Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on Ukraine and Other Topics (January 18, 2023)

January 20, 2023

In News Russia and Ukraine Russia-Ukraine War


Foreign Invasions

Like Napoleon, who mobilised nearly all of Europe against the Russian Empire, and Hitler, who occupied the majority of European countries and hurled them at the Soviet Union, the United States has created a coalition of nearly all European member states of NATO and the EU and is using Ukraine to wage a proxy war against Russia with the old aim of finally solving the “Russian question,” like Hitler, who sought a final solution to the “Jewish question.”



I was surprised by President Zelensky’s interview with ZDF in October 2022. He argued that if Russia were allowed to win, other large countries would decide that they “can” too.  And there are enough such countries on different continents. Therefore, they will allegedly “strangle” the little ones and divide everything else among themselves. Vladimir Zelensky stressed that he is for a different scenario in which everyone on the planet will know that no matter where they live, they have the same rights and are protected like any other person in the world. This was stated by a man who in November 2021 (a year before) said that “species,” not people, live in eastern Ukraine. Even earlier, in August 2021, Zelensky noted that if any of the citizens of Ukraine feels Russian and thinks in Russian, and wants to stay Russian, then for the sake of the future of his children and grandchildren, they should clear out for Russia. It was the same man who now declares that he dreams of the day when all are equal and can live as they wish. It is clear that these “beautiful” words are uttered for the benefit of the West, but all this vividly describes the current regime. It is clear why we cannot abandon the core goals of the special military operation.

As for the prospects of talks, they have been discussed and considered dozens of times. I don’t want to repeat obvious facts. Starting in March 2021, we supported Ukraine’s request for talks. Moreover, we finalised the draft settlement agreement proposed by that country. But Ukraine got a slap on its wrists and told it was too early. Since then, after the spring of 2022, all summer and until the beginning of autumn, Western officials have repeatedly said in different words that it is too early to start negotiations. The country needs to be given more weapons so that it can start negotiations from a stronger stance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said bluntly the other day that arming Ukraine is the path to peace. Zelensky himself put forward completely absurd 10-point plans which cram everything together: food, energy and biological security, the withdrawal of Russian troops from everywhere, repentance of the Russian Federation, a tribunal and condemnation. Negotiations with Zelensky are out of the question, because he adopted a law that banned talks with the Russian Government. The Western claptrap to the effect that they are ready to talk, but we are not, is nothing but prevarications.

You asked about the prospects for talks between Russia and the West on Ukraine. We are ready to consider serious proposals and to decide on what we do next. So far, there have not been such proposals. We hear mantras coming from Western capitals about “not a word about Ukraine without Ukraine.” It’s nonsense. In fact, the West is making the decisions for Ukraine. They also told Zelensky not to agree on anything with Russia in late March 2022, when an agreement was fully formalised. So, the West is making the calls. It decided without Ukraine and for Ukraine that it was not the right time. Now, they are saying the same thing: they need to get more weapons and to humiliate the Russian Federation.


Arab Countries/Palestine

None of the Arab states joined the sanctions despite unprecedented, extremely tough, unceremonious and self-debasing pressure from the West. When I visited the Arab League, its Secretary-General told me before I took the floor that three days prior to my arrival a delegation of Western ambassadors visited them and demanded that my speech be canceled.

When they received a polite reply that this would be impossible considering that the Arab League is friends with Russia, they demanded that every Arab League member takes the floor after my remarks to condemn the Russian aggression. Here too, they met a polite reply saying that every country had its own position and was free to define it as it saw fit. There was also the third request, the most humiliating for the West, I believe: they asked not to pose for photos with me. This is not a joke.

After that, the Secretariat staff put all this on paper and sent it to all the embassies to inform them about this demarche. I do not mean to say that I was flattered by the fact that after my presentation, which lasted over an hour, I was asked to pose with each of these ambassadors for photos, but it is important to note that for the record. It may seem like a small detail, but for many other countries, in particular in Europe, this would have required a lot of political courage.

Speaking of the Arab world, I cannot fail to mention the obvious dissatisfaction among our colleagues with the fact that the West demands something on Ukraine every day without doing anything on the Palestinian issue. We are deeply dismayed by the fact that there has been little, if any, headway made on Palestine or on the Libyan settlement after the West destroyed the country. There are still problems regarding Iraq. All these and other regional challenges are second-rate and sometimes even third-rate issues for the West compared to exhausting Russia and strategically defeating it.

Our colleagues do see that we have a different position, and we appreciate this. We have been unrelenting in our efforts on the Palestinian issue, Syria and the Libyan settlement. As for Iraq, we intend to engage in high-level contacts with our Iraqi colleagues. It is essential that we do not forget about these conflicts. In particular, the Palestinian issue is the oldest unsettled conflict in the world. The UN Secretary-General could have been more proactive in his efforts to promote this agenda as one of the members in the quartet of international mediators.



As for the conditions the embassies work in, just like with the previous question, we have never taken any actions to obstruct the work of the diplomats. What we are seeing now was started by Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama in December 2016, three weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration. When leaving the White House, Barack Obama wanted to do a disservice to his successor and took our property and expelled our diplomats. It was a petty thing, unseemly for someone who was called the President of the United States.

Donald Trump’s representatives called us later and said that he was not the president yet, but they believed that it was wrong. The Americans were sure that we would retaliate, asked us to wait for Donald Trump to come into the White House, and said that they would try to fix it. We took a pause. Six months had passed, and he was not allowed to fix anything, even if he wanted to. We were forced to respond by dismissing diplomats and imposing a special regime on the Americans’ couple of properties in Moscow. They were offended that we dismissed them for no reason at all. There was a reason, starting with Barack Obama. It was simply a chain reaction.