The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation


Table of Contents

1st Upcoming talks between Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Ruslan Kazakbaev
2nd Ukraine update
3rd Race-based discrimination in Ukraine
4th African Union statement on hostility against Africans trying to leave Ukraine
5th On Western countries using the Nazi salute
6th US military biological activities in Ukraine
7th The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution titled “Aggression against Ukraine”
8th Illegal Western sanctions against international humanitarian cooperation
9th Bringing Russian citizens home from abroad
10th Statements by Japanese Foreign Ministry Department Director
11th Statement by the Friends of Crimea International Association on the Situation around Ukraine
12th The anniversary of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
13th The 25th anniversary of the IORA Answers to media questions:


1st China’s stance on the situation in Ukraine
2nd Expulsion of the staff of Russia’s permanent mission to the United Nations
3rd Expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria
4th Settling the Ukrainian crisis
5th Russia‒China trade cooperation
6th Coverage of the Ukrainian conflict by British media
7th Russia’s relationship with the EU
8th Suspension of Russia’s rights of representation in the Council of Europe
9th Potential suspension of Russia from other international organizations
10th Establishing a Russia‒US communications channel on the situation in Ukraine
11th Prime Minister of Pakistan’s visit to Russia
12th The EU’s double standards
13th Information war against Russia
14thEfforts to normalize the situation in Afghanistan
15th Russia‒Iceland relations
16th Denazification in the context of the situation in Ukraine
17th Russia’s possible withdrawal from international organizations
18th Organising humanitarian corridors to evacuate Indian citizens from Ukraine
19th India’s stance on the situation in Ukraine
20th International Women’s Day greetings
21st Refusal of certain countries to join the Western anti-Russia sanctions


Upcoming talks between Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Ruslan Kazakbaev

On March 5 in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will have talks with Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Ruslan Kazakbaev during the latter’s official visit to Russia.

This meeting is launching a series of events scheduled for 2022 to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan (established on March 20, 1992).

During the talks, the ministers will discuss topical issues of bilateral cooperation in politics, trade and the economy, cultural, humanitarian, and other areas. They will also exchange opinions on issues pertaining to Eurasian integration, as well as global and regional security, including in the context of the events in Ukraine, and cooperation at international platforms.

They plan to sign a Programme of Cooperation between the foreign ministries of Russia and Kyrgyzstan for 2022‒2024, as well as a joint statement by the foreign ministries of the two countries following Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev’s official visit to the Russian Federation.

We expect that the meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia and Kyrgyzstan will contribute to the further strengthening of the Russia‒Kyrgyzstan strategic partnership and alliance.

Ukraine update

I would like to draw your attention to the interview Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has given today, which was devoted entirely to this subject. He took questions from the international media. Its transcript will be available on all the Ministry’s resources. We have come up against an unprecedented information attack, against information terrorism. It is taking place not only in the media but also in cyberspace. The attack is being directed from the West, and it is being implemented also through Ukrainian resources and capabilities. Ukraine and its infrastructure are being used as instruments. The goal of this attack is to misinform the international community and to discredit Russia’s actions. In this context, we need to explain the real state of affairs.

On February 24, 2022, Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine. The reason for this was the eight-year-long policy directed by the Ukrainian authorities, the Kiev regime against its own people, and Russia. That regime came to power as a result of a series of anti-constitutional events organized in Ukraine by the West.

One of the main, though not the first or only such events was the 2014 coup. It was carried out by the neo-Nazi forces with Western support. For eight years after that, the new regime systematically violated human rights and the rights of minorities, infringed on freedom of speech and the media, waged a war on the Russian language and culture, eliminated political opponents, conducted a civil war in Donbass, and sabotaged the efforts of the international community, primarily Russia, to find a legal solution to the conflict, as well as the Minsk agreements.

At the same time, Ukraine was being supplied with Western weapons, which were delivered to it in huge amounts. It was being turned into a bridgehead, not just of individual states of the NATO bloc which directly threatens Russia. This was taking place against the backdrop of the destruction of the global security architecture and in the absence of any security guarantees for our country.

I would like to point out that the West has not provided such guarantees to any state, not even to NATO members. The decisions are made there by those who stand at the helm. Our country was not just offered any security guarantees; they have been denied to us. Not offering and denying are two different things. We have the written replies that leave no doubt as to the intentions of NATO and those who control it, that is, the United States, regarding any possibility of discussing issues that are not only important and vital to us but concern our very existence. They have rejected all our proposals. They refused in writing to discuss all our proposals with us. This is why we demanded written replies. If we hadn’t done that, there would have been hue and cry now that they – the West – had been misunderstood, that they didn’t mean that, and that they offered Russia continued dialogue. But no, they rejected our proposals in writing.

We were speaking about the role of the Ukrainian regime in international relations.  Ukraine and the Ukrainian people have been turned into an instrument of Western policy. The current actions by the Ukrainian regime (even if you had not known about the causes of the situation in Donbass, seen the photographs, talked with witnesses, or read the documents of international organizations and non-governmental agencies) leave no doubt that the country is being governed by criminals. The West is supplying them with weapons. These criminals are using civilians as human shields and are hiding in residential districts, flats and houses. They are doing everything they can, not sparing the lives of their citizens, foreigners, or civilians in general, to create a certain picture of events and present it as a reality.

It is important to study archival data. We will present them so that you will be aware of what they have been perpetrating over these past eight years. One can and must speak about what the international community discussed but failed to hear because of Western propaganda. One can and must see what is going on live on air. How the thugs wielding Western weapons, thugs who have not been legalized through their involvement in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who are in fact Nazi-chevron-wearing members of punitive battalions known as Azov, Donbass, Right Sector, etc., took positions behind civilians. They are the same people, to whom they (as everyone was told and as Washington was saying) were bringing freedom and democracy. Now the whole world can see how you bring freedom and democracy. You are doing this based on nationalist principles while hiding behind the backs of women and children. You are doing this while manipulating public consciousness with huge support from the US and UK security services, and NATO countries in general. They are using you and have no compassion for you (I am referring to the Ukrainian militants). We feel compassion for the people, for those who regarded you as their true defenders, while you are thugs and marauders pure and simple.

The armed forces of Ukraine and the neo-Nazis are using peaceful civilians as a human shield and deploying heavy weapons in residential areas. This is a fact. You can ban this from screens all you want – I am addressing CNN, BBC, and others – but people will find out anyway and will be able to tell the difference between fakes and the truth. They are not evacuating civilians. Worse, they are doing all they can to get as many civilians as possible to remain in the “hotspots” by imposing a curfew and mining exit roads from cities.  These tactics are always used by terrorists, who are accustomed to taking civilians hostage.

We are receiving numerous appeals from embassies of other countries in Ukraine asking us to help them provide a safe escape for their citizens and diplomats, as well as for employees of international organizations. We do all we can (this is primarily being done by the Defence Ministry) to give them the necessary help.

The situation in Ukraine is being aggravated by the uncontrolled growth of crime. This has been intentionally provoked by the Ukrainian authorities who have issued tens of thousands of units of firearms to everyone who would take them. Convicted criminals have been released from prisons. As soon as they are issued arms, they form criminal gangs that attack and kill their fellow Ukrainians. As a result, a wave of looting, marauding and murders has swept through the country. Nationalism is assuming extreme forms verging on outright racism. Nationals of Asian and African states are facing discrimination and violence. The obvious aim of these actions is to create havoc and cause as many civilian casualties as possible.

Unlike the neo-Nazi battalions that intentionally destroy or disable critically important infrastructure, the Russian military is doing its best to ensure the safety of these facilities. A case in point is a joint mission by Russian paratroopers and Ukrainian soldiers to guard the power plants, the sarcophagus, and the repository for spent nuclear fuel at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The area around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is also being guarded and controlled. Both power stations are operating normally. We would like the relevant international organizations to take note of this since Ukraine has been supplying them with false information. Please get firsthand information.

As you may know, direct Russian-Ukrainian talks have taken off the ground in Belarus. We hope that they will bring an end to this situation as soon as possible, facilitate the restoration of e peace in Donbass, and return all of Ukraine’s ethnic groups to a peaceful and fair life.

