Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an interview to Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily’s multilingual news and information resource Russia Beyond The Headlines for the Spanish El Pais daily
September 17. NATO actually pushes Kiev for a forcible solution to the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily’s multilingual news and information resource Russia Beyond The Headlines for Spanish daily El Pais.
“Today Ukraine faces the choice - to go on the path of peace and constructive dialogue in the society or slide into authoritarianism and nationalist radical dictatorship,” Lavrov said, noting that “This is up to Kiev and Ukrainian society to decide.”
Moscow is convinced that a real chance appeared to stop a fratricidal war in Ukraine. “For this along with keeping the ceasefire in force it is needed to begin a substantial, open and inclusive dialogue involving representatives of all regions and all political forces as quickly as possible. It's necessary to discuss the scope of issues concerning constitutional system, the future of the country in general where all nationalities, minorities and regions where human rights would be fully observed in all their variety would live comfortably and safely,” the minister noted.
To prevent the situation in Ukraine from further escalation Sergey Lavrov finds it extremely important that “all foreign players without exclusion will show moderateness.” “This cannot unfortunately be said about actions of several Western partners who instead of serious analysis of quite difficult socio-political processes in that country prefer groundlessly to shoulder all responsibility for current events on Russia,” Lavrov said.
He noted NATO’s destructive role during the whole domestic Ukrainian crisis. “In particular, the alliance has taken a course for building up Ukrainian military potential, known to be used against civilians. NATO leadership supports intentions of its member-states to increase the supplies of special and military equipment to Ukraine which may use them for domestic reprisals. So, Kiev is actually pushed to a forcible solution to the conflict,” the Russian top diplomat said.
“The essence and tonality of the NATO summit in Britain over the situation in Ukraine along with declared plans to hold joint military exercises of NATO states and Kiev on the territory of that country before the end of this year do not obviously promote peace process and only deepen a split in Ukrainian society,” he noted.
However, Russia is ready “to cooperate with Western partners to settle the crisis in Ukraine.” “We hope that the United States and the European Union will use their influence to encourage Ukrainian authorities to attain peace,” Sergey Lavrov said.
Sanctions against Russia and the voice of reason
“We have repeatedly assessed the practice of sanctions in general,” the minister said. “We believe the attempts to influence crisis situations by taking unilateral measures, going beyond the framework of the UN Security Council decisions, run counter to the norms and principles of international law, threaten international peace and stability. Also, such measures are double-edged and often more dangerous to their initiators rather than to those against whom they are targeted. It is obvious that the continuation of the sanction pressure on Russia will not help settle the internal Ukrainian crisis, but will only aggravate the standoff and compliance the dialogue.”
“We regard the new EU sanctions package against our country that took effect on September 12, as Brussels’ totally unrealistic response to the results of the Minsk meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement,” Lavrov said. “Being in the political “mirror-world”, the European Union in fact gives a signal of direct support to the “party of war” in Kiev that is not interested in implementing the Minsk protocol provisions and transferring the situation to the peaceful course.”
Sergey Lavrov urged the European Union on Wednesday to show "common sense" that he said should prevail over the “hawkish” mood amid the Ukrainian conflict.
“The destructive line of European partners amid the internal Ukrainian crisis, the use of double standards in the assessment of the situation in Ukraine, ungrounded attempts to shift responsibility to us for the tragedy there and attempts of pressuring us with sanctions seriously undermine the trust towards Europe,” Lavrov said in the interview.
While stating that at the moment Russia’s relations with the EU are undergoing a “serious test,” Lavrov said that the “point of no return” has not yet been reached. “We hope that the ‘safety net’ that we have been creating for years will prove to be strong enough to enable us to return to the pre-conflict status quo and move further,” he said.
Lavrov stressed that there is no alternative to the mutually beneficial partnership between Russia and the European Union. “By ignoring this reality, we will inevitably face crises like the one in Ukraine again and again, and this does not correspond to the long-term interests of ensuring stability and prosperity of the continent,” he said.
Accusations of Russian military interference in Ukraine — information war
Sergey Lavrov also said accusations of Russian military interference in Ukraine make part of information war.
“We take such statements as manifestations of information war. Accusations of Russian military interference in the conflict are made not for the first time, as from the very beginning of the crisis we have been blamed almost for everything. Meanwhile, no facts were produced to us at all,” the minister said.
“Absence of evidence, deliberate silencing and distortion of the truth is a typical trait of the position taken by the United States and several European countries,” he said, adding that “This also concerns allegations about movement of our troops and the investigation of the Malaysian Boeing airliner, tragedies on Maidan [central Kiev’s Independence Square] or the city of Odessa [the Ukrainian Black Sea port city] and many other situations.