be possible only after Kiev’s counteroffensive at a news conference in New York.
The minister said that Moscow declared all its goals during the special military operation, but would like to learn what the West is up to in Ukraine. He also urged those who theorize about the possibility of a Third World War to show responsibility and constraint. Among other things, the minister also spoke about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s possible response to a letter by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Below are Lavrov’s main remarks, made at a news conference to sum up the results of his visit to the United States within the framework of Russia’s presidency in the UN Security Council.
Situation in Ukraine
“Now, this funny theory has emerged: let us we (Western nations – TASS) ensure Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive and then we will ask Ukraine, [President Vladimir] Zelensky to begin talks. But this is schizophrenic logic. We don’t want any threats to our security to come from Ukrainian territory and these threats have been accumulating there for years, especially after the coup in February 2014.”
Speaking about whether achieving peace in Ukraine is possible this year, he said: “Hopes and expectations are not what I’m paid for.”
Russia declared all its goals during the special military operation, but would like to learn what the West is up to in Ukraine, and “would also like to hear from our Western colleagues, as a reciprocal move, what goals they are pursuing there.”
Third World War rhetoric
In Lavrov’s opinion, the West’s talk about a possible Third World War “substitutes for a normal professional conversation between responsible politicians.”
Claims that, if Ukraine is defeated, it would be impossible to avoid a Third World War, are irresponsible: “I hope in general that those who make them [the statements] keep a cool head and act responsibly.”
Grain deal and Guterres’ letter
The response to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the grain deal “will come once the addressee is made aware of it.”
“If this paper is made public, it would not be very decent. It would indicate another attempt at exerting pressure on the situation that is not being resolved and that has been driven to a dead end by our Western colleagues,” he said.
Guterres is paying efforts to unblock Russia’s agricultural exports, but those efforts have produced “practically no result <…> unless you regard the hope beginning to appear that instead of normal supplies of necessary products to global markets it will be necessary to beg US, European ports, banks and other structures, insurance companies each time to show good will, as a result.”
Issues of extending or broadening the grain deal are not being discussed between Russia and China, since the two states have “a common border <…> with established channels for exports and imports.”
Depleted uranium rounds
The UK needs to understand its responsibility for providing Ukrainian forces with depleted-uranium projectiles because there are people that fell prey to the consequences of strikes by such shells, Lavrov said.
“No matter what they say that it’s not radioactive and is not on the IAEA lists. There are facts and interviews with people that suffered [from the consequences of strikes with such shells] in the former Yugoslavia (during NATO bombings in 1999 – TASS). They were shown on television channels worldwide. So, [the UK] needs to understand its responsibility.”
US visas for Russian journalists
Russia will take the situation with non-issuance of US visas to Russian journalists into account: “We will certainly keep in mind this disreputable behavior on the part of the US government <…> and will take it into account when the Americans request something from us.”
Russian-US prisoner exchanges
At present, around 60 Russian citizens are incarcerated in US jails, and “in the majority of cases, the charges against them are very questionable.”
Lavrov himself is not taking part in Russian-US negotiations on swapping detainees.
After a meeting in Geneva in 2021, the United States and Russia set up a special communication channel to discuss issues of “detained Russian citizens in the US and detained US citizens in the Russian Federation,” he recalled. The channel, however, “did not envisage bringing this or that issue into the public spotlight with the purpose of putting pressure on serious, professional negotiations that are under way.”
European Union’s ‘geopolitical game’
Ukraine’s urgent accession into the European Union would expose the organization’s true goals, the Russian foreign minister said. It “would prove that its membership is not about meeting some kind of criteria, that it is a purely geopolitical game of grabbing as many territories as possible that are unclaimed or about to become unclaimed.”
Meanwhile, the European Union “is militarizing on the double and is turning into an aggressive entity dead set on containing Russia.” This affects, among other things, the union’s admission policies: “This is what the European Union is like now: if you are conducting anti-Russian policies, your chances [of membership] are very good.”
In Lavrov’s words, “sanctions against Russia are indeed such that no one has ever seen and could hardly imagine, but for us this question has been resolved. We are well-placed for not depending on such behavior of Western colleagues that have proved the lack of deal-making skills.”
“Preparations are underway for a new round of the war for global domination, or rather a war for attempting to maintain global hegemony. It may probably slow down the natural process of the formation of multipolar world order, but not for long.”
“The shift to settlements in national currencies bypassing the dollar, the euro and the yuan, to digital currencies can no longer be stopped, and the future of the international financial system, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, remains to be seen,” he said. “”The Americans themselves started the de-dollarization process.”
“NATO wanted to tear Russia apart but wound up bringing it together instead.”
Events in Sudan
“Geopolitical engineering will do no good. And I would recommend drawing the following conclusions from the current crisis in Sudan: let us allow African nations to sort it out among themselves.”
“We assume that the Taliban is a reality. Talks with them on the ground are necessary.”
Moscow “will not recognize the Taliban government (outlawed in Russia) de-jure unless it fulfills its internationally recognized obligations,” namely “inclusivity of governing bodies, not just in the ethnic sense, but also in the political one” and ensures “basic human rights <…> including the rights of girls and women.”
Iranian nuclear deal
“It appears to me that it would be a huge mistake to skip the chance of resuming this deal. <…> At this stage, the resumption of the deal does not depend on Iran, or Russia, or China. The ones who destroyed it must now bring it back to life.”
Biden’s decision to seek re-election
Lavrov declined to comment on US President Joe Biden’s decision to run for a second presidential term: “The Russian government does not interfere in the affairs of other states.”
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