Take another look at the tactics of those whom the Kiev regime has assigned to conduct talks.  How many hours does it take them to reach their destination? Upon arrival, they say they are tired and hit the hay. They would bicker over a venue for the negotiations and over their seats… Does this show concern for their people? Of course not. They have direct instructions from the US security services. They have no compassion for the people of Ukraine. They don’t care. The longer they do the bidding of the Kiev regime, the more suffering will befall their fellow Ukrainians. But who in Vladimir Zelensky’s underground shelter is thinking about this?

Race-based discrimination in Ukraine

Numerous media publications about race discrimination in Ukraine have come to our attention.

Manifestations of racism and racial discrimination in today’s Ukraine, including with regard to the citizens of Asian and African countries currently residing there, students being beaten, attacks on the citizens of the countries that refused to condemn Russia, being aware of what has been going on [in Donbass] all these years; rough treatment of Africans who wished to leave Ukraine; and the way citizens of China, India, etc. are being treated. Unfortunately, this is nothing new to the people who are aware of what happened there and it stems directly from those developments. It has always been that way. Earlier, foreigners were under their radar screens, but now they are, first, being used to stage provocations, and, second, deep down, these nationalists don’t care about a thing.

This shocking situation comes in the wake of the current Kiev authorities and their predecessors doing nothing to overcome the problem of nationalism. For opportunistic and political reasons, their Western curators did more than just turn a blind eye to this and did everything to ensure the growth of neo-Nazi ideology. After all, it is not their country; it is somewhere “out there” in the distant nation of Ukraine populated, according to the US President, by Iranians. They are oblivious to the fact that the citizens of their countries – the United States and the European Union – may also be there now. Who are they supplying with weapons? Someone who will kill people left and right?

The anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racial discrimination that is flourishing in Ukraine today are the very things that we have been talking about tirelessly over the last eight years and that the West, I mean Euro-Atlantic institutions,  have tried hard to ignore, and they have taken good care of and almost nurtured the ideological followers of Nazism instead. If with so many materials available, you are unable to see it for yourself, then you don’t want to see it. In fact, you haven’t seen it. Now, you are left with what you have.

It is particularly strange to see the European states that experienced the horrors of the Second World War turn a blind eye to the threat of the revival of the “brown plague.” However, maybe it’s not so strange.

Once again, I would like to draw your attention to the Ministry’s annual reports on the human rights situation in individual countries, the manifestations of Nazism around the world, as well as individual reports on that country, which provided regular analyses of the human rights situation, indicating the widely spread racism and neo-Nazism. The current situation with foreign citizens in Ukraine is yet another confirmation of this.

Ukraine’s stance on this matter speaks volumes because it is one of the few countries (more precisely, one of two countries) that regularly, every year, votes against the resolution titled “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance,” which Russia submitted for consideration by the UN General Assembly

The US prohibited EU countries from joining this resolution and voting for it. You do not see this, either? This is your position, the position of the Western countries. As a reminder, this document raises acute issues related to the growth of extremely dangerous manifestations of neo-Nazism and racial discrimination, the spread of hateful ideology, and the theory of racial superiority in the modern world.

Ukraine has adopted a similar stance with regard to yet another important initiative in the sphere of combating racism, namely the resolution titled “A global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.” In particular, when reviewing the document during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in December 2021, the Ukrainian delegation simply chose not to vote, and a year before that, it abstained from voting. What is that if not links in a single chain? Does this not prove that they openly mocked these issues of counteracting the spread of Nazi and racist fetology? Of course, that’s the way it is. They are not hiding it. They benefitted from staying close to the extremists professing neo-Nazi ideology. Why? Because nationalism is an ideology that people with low cultural and moral levels take up easily. Spreading this ideology is easy. All you need is a little money, weapons, and materials saying that one race is superior to another, and one nation is not as good as the next one. That’s it. They can then be conveniently used during Maidan protests or for political purposes in order to orchestrate the allegedly “righteous” public wrath, which in reality is nothing but the forceful pressure of the street. This is an accurate description of Ukraine’s political life in recent decades. There was also the first Maidan protest, which unfolded under the color orange, as a supposedly peaceful initiative, although it was a paid-for move. A PR campaign of similar proportions costs a lot of money. Maidan in 2013-2014 brought together extremists and militants who had been trained in camps in Poland and the Baltic countries. How many times have we mentioned this? The Baltic States and Poland condemn us. How about you take a look at yourselves?

In its statement of February 28, the African Union expressed concern about the situation involving citizens of various countries in Ukraine noting that Africans being singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist. I see the point the African Union is making. But Russian lives also matter. And this is exactly how Russians were treated there for eight years. Perhaps, we should not be dividing people by skin color or religion? Perhaps, we can feel the pain of other people, too? Perhaps, someday we will see hashtags like #russianlivesmatter?

Clearly, ignoring and even openly refusing to recognize the obvious existence of problems in the field of combating racism, looking up to the United States when reviewing manifestations of racism and racial discrimination as the implementation of some kind of “freedom of speech” (now we can see it and know its value in the West) not only leads, as experts say, to a “human rights impasse,” but is also an absolutely irresponsible position that leads to the suffering of people, or even entire national, ethnic or racial groups.

African Union statement on hostility against Africans trying to leave Ukraine

In their official statement on February 28, Chairperson of the African Union, President of Senegal Macky Sall, and Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed deep concern about incoming reports of hostile attitude towards nationals of African countries trying to leave Ukraine.

Senior officials of the African Union urged “all countries to respect international law and show the same empathy and support to all people” fleeing the area of the special operation “notwithstanding their racial identity.”

We fully concur with this statement. Is it possible to extend it to our entire life? Not just this specific case. It should become a prevailing concept in national legislations of every country and international law (as long as Washington, London and Brussels do not destroy it completely).

We fully support the stance of this pan-African organization. On our part, we would like to note that, as of today, the Russian Foreign Ministry has no information about requests from nationals of African countries for permission to cross the border between the LPR, the DPR and the Russian Federation. At the same time, diplomatic missions of several African countries have contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry with requests to arrange the evacuation of their nationals, students of Ukrainian universities. We are working on these requests in cooperation with the Russian Defence Ministry.

On Western countries using the Nazi salute

We noted that a whole number of countries, including Canada and the EU countries, senior officials of these countries, foreign ministers, senators – representatives of their legislative branch – public figures, and politicians are using the same slogan that has become a national salute in Ukraine in the past years. We talked about this before. I do not want to say this slogan out loud but I will definitely include it in the transcript of this briefing. I refuse to pronounce it.

Here is the brief historical background for all those who use these two words [three in English, Ed.], a comma, and an exclamation mark. In August 1939, fascist Italy hosted the second congress of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists. One of the decisions of this congress was to adopt the Ukrainian fascists’ salute, “Glory to Ukraine!” and the response “Glory to heroes!” The salute and the response were adopted as symbolic greetings. It was a call sign, a code word of sorts to distinguish between friends and foes. In a similar manner, they forced people in Ukraine to count themselves off by asking the question “Which country does Crimea belong to?” It was the same logic. You are deprived of your own opinion. There is only one correct opinion – of the militants in Ukraine. If you have your own point of view, a strong civic stance that goes counter to their idea of what is best, you have to press your face to the ground. Didn’t you know many other examples in the West? Of course, you did. You knew and you kept silent. What Western media outlets are doing right now is a crime. Everybody must know about it.

It was the same salute that collaborationists used to greet the Wehrmacht and the SS – not only between themselves but to identify themselves to Hitler’s SS. Allow me to remind you, in case you do not know, that the SS and the Wehrmacht were those who organized the genocide of Jews, the Romany and Slavic ethnicities in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Russia. Or is “genocide” a word I cannot use even here? Do we have no right to use it now? Or is there some conscience left and we can still use the word “genocide” in the context of WWII? Perhaps, more people died then and the conflict was longer? No, it did not last long but indeed, more people died. Should we have waited longer? Until the next time presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers use the same salute and being called neo-Nazis baffles them?

All these years, Russia has been publishing reports drafted by the Foreign Ministry, as well as by other agencies and organizations, on grave human rights violations in Ukraine. I am talking about crimes perpetrated on nationalist grounds. In 2014, the Foreign Ministry, and then in 2015, Russia’s Investigative Committee published their White Books on crimes committed in Ukraine. Do you think we have hidden it in a secret library? Of course not. It is available on the Foreign Ministry website and on social media. We sent it to all our partner countries and international organizations. The Foreign Ministry regularly releases reports on human rights violations in Ukraine and on violations of the rights of Russian citizens and compatriots abroad.

I would like to draw your attention to the book by Maxim Grigoryev and Dmitry Sablin titled “Ordinary Fascism. Ukraine’s War Crimes and Human Rights Violations in 2017-2020.” Year after year, we reported on this matter with evidence on hand. On top of that, Russian journalists carried out their own investigations. Not the foreign journalists, I mean the Western journalists – it was almost impossible to get them there.

Just recently, we circulated a presentation on the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian leadership in Donbass at the session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva (February 28). You can find it on the website of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office in Geneva. This is a terrifying photo report depicting people who were killed, and the destruction caused in Donbass. Today, when they lament about the casualties, while we offer our condolences to all the families, just remember that you tacitly accepted the atrocities for all these years. Let me repeat what I have been saying all along. An awakening of the conscience cannot happen suddenly.

There is no shortage of evidence from multiple sources. Some documents are publicly available, including on the Foreign Ministry website. It has been facing DDoS attacks, specifically designed to prevent us from releasing all these documents. We understand that not everyone reads these documents, while some of those who do pretend otherwise. We will draw your attention to these materials again and again.

Since April 2014, the representatives of the Ukrainian armed forces and law enforcement agencies have been ignoring the international agreements and acts by massively shelling Donbass communities, killing and wounding thousands of civilians who were never involved in the military conflict. They used indiscriminate lethal weapons, prohibited under international humanitarian law. Many communities, primarily along the line of contact, were left without water, gas or power, mobile phone services, or the supply of food and medicine. People died when Ukrainian shells exploded, or from hunger, lack of water, or medicine.

The Ukrainian army was especially cynical when shelling hospitals, morgues, and schools where there were bomb shelters. They also shelled cemeteries. This is what led to the creation of mass graves for civilians who fell victim to Ukraine’s military and political leadership and their Western curators.

As of December 2021, more than 16 spontaneous mass graves and burial sites were discovered. In one of them, the remains of a four-month-old baby were found. Between August and November 2021, the remains of 295 people were unearthed, studied, and processed. The preliminary forensic examination of the remains from all the burial sites on LPR and DPR territories showed that women and the elderly accounted for most of the casualties who died from firearms, mortar explosions, or blunt trauma. Apart from killing people in Donbass with shells, Kiev enforced a water, economic, and transport embargo on Donbass, bringing the region to the brink of a humanitarian disaster. Living in most cities along the line of contact was akin to surviving in an all-out war. This lasted for eight years. The Kiev regime did not want to draw a line between civilians and combatants.

The people of Donbass lived in these conditions for eight years, not a week!

International human rights organizations noted these issues by saying that the conflict unleashed by the Kiev authorities in southeastern Ukraine had a negative impact on all the population, impoverished it, and resulted in the stagnation of its economy. The share of the population with extremely low incomes increased in 2013-2015. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky (Argentina), an independent expert on foreign debt and human rights, visited Ukraine in May 2018 and wrote in his report on this trip that retirees living in Donbass had to regularly cross the line of contact and register as internally displaced persons in order to receive their pensions. This means that they had to do paperwork with shelling going on. They had to do all this just to get their pensions. They risked their lives and had to assume substantial expenses. Many of them were killed. According to the expert, more than 600,000 retirees did not receive the payments they were entitled to.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women took note of these issues falling within its mandate, highlighting the gap between the law and the way Ukraine implemented it. In particular, the committee noted that a law on the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons was adopted in October 2014, alongside several decisions and directives to help internally displaced women, but nothing was done to carry them out.

In August 2016, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) highlighted the plight of displaced persons. The Committee expressed concern that social benefits, including pensions, were tied to IDP status and residence in areas controlled by Kiev, which is why not all internally displaced persons have access to such benefits; local integration of IDPs was complicated by existing legal and regulatory frameworks; they also had difficulties with access to suitable affordable housing and decent employment; restrictions on freedom of movement made it difficult for IDPs to access social services, education, and healthcare.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination also noted that people were exposed to physical danger when crossing the line of control. They could come under fire or be wounded by anti-personnel mines planted by forces controlled by the Kiev regime. All these factors prevented members of ethnic minorities from registering as IDPs and receiving social assistance. Most of these individuals were also at risk of discrimination and stigmatization.

Developments in this area have been regularly monitored by OHCHR and the OSCE SMM. All these materials were available, they were published – but no one cared to read them.

Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Matilda Bogner (Australia) in March 2020 brought to Kiev’s attention the need to start paying pensions to residents of the uncontrolled regions of Donbass, calling on the newly formed government and parliament to review the draft law on pensions in accordance with human rights norms and resume the lawmaking process on a priority basis. Again, this is how international law was trampled by Kiev’s Western supervisors. They didn’t want to see it, they laughed at it, like it was nothing. Until they talk about it on CNN, no one is interested, no one makes a big deal about it. This is not something they said at a briefing at the White House or at the State Department and then hyped on American television channels. Right now, they can quote the UN and at the same time pressure the relevant representatives, including UN representatives, to extract the necessary reaction. This has worked. They have faithfully fallen into line to give the UN reaction to events. Where were they before? These are materials from the United Nations and other international organizations.

While monitoring the situation with the right to liberty and security, international human rights groups have recorded numerous facts of illegal detention, torture, intimidation, abuse, and sexual violence. Similar examples are regularly included in the reports of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

All these years, there have been numerous violations of people’s right to trial and defense in criminal cases linked with the conflict in Donbass. There is a widespread practice of forcing persons under investigation to sign plea deals and hearing cases in absentia, attacks on lawyers, and intimidation of lawyers by radical right-wingers and putting pressure on representatives of the judiciary.

Law enforcement and SBU officers systematically used torture and violence against detainees and had absolute impunity. Cases of illegal detention, torture, and abuse of persons detained on charges related to the conflict in the southeast were regularly recorded by international missions. This directly involved the ethnic groups that lived there.

Various techniques were widely used to extract confessions. There have been complaints that the SBU or investigative authorities forced people to confess to being members of, or having links with, armed groups. The National Police or the SBU published several such videos as an example of how to behave and how representatives of the Ukrainian security forces could behave. At the same time, even according to international missions, the detainees made statements incriminating themselves as a result of torture, abuse or intimidation by SBU officers. I am quoting specific reports, and we will post links to them later today. We are told we don’t talk about it enough. We have been talking about this for eight years, right here, in this room, and at international venues, and at our embassies. Just go to the Foreign Ministry website and search Ukraine, Donbass, Donetsk, or Lugansk. Just try it yourself and you will see hundreds of materials on this subject. It’s not that we didn’t say enough; they just didn’t want to hear it.

The international organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have issued a joint report, with reference to their 2016 investigation, about the illegal and violent nature of the detainment of people by employees of the Ukrainian security services and investigative authorities. Such incidents include cases related to expressing disagreement with the official policy of the Kiev authorities. For example, a person was illegally held by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from November 2014 to February 2016 for taking part in anti-Maidan rallies and events in defense of Soviet monuments. He was accused of planning terrorist attacks, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, which has done very serious harm to his health. He also reported that the cells in which he was kept were overcrowded, and the people in them, including those with disabilities and the elderly, were systematically beaten and were detained for the exchange of prisoners of war.

After his release, Konstantin Beskorovainy, the person I am talking about, along with other former prisoners, officially filed a complaint against the actions of the SBU. During the investigation, there were unreasonable delays in the proceeding, and victims were intimidated so that many people refused to participate in the criminal process. Among other things, the territorial office of the military prosecutor attempted to change the applicant’s status from victim to witness and to close the case. The investigation was reopened after several appeals.

Torture of detainees by the SBU was also confirmed by persons who took part in the exchange of detainees between Kiev and the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics. In particular, persons who returned from the government-controlled territories after the exchange of detainees on December 29, 2019, said that SBU officials and members of the Azov far-right group tortured them to obtain confessions. In particular, prisoners were forced to make false confessions and to testify about their alleged sabotage training near Rostov. The detainees were subjected to beating, strangling, mock hanging or drowning, tortured with electric shocks, and threatened with reprisals against their loved ones. This information has been reported by the media and is available in the public domain. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Exchanged persons also said that they had been kept in secret SBU prisons before being sent to detention centers. At the same time, several days to several months passed from the actual detention to its official registration.

According to the human rights ombudsman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Daria Morozova, all detainees released by Kiev confirmed that they had been subjected to illegal interrogation methods.

Russian citizens who traveled to Ukraine from Crimea were subjected to illegal persecution. Criminal cases were opened against them on charges of treason, infringement on territorial integrity and inviolability, creation of paramilitary and armed groups, and assistance to terrorists and separatists. In January 2020, they detained Ivan Antonov, a person with impaired hearing, who was returning from a pilgrimage to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. In early November 2020, Nikolai Fedoryan, department head at the Chernomorneftegaz state company in Crimea and former deputy head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry for Crimea, was detained and charged with “assisting the occupation authorities during searches and illegal detentions.” There are many more such documents. We will publish all of them.

As for procedural irregularities, they happened all too often. In December 2018, SBU employees searched the premises of members of the Russian-speaking community in Poltava. Sergey Provatorov, the coordinator of the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots of Ukraine and head of the Russian Community Association, was forced to give up his Pushkin Medal.

Criminal proceedings were initiated against historian Yury Pogoda, a prominent expert on the Great Northern War, and Viktor Shestakov, poet, journalist, and head of the Russian Community in Poltava, who have been charged under Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine”).

In May 2019, SBU employees searched the premises of Vladimir Saltykov, head of the Transcarpathian regional association Rus, during which they seized cell phones and PCs. These persons were socially active citizens who did not take part in hostilities or calls for action. They only took a civil stand, which has led to years of persecution.

In August 2020, SBU agents detained Tatyana Kuzmich, a Russian language and literature teacher with years of experience and head of the Rusich Russian National Association, on charges of treason, which sparked a public outcry. She did much to promote the Russian language in Ukraine. We have reported this and have cited the relevant facts. The Ukrainian security services claimed that she was recruited during her stay in Crimea and supplied secret materials to Russia.

This information was made public in Ukraine to set the public against these people, not to mention the publishing of their personal data by the notorious Myrotvorets website.

We had been trying for years to raise the attention of international organizations and the United States, which failed to vote for the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism and all forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and intolerance, under the pretext of avoiding infringement on freedom of speech. At the same time, they refused to denounce the continuing operation of Myrotvorets for the same reason. This is incredible. It cannot be that people do not see obvious things, that the personal data published on this website have led to the persecution of people, including journalists, socially active citizens, and researchers, who have not called for anything bad but have only taken a civic position.

Forced Ukrainization and language discrimination against a considerable part of society, including flagrant violations of the rights of Russian speakers, are an integral element of the policy of the Kiev authorities, the Kiev regime.

Starting in 2017, Ukrainian law has consistently been adjusted to prohibit the use of any language other than Ukrainian in the public sector, the education system, and the media. The adoption of several laws, including On Education and On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language, has introduced discriminatory restrictions against the Russian language compared to Ukrainian, the official EU languages, and the languages of indigenous peoples. Other laws were also adopted to ensure the forced Ukrainization of public life, the media, television and services.

Ukrainian radicals have regularly staged aggressive actions against those who continued teaching the Russian language. In March 2020, nationalists organized the persecution of school teachers in Lviv who were accused of spreading “the propaganda of the Russian world” and “the russification of Ukrainian children.” An aggressive campaign was launched in April 2020 against Pavel Viktor for his physics video lessons in Russian.

In November 2020, Professor Valery Gromov of the Dnipro University of Technology (Dnepropetrovsk) was forced to resign after a female student officially complained that he was giving his lectures in Russian.

Yevgenia Bilchenko, a lecturer at the department of cultural studies and philosophical anthropology, National Pedagogical Drahomanov University (Kiev), who initially supported Maidan but later revised her views, was dismissed in January 2021 after criticizing the law On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language on social media.

US military biological activities in Ukraine

Numerous materials on US military biological activities in Ukraine have been made public recently.  On March 2, Natural News, the rightwing bioethics website, posted a journalistic investigation into the Pentagon’s relevant activities that run counter to Washington’s obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. According to the website, various facilities created under the aegis of the Department of Defence (Federal Agency for Threat Prevention), including the Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine (CTCU), have recently received hundreds of millions of US dollars in funding for clandestine scientific and applied research.  The author, Ethan Huff, does not rule out that the outbreaks of different diseases observed in the region (flue, cholera, Zika virus, and others) could be caused, among other things, by America’s military biological activities in Ukraine. Just read the article for yourself.

For their part, specialists have highlighted another aspect. In late February, the US Embassy in Ukraine unexpectedly removed from public access all documents related to military biological cooperation between Washington and Kiev. The earlier posted documents were deleted.

Just imagine that NATO has supplied a huge amount of offensive weapons of various types, without the slightest justification, to a location in the center of Europe in the direct vicinity of Russian borders, where Russian citizens live in addition to numerous other people who find themselves in these territories by a twist of fate.  At the same time, the US and Ukraine have been actively promoting their biological cooperation, including experiments and the like, in the same sector. Apart from everything else, all of this is accompanied by NATO-Ukraine military exercises, held once every six weeks, where Russia is the hypothetical adversary. To top it off, the Ukrainian president makes a statement that they are ready to consider the possibility of Ukraine acquiring nuclear weapons, which comes amid a wild nationalist frenzy in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who regard all Russians as their main enemy. The time has come, they say to the entire international community (which is now pretending that it is shocked) at the Munich Security Conference. But why wasn’t it shocked at the idea that a country with so many problems and overflowing with Western weapons can have nuclear weapons in addition? (It has the capacity for that and, of course, support from the United States.)

Actually, it might already possess dirty nuclear technologies. Shall we wait somewhat longer? But for what? Senior representatives of the United States say they had no intention of talking to Ukraine about deploying nuclear weapons. No plans! But who do we believe? They are the people who have systematically lied for decades, while launching under the cover of lies military operations all over the world, resulting in millions of victims. There is an important nuance that makes this story even more dramatic. The thing is that the United States, which has nuclear weapons as a matter of official record, has them not only on US territory. Few people in Russia, let alone the world, know about this. Who is keen to know? The United States has its nuclear weapons in several countries of Europe. Practically next door to Russia. At the same time, the European countries, their armed forces and their intelligence services have no ability whatsoever to control these weapons. Is that normal? Given that for years or, in truth, decades the Kiev regime has been under the US yoke, it could have relied on the people’s will, made a selection of public opinion, and held a referendum, which would really assess the Ukrainian people’s attitude to having nuclear weapons. But even hoping for this is out of the question. The results of the vote would have been rigged. NATO is old hands at that. The decision would have been taken. And when the weapons would have been deployed in the territory of that weakly controlled state, the situation would have been totally different. This is a state whose nationalist forces are infected with the bacilli of nationalism; it is unable to diffuse its years-long bloody internal crisis; its politicians are each national of two or three countries and they have no idea at all about national interests. They have for years catered to the interests of NATO countries alone. Then we would have had an absolutely different situation on our European continent and directly on Russia’s borders.

I see the United States and its NATO partners, as well as the world as a whole watch with sinking hearts as North Korea launches missiles. (North Korea has withdrawn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) It pursues a policy of its own and gives grounds for it. When we have any grievances, we certainly communicate them. But the West is united in the belief that North Korea has no right to possess nuclear weapons or undertake missile launches.

But what about Ukraine? We can talk all we want about the regularity/irregularity of its political system, the plusses, and minuses, but Ukraine has had no political system other than external control. Its other possession is the nationalist battalions, which were only nominally part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and were really just squads of militants trained in neighboring countries.

As for the US biological activities in Ukraine, the Americans have clearly tried to pretend like nothing happened and sweep any trace of it under the rug. This topic is also a source of concern for us.

The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution titled “Aggression against Ukraine”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke at length today on international reactions. I will not go over it again. A transcript is coming soon. The video is already available which provides a thorough analysis of the vote on March 2 at the UN General Assembly. The resolution was adopted. The Western countries, led by the United States, made incredible efforts to make sure this document was widely approved. Every method of influencing the delegations in New York and in the various capitals was used. They used overt blackmail, attempts at bribery and threats of sanctions. Don’t tell us this was the unified voice of the General Assembly. So much for a united “voice” with the sanctions gun pointed at the “head” of a state, which, in principle, is unable to oppose it and has no other way out of it. It looks very much like the developments that have been unfolding for many years in Ukraine. Love your homeland in Ukrainian, but if you do so in Russian, “you are not a person, but a species.” This is what President Vladimir Zelensky said about those who disagreed with the Kiev regime on certain issues. However, the resolution was not unconditionally supported. Dozens of countries refused to vote for it. However, no one is saying that it was not adopted. Of course, it was. No need to distort its meaning. It is obvious. The methods used can be clearly seen as well. The Western media are playing an enormous role in this, the wailing voices of the correspondents who have never experienced problems in their lives and have never demanded accountability from their regimes. There is no doubt that the adoption of the resolution runs counter to the tasks at hand. The document will simply embolden the Kiev radicals and nationalists to continue their criminal actions. They have taken civilians as hostages.

This resolution will be used to continue the abuse of the Russian-speaking people, the deployment of military equipment in densely populated residential urban areas in Ukraine (contrary to international law), and the unchecked distribution of weapons, including to inmates who were cut loose. The regime is fighting on its own territory, distributing weapons to civilians, and is releasing inmates convicted of criminal offenses. As a reminder, we are talking about a state that has chosen democracy and has for many years been talking about a democracy that had practically won in that country. Weapons were distributed among die-hard criminals, not political prisoners. Moreover, they put an emphasis on “those who participated in hostilities” and are “experienced.” Who participated in what battles? Not only that, they fought their own people. If you give them weapons, they will start shooting not just their own people, but they will use the weapons for looting, robbery, and violence.

The outcome of the vote at the General Assembly and the UN Security Council once again highlights the international community’s inability to take effective measures to force the Kiev authorities to fulfill their obligations under the Minsk agreements. For our part, we are ready to continue the talks with Ukraine in order to prevent further bloodshed, as the Russian leadership has repeatedly stated.

Mass violation of Russian media outlets’ rights in Western countries

Over the past few days, the real, not declarative, value of “Western values” has become crystal clear. The ongoing developments in the global information space can be described as depriving Russia of any chance of making its point of view known on unfolding international developments. The worst thing is that the international community is deprived of the opportunity to know the point of view of the other side and to have access to the materials that describe reality as it is. They themselves whipped up hysteria around Ukraine, and have now taken away the voice of the media that provide materials straight from the region.

With its February 27 decision, the Council of the European Union introduced a ban on Russia Today and Sputnik broadcasting throughout the European Union, which the EU member states rushed to comply with. US digital platforms, such as Google and Meta, swore allegiance to them in a heartbeat and began blocking media accounts in various countries across the board. Apple, Android, and Microsoft have removed Russia Today and Sputnik apps from their stores, etc. We have been talking about this for years, including at international venues. No one was interested. Now they are just finishing what they started back then.

The governments of Australia, Canada, and Uruguay did not hesitate to resort to censorship in the spirit of pseudo-solidarity with the so-called liberal democratic world. Twelve investigations into Russia Today have been initiated by the British regulator Ofcom. Truth be told, they didn’t just do this but did it a little earlier in order to be done just in time for the right moment. This is some kind of elaborated Jesuitism where you know something, but are still preparing the legal grounds in advance, just in case.

The fact that Russian journalists can at least do some work there is because London is concerned about risking the BBC’s position in Russia since it has been assigned the important role of undermining domestic political stability and security in our country, which follows from recent public statements by British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Many countries have gone even further. They have chosen to eliminate Russian-language broadcasts on their territory altogether because the anti-Russia version of the cancel culture makes this possible. It is being implemented before our eyes on an ever-larger scale and affects all spheres of life without exception, including culture, education, sports, medicine, and everyday life.

The Baltic countries are trying particularly hard. Going through the list of the TV channels they banned would probably take half the time allocated to this briefing. In Estonia, they went as far as “cleaning” their shelves of Russian magazines and newspapers. Moldova chose to use the commotion to put an end to Sputnik broadcasting once and for all. They blocked the media operator’s website and shut down its radio broadcasts. The European Alliance of Professional Associations is pushing to expel Russian journalists from the International Association of Journalists and to stigmatize the entire media community solely because it speaks Russian.

The West has declared a campaign against the Russian media, and this campaign is not over yet. The list of media sources that have been incapacitated or blocked is updated almost hourly. At the same time, in all cases of widespread blatantly Neanderthal-like censorship that has been in existence for many years now as a pretext for annihilating Russian broadcasting in the West and depriving millions of their citizens of popular alternative sources of information, these “beacons of democracy,” without bothering to provide any justification, declare Russian mass media outlets peddlers of propaganda and a threat to their security.

Of course, the fact that the media from the NATO and EU member countries, the United States and Canada, including their Russian bureaus, are spreading die-hard hastily concocted disinformation and fake news and, without a shadow of doubt or embarrassment, are working to destabilize the situation in our country and are publishing calls to commit illegal actions does not bother anyone. This is different. The speed and effectiveness of implementing the measures that violate all the basic principles of freedom of speech and pluralism of opinion clearly show that this scenario has been planned for years.

Our Western partners have long been willing and planning to simply cross Russia out of the global media space. They started thinking about this the moment we appeared in this space and at the first signs of success for Russian media outlets, which have been in business for many years and have proven their objectivity. It all started right there. Our Western partners are following a program to systematically remove us from the media space. It goes without saying that no facts have ever been provided, but the playbook was there for everyone to see. The West worked hard and long to promote a convention on helping journalists and protecting their safety when they cover armed conflicts. Armed conflicts always have at least two sides, occasionally more. These sides operate their media. You would have been right if you had said right off that it was not about protecting journalists in hot spots, but about depriving one of the conflicting parties of a means of communication and the dissemination of information. Indeed, in many respects, the West has pioneered the development of the provisions and draft laws, both within the given country and at the international legal level, which was supposed to protect journalists as they cover hot phases in conflicts. Now, you are using this pretext to turn off these very media outlets, whose journalists are working in hot spots. How is that?

It has long been clear to us that it is pointless and useless to talk with the international human rights agencies that have sprung up in inordinate amounts in recent years. This is also part of the responsibility of the OSCE institution in question, which, with tacit consent, greenlighted the persecution of Russian journalists and Russian-speaking media and failed to protect journalists who cried out about what was happening in Ukraine, Donbass, etc. This is part of your tacit complicity in creating and provoking this global crisis. All these institutions, agencies, and NGOs have been working for a long time now and with varying degrees of loyalty to cater exclusively to Western interests. They bring up freedom of speech and other rights and freedoms only when Washington and the key capitals of its allies give them an approving nod. There may be different points of view on everything. But it’s a proven fact that only one position was correct during all these years, and only one media source could be heard, which led to a collapse and a formidable crumbling of the international legal system, which is supposed to be objective and fair and which should have a place for different points of view. When this fails to happen, a conflict tends to escalate.

I would like to address those behind this act of execution of freedom of speech. You have dealt a cowardly and treacherous blow to Russian journalism and your own people who have a guaranteed right to receive information that does not fit into your mold. It is particularly important to provide such an opportunity during a crisis. You have pulled off your masks as loyal adherents of democracy and revealed the false nature of your demagogy on human rights. Will you learn anything from the current situation or will the answer once again be, “this is different?”

Illegal Western sanctions against international humanitarian cooperation

The Western world extending illegal restrictions on the international humanitarian sphere is not just beyond the scope of international peace; it is directly aimed at discriminating against ordinary people whose rights the Western champions of democracy so vigorously defend on all international platforms. Sanctions that affect the freedom of movement, the freedom of expression and access to cultural achievements and information, limit the development of cultural and sports cooperation and contacts between people, is absolutely unacceptable. They grossly violate the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act of the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

This discriminatory anti-Russia campaign includes canceling shows by Russian culture and art figures abroad; Western universities are expelling students, and the organizers of various individual and team competitions are suspending athletes just for being Russian. I have just heard a new version – they are now saying that foreign teams or individual athletes are refusing to participate in any competition that includes Russians. So, let them abstain and fulfill their wish. They also have the right to be heard. If they don’t want to participate, respect that. Our people want to participate, and they have been training for this for years. I think they have proven many times that sport should be outside politics by continuing to participate despite what you call sanctions, all types of pressure and discrimination, despite all that we call an injustice. Gritting their teeth, under pressure from the stands and from international sports officials alike, having seen the mockery of national symbols and of our culture, they go ahead and do their job. They keep reaching out to their colleagues to the end, even being aware of the risks – including to athletes from Ukraine, many of whom later hissed behind their backs. Our athletes have been above all this. They have endured everything – humiliation, real humiliation, discrimination, the use of all forms and types of pressure, and harassment. Now, this anti-human, discriminatory campaign has gained unprecedented momentum, although this was an expected consequence. Everything around is being canceled.

The most egregious cases that have caused a worldwide outcry include the cancellation of concerts by Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev, and Anna Netrebko at the La Scala theater in Milan. The demands made by the Munich city government and the La Scala management in Milan that they dissociate themselves from Russia’s policy is something unheard of. Maybe they should also give you a Nazi salute? Do I have to say something to you against the background of the swastikas that you see in Ukraine? Do you think this is an isolated case? It’s just that Gergiev is a celebrity of such status that this could not go unnoticed. How many of our professors at foreign universities, doctors at Western clinics who have been treating their citizens, and their family members have received similar threats, demands, humiliation, and insults? For what? Because your governments have supported the war in Ukraine for eight years, “have not seen” it, giving you – as democratic societies – no chance of reacting? Now the Russians are to blame for this, too? Oh no. The Bavarian State Opera considered it possible to cancel their contract with world-famous Anna Netrebko on the same grounds. As for Valery Gergiev – do you not understand why he couldn’t do it? Do you not understand what he has gone through, taking more than one bloody conflict like this close to his heart? He played in Syria during bombardments by Western-sponsored “moderate” militants. Gergiev brought people back to life in Syria and around the world. He gave hope to those who defended statehood in Syria, with curse words and shells shot at our backs. Who did you want to break? The man who saw South Ossetia after Mikhail Saakashvili was done with it? Have you asked this of him? Maybe you asked it of someone else? Well, try it.

The International Mathematical Union Executive Committee’s move to exclude its Russian member from its meeting cannot be called anything other than immoral. As a result, in his absence, a decision was made to cancel the International Congress of Mathematicians in St Petersburg in July 2022. The actions by a number of Western universities are simply outrageous, as their administrators try to take out their anger on Russian students because they are dissatisfied with our country’s policies.

Other such incidents also deserve mention, such as the IOC recommendation to international sports federations not to invite Russian athletes to participate in competitions. Is this the International Olympic Committee? Have they not seen, or are they unaware of how much pressure has been exerted on our athletes for years? We have no other interpretation of such actions but as an attempt to harm our athletes, to eliminate strong rivals. You can’t put up a fair fight, so you are doing what you can? This will not lead you to your intended goal. It will destroy your world. In fact, these calls by the IOC leaders, which go beyond common sense, violate Olympic principles and the very concept of ​both the Olympic movement and international sport.

We are confident that cooperation in education, science, sports, and culture has always been and must remain outside politics. This is not a call to think again; it is a call to realize that such actions direct international processes towards self-destruction. This mechanism has been launched, and no chance of reversal can be seen at this point.

We said exactly the same things when the West tore Kosovo away from Serbia. You were warned how it would be. We talked about international terrorism and Afghanistan. It is impossible to just keep silent, indulge this, and pretend that nothing is happening. This is our common planet. Our one and only. For all the achievements of the space industry in each country, we still cannot fly away. We live here, all together. When they closed the skies to Russian planes without giving any information, I understood the world has crossed a line, that politicians who run today’s world have passed the point of no return. I actually realized this even during the pandemic.

The mayhem unleashed against Russia, the attempts to isolate and even exclude our country from the humanitarian landscape are not just part of a Russophobic campaign. Basing conditions for participating in cultural, scientific, and sports events on the political allegiance of the artists, scientists, and athletes is a direct path to civilizational crisis. Even in Soviet times, the period of global confrontation between two ideologies, famous musicians, dancers, actors, artists, and scientists could give concerts, participate in exhibitions and symposiums around the world, and athletes could compete in international tournaments.

All I can do is offer my sympathy to the West because their “high moral values” have not helped them avoid using humanity’s humanitarian heritage as a political bargaining chip.

Bringing Russian citizens home from abroad

Given that some countries have closed off their airspace to Russian airlines, it is recommended that tour operators and airlines organize alternative flights to bring Russian nationals back home, including using the airports of the third countries and land checkpoints, as well as combined routes (air/car or railway).

Russian nationals can submit information about themselves and their location by filling in a special form on the Foreign Ministry website help.mid.ru.

We also suggest the following updates from the Federal Agency for Tourism, the Federal Agency for Air Transport, the Foreign Ministry, and the nearby Russian diplomatic missions in the media and on social networks.

Statements by Japanese Foreign Ministry Department Director

We have noted that Japanese Foreign Ministry Department Director Hideki Uyama, during the parliamentary hearings on February 28, 2022, drew a parallel between the special military operation in Ukraine and the southern Kurils’ accession to Russia. Leaving aside the well-known fact that the said islands were transferred to our country in accordance with international law following World War II, during which Japan suffered a devastating defeat, we want to point out the obviously revanchist subtext of the Japanese diplomat’s words. We consider it proof that certain forces in the Japanese political establishment keep in mind the possibility of realizing their territorial claims against Russia. We recommend that they forget about such an “option” once and for all.

Statement by the Friends of Crimea International Association on the Situation around Ukraine

We, representatives of the Friends of Crimea International Association, in connection with Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation for Ukraine’s demilitarisation and denazification in accordance with Russia’s treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, affirm the following. All sensible people on Earth realize that Russia cannot feel safe against the backdrop of anti-Russia actions by the nationalist regime in Kiev, the deployment of NATO military facilities in Ukraine, Ukrainian leaders stating their intention to start developing nuclear weapons as blackmail, and the US and NATO refusing to guarantee that the alliance will not expand further. The last straw for Russia’s patience was the shelling of Donbass cities and the resulting death toll, which continued to mount even after Moscow’s recognition of the DPR and the LPR, as well as Kiev’s refusal to back down from its plans to “clear out” their territories by force of arms.

Since the founding of our association in 2017, we have issued repeated public calls to stop the blockade of Crimea and the flagrant violations of the rights of its residents, to consider the Russian position and resume constructive dialogue between the West and the Russian Federation, and to respect the principles of equal and indivisible security for both sides.

We share the view expressed by the Russian leadership that Ukrainian nationalists will never forgive the residents of Crimea for the free choice they made in 2014. We agree that the current Kiev regime is prepared to stage armed provocations against the peninsula.

Ukraine’s adventurist project, known as the International Platform for Crimea’s De-occupation, or the Crimean Platform, which the West supported in 2021 and signed as an official document, was bound to sharply exacerbate tensions around the peninsula and the rest of the Black Sea region because its goal was to question and threaten Russia’s territorial integrity. All friends of Crimea who organised in their respective countries demanded that their governments abstain from this provocative venture. Unfortunately, our appeal to stop the world’s unmistakable slide toward armed conflict was not heard either in the United States or in Europe.

As such, we join all peace-loving people on Earth in calling for the elimination of this neo-Nazi hotbed in Europe, in Ukraine, and urging the ruling circles of the United States and other NATO countries to stop the pointless and dangerous actions taken against the people of Crimea and start a constructive dialogue with Russia on ensuring mutual security on an equal basis.

We stand for peace in Europe and the rest of the world and for friendly and equitable relations between all nations.

The anniversary of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

March 5 marks 52 years since the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) took effect. This document is the cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation and one of the pillars of the modern world order in security.

Tested for reliability by decades, the NPT continues to serve the interests of all states, both nuclear and non-nuclear countries, by ensuring international stability and predictability as well as enabling all countries to benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The Russian Federation has always been and continues to be fully committed to this treaty, by taking significant efforts to promote a world free from nuclear weapons. We intend to pursue this noble goal further.

It should be noted that in the current extremely difficult geopolitical circumstances, there are direct threats to the functioning of the NPT. It is deeply alarming that the Kiev regime has started dangerous games, attempting to acquire its own nuclear weapons. These attempts must be stopped.

The 25th anniversary of the IORA

March 7 marks 25 years of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). We want to congratulate our organization – Russia joined it in November 2021 as a dialogue partner – on this remarkable anniversary.

In the past 25 years, the association emerged as an effective multilateral platform for cooperation around the Indian Ocean and became an important element of regional security and sustainable development architecture.

Our country is committed to close practical cooperation in different areas of focus of the IORA, including countering COVID-19 and putting socioeconomic recovery on a steady trajectory.

We are interested in fruitful and pragmatic cooperation based on the principles of equality and respect for the legitimate interests of each state. We are confident that constructive and inclusive cooperation is a mandatory condition of further positive and dynamic development of the Indian Ocean states and response to trans-border challenges.

We wish the association success, prosperity, and new productive achievements.

Answers to media questions:

Question: China must decide where to stand on the situation around Ukraine, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on US-China Relations and former Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew said on Monday. What is your opinion of that call and current relations with China?

Maria Zakharova: The People’s Republic of China, one of the largest global powers, has an independent and balanced foreign policy and can do without the Americans’ arrogant pointers. We can see that Beijing has also taken a balanced attitude to the Ukrainian problem. China has repeatedly called for respecting the principle of indivisible security and has pointed out that trying to ensure regional security by expanding military blocs is unacceptable and that Russia has reasons to be concerned. At the same time, China does not hesitate to tell the truth about the real role of the United States in the Ukrainian crisis, whose actions have provoked a dramatic aggravation. Chinese representatives at the UN have been consistently upholding this position.

The calls by senior US officials to choose a side in the conflicts Washington itself is fuelling and financing is a shopworn method of Anglo-Saxon diplomacy, which has been based on the “divide and rule” principle for centuries. The Americans have been using this unscrupulous tactic not only in Europe but also in absolutely all international situations that include an element of the sides’ disagreement. It is obvious that China has not risen to the bait.

Our relations with our Chinese friends are based primarily on mutual respect, mutual trust and a balance of the partners’ main interests. We greatly appreciate Beijing’s readiness to take an objective and unbiased stand on the Ukrainian issue. We will continue to maintain close ties on the entire range of international and regional issues in the spirit of strategic partnership.

Question: When will Russia announce its response measures to the expulsion of 12 diplomats from the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York? Will the response be symmetrical?

Maria Zakharova: I would like to note that comment on this subject was posted on the Foreign Ministry website yesterday.

I can add that the United States continues pushing Russian representatives out of UN bodies in violation of all arrangements and its own obligations under the UN Charter and the Host Country Agreement.

One of the expelled 12 diplomats from Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN is the last Russian officer officially assigned to the Office of Military Affairs at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. At the same time, Washington has refused to issue visas to other candidates from the Russian Defence Ministry who have long been approved for their positions.

They are doing this with the silent agreement of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Secretariat, the obedient extras to the lawless policy. We are not going to tolerate this, and we have announced openly that we will respond at the bilateral level, for example, by targeting the quota of the US diplomatic presence in Moscow, which is still calculated based on the number of our personnel at the UN.

We could also expel US diplomats, although we don’t want to do this again. But Washington’s insolence and unwillingness or inability to come to an agreement may leave us no other choice.

We urge the US to act reasonably and to stop escalating the situation.

Question: How can you comment on Sofia’s decision to expel two Russian diplomats? When will we reciprocate? Why was that decision taken yesterday?

Maria Zakharova: On March 2, the Bulgarian authorities declared two diplomats at the Russian Embassy in Sofia persona non grata. As before, no reasonable explanation for that decision or any proof of our diplomats’ “inappropriate” activities have been provided. The local media have launched a frenzied propaganda campaign.

Considering that this latest attack on Russian diplomats in Bulgaria was synchronized with similar unfriendly actions in several other countries, we regard this as part of an unprecedented and impudent Western campaign to demonize Russia.

We regard this decision as a brazen provocation, especially in view of the fact that the Sofia authorities took this step on the eve of March 3, a sacred day in our common history: the anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman rule as a result of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878.

Russia reserves the right to take response measures.

Question: On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it welcomed talks between

Russia and Ukraine. How do you assess the possibility of settling the crisis around Ukraine via talks? What could be the key to resolving this crisis, from Russia’s perspective?

Maria Zakharova: Speaking about talks, both sides have to want to take part in them to begin with. You can see how inconsistent they are in their statements: they don’t want to participate, it would be hard to get there, they got lost on the way, they are tired and so on. We can see clearly that this is done to slow down the negotiation process. So, if they want to talk and reach agreements, we have been ready and open from the very beginning.

I would like to note once again that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov answered this question in detail today.

Question: According to the official spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, China and Russia will continue to cooperate in the trade as usual. Would you like to comment on this?

Maria Zakharova: We share the Chinese ministry’s point of view in this. Relations between Russia and China are an example of neighborly, mutually beneficial cooperation, and our trade and economic ties are long-term, strategic, and not affected by the political situation at any given moment.

The trends in bilateral trade show that there is enormous potential for further growth. Last year trade grew almost one-third and set a new record, $140 billion. The heads of state set a goal of significantly increasing it.

We intend to continue deepening our strategic cooperation in energy, which is of great importance for ensuring the economic security and successful development of the two countries. During President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s visit to China on February 4, 2022, Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation signed a contract to supply gas from the Far East. Plans are being developed to expand exports of Russian energy products to China. Extensive cooperation prospects can be seen in the peaceful use of nuclear power, where we and our Chinese partners have significant experience of successful cooperation.

We will continue to focus on large joint projects in various spheres, including in the Russian Far East. The intergovernmental commission has set a list of several dozen prospective investment goals. All of them will be supported and implemented consistently.

There are agreements to further develop and deepen cooperation in the sphere of space, science and innovations, as well as ICT and other high-tech fields, in transport. We can see major potential in agriculture, above all in increasing the volume of Russian agricultural products supplied to China.

We believe that in this difficult situation we and China, which also speak out against unilateral restrictions, will be able to ensure the stable and progressive development of bilateral economic cooperation.

I would also like to stress that the West (which, of course, has many faces, and many of its elements are not independent), this Anglo-Saxon world would never stop. It needs resources in all senses of the word: energy, finance, human, ideological, all kinds of resources. It’s like an insatiable monster that consumes everything in its path for its own satisfaction and survival. They won’t stop with us or with China. A real sanction war broke out against China, though Beijing fulfilled all its economic contracts and responsibilities in good faith. It began on quite a limited scale with us, but it was clear that these sanctions would escalate. Today they have stopped hiding their true goal. This goal is to destroy us from the inside: the economy, finance, society, and so on. They won’t stop there, they will keep going through the world, destroying everything in their path. In fact, this is what they always do.

Question: Andrey Kozyrev tweeted this message to you and your colleagues the other night. He said you were professionals and not cheap propagandists. “When I was at the Foreign Ministry, I was proud of my colleagues. Now it’s impossible to support this bloody, brother killing war in Ukraine.” He called on all Russian diplomats to resign in protest. Mr. Kozyrev obviously was the first foreign minister of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Empire. Would you resign and stop spinning cheap propaganda?

Maria Zakharova: We posted a comment on this on social media. Haven’t you seen it?

Question: Yes, but I would like to get your answer on the record, if possible.

Maria Zakharova: But that was our answer. You can quote directly from it, so I don’t have to read it again. You know what? Do you remember what years Andrey Kozyrev served as Foreign Minister?

Question: Yes, but I remember very vaguely. It was a long time ago.

Maria Zakharova: Indeed, but we remember this time very well. As a matter of fact, he served as Foreign Minister from October 1990 until January 5, 1996. You may remember that his years in this position coincided with the horrible events in the North Caucasus. You, British journalists, presented the tragedy in the North Caucasus along the same lines as the quote you just read. You called it a “bloodbath,” a “conflict,” or “Caucasus fighting for democracy and freedom.”

What did Andrey Kozyrev tell you at that time? What did he say when Britain and its Foreign Office received the terrorists and extremists from the North Caucasus, and Margaret Thatcher had tea with them, while Vanessa Redgrave called them Britain’s best friends, including Akhmed Zakayev? Do you know who Akhmed Zakayev is? This is related to your question about propaganda. This was a man who built a propaganda machine to whitewash extremism and terrorism in the 1990s in the Caucasus when Andrey Kozyrev served as Foreign Minister. He was accepted by the British elite who greeted him as a friend. This answers the question of whether you are consistent in following your principles.

I do believe that there is consistency in what you do, but no principles. Learn your history and read Andrey Kozyrev, but not just on Twitter. Read the statements he made during these years, read how Moscow requested that London and Washington stop supporting terrorists from the North Caucasus. Read Moscow’s calls to the NATO countries, primarily Great Britain, to stop supporting extremism and the bloodbath in the 1990s. When you finish reading this and understand the history of our country, maybe then you will understand the real meaning of what we are doing rather than just using cheap slogans and propaganda-inspired talking points.

Question: I am not using propaganda slogans. I am simply quoting the words of a former foreign minister of Russia saying that it is impossible to support this bloody brother killing war in Ukraine. He called on all Russian diplomats to resign in protest. Would you resign?

Maria Zakharova: I have already answered this question and also explained how we feel about Andrey Kozyrev by reposting the statement by the Foreign Ministry staff on my social media accounts. You say that you do not use propaganda slogans. Did you notice that Mr Kozyrev wrote part of his tweet in English and part in Russian? Which colleagues was he talking to in English? Do you think we have anyone in our Foreign Ministry who does not understand Russian? This is propaganda. When someone writes half a tweet in English, he wants your attention, the Western mainstream media, and wants to get his message through to you, rather than talk to those whom he pretends to address. This is what propaganda is all about. You have an identical position. I will see you at the next briefing since I have big plans on how to respond to your misinformation and fake news.

Question: You say that you are trying to protest civilians, but we have seen one civilian building hit after another, residential blocks, Freedom Square in Kharkov, local government buildings. And we have seen mounting numbers of civilian casualties. Are your soldiers just bad at targeting or you are actually lying about this?

Maria Zakharova: If you are going to ask questions in this manner, I will not speak to you at all. You may direct all your propaganda to your British politicians. Please control yourself here. If you can’t, then don’t pretend to be a journalist.

I have a degree in international journalism, and I know all about asking questions with an implanted position. Please note that the Defence Ministry said from the outset that the campaign is aimed at military infrastructure. As Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today, unfortunately, there are casualties both among servicemen and civilians. It happens, unfortunately. It is amazing that the question is coming from you, a representative of a country that has been carrying out massacres for years and decades in countries that share no borders with you, and it is totally unclear what you were doing there at all.

As for who lies, that’s the UK government, when it supported the campaign to take over Iraq. True, they admitted their lie later but have not apologized or been held accountable.

Question: The municipal building in Kharkov’s Freedom Square is not a military target. Yet it was clearly hit by a missile that destroyed the building. And we have seen any number of residential buildings, blocks of flats, homes, entire villages being wiped out by Russian fire. What I am saying, you know, whether you object to my tone or not, is this bad timing, bad targeting by the Russian military, or are you being disingenuous with the claims that you are not targeting civilians?

Maria Zakharova: And there is the third option: you are saying “either…or”, but maybe these are fakes? Maybe Ukrainian fighters are claiming this is the destruction caused by the Russian Armed Forces while they are the ones doing it, how about that? Please give me specific materials. We will look at them and send them to the Defence Ministry, and they will provide their comments. But what you have to say, judging by how you said it, is pure propaganda.

Question: But why would the Ukrainian military target a municipal building in Kharkov? Is it capable of striking a building like that? Why would it strike its own residential areas?

Maria Zakharova: I told you – please give us the materials and we will comment on this specific case.

Question: Well, we have seen the video. Do you mean you have not seen it?

Maria Zakharova: I do not know what specifically you saw. Give us the materials and we will comment on them. I am not a military expert and do not comment on the course of the campaign.

I am ready, but if you are unable, I will give you the link to the Anti-fake section. Possibly, you will find that the video has already been debunked. In any case, send us the materials. We are prepared to look into them.

Question: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he is sorry that the Western sanctions have failed to freeze all of Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves.

What will happen to Moscow-Brussels relations?

Maria Zakharova: Brussels pushed them into a corner, not just today, but in 2014. The architecture of our interaction with Brussels, from summit meetings to sectoral dialogues, was broken down. They chose to use sanctions against our country, and to wage a real anti-Russia campaign in all spheres under the cover of “strategic communication.” This was their tactic. For example, they forced candidate countries and partner states to express solidarity with anti-Russia statements and sanctions. In fact, this also took place in Ukraine. The policy in Brussels is “you are either with us or against us.” They have not tried a harmonizing approach but have chosen disengagement.

And ultimatums. What started the Maidan rallies in 2013 and 2014? In 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych was the EU’s best friend, the most promising leader who honored his agreements. He attended summits and was met with applause. Nobody left the room when he was there. He was the best friend of the European Union.

Everything changed overnight. His EU friends “saw the light” when he refused to yield to their blackmail regarding the Association Agreement with the EU. Yanukovych postponed the decision until 2014 to compare the possibilities of alignment and integration with the EU to the post-Soviet integration processes in Eurasia. The next day, when he said that he would not sign the agreement immediately but would prefer to postpone it until next year, he became the target of attacks on all sides.

The same is happening to our country now. He was hissed at and called names. The EU did that. They stopped any talks with him and closed all doors on him, and after that, the Maidan rallies began to pressure him into accepting the EU ultimatum and signing the agreement, which did not provide for aligning any processes but for making the choice exclusively in favor of the EU.

The Maidan rallies began with the militants and their Nazi ideology. The UK media had no interest in that. They didn’t ask how many civilian facilities the militants destroyed and how badly the civilian infrastructure was damaged. UK and US journalists walked between burning tires and Molotov cocktails as if in a rose garden, taking pictures of “public wrath.” What was that “public wrath” related to? It was related to one thing only: Brussels and Washington were staging an anti-constitutional coup with their own hands. This is how it began.

Brussels used far-fetched pretexts and open provocations to interfere in our domestic affairs and the internal affairs of countries that share close economic, financial, cultural, political and security ties with us.

During the subsequent years, the EU continued to disregard Russia’s legitimate interests and build up its political and economic pressure on our country. Our persistent calls to use its influence to encourage Kiev to implement the Minsk Package of Measures and stop infringing on the rights of Russian speakers came up against a wall of silence.

The EU policy towards Russia is still based on the Mogherini principles, which were adopted in 2016. They were anti-Russia from the very outset. But it was in 2016, or six years before February 2022. I invite you to read them. They are written in the Cold War language, just like Brussel’s new triad adopted in June 2021: “push back, contain, and engage.” This is what Josep Borrell proposed for our country. As expected, the principle of “selective engagement” has not gained traction. Nobody planned to use it. Instead, there was only pushback, which did nothing to promote stable and neighborly relations in Europe.

In reply to our security guarantee proposals and personal letters from Sergey Lavrov to his counterparts in 37 countries, including EU member states, about compliance with the principle of indivisible security, we received a formal response dictated by the United States. Moreover, it was provided by Josep Borrell and Jens Stoltenberg, although the letters had not been addressed to them.

The EU took the next step on February 27, 2022, when it decided to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. By supplying weapons, the EU, which claims to be a diplomatic alliance, will extend the agony of the Kiev regime and increase the suffering of civilians. This makes one really wonder about the logic, real goals, and soundness of their policy. This is being done through the Europe Peace Foundation. What kind of peace is this?

Brussels has demonstrated the worth of its claims about the rule of law in the EU. It ignored the eight criteria set out in the EU Common Position defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment. That document was adopted in 2008. The Foreign Ministry commented on this violation in a statement on the EU’s role in the developments in Ukraine, which was published on February 28, 2022.

This policy, which can be described as pouring oil on the flames, will not be left unanswered. As for blocking Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves and other EU restrictions, we know that Western hypocrisy is coupled with greed for gain. This is a classic case. Any country across the globe that supports the “wrong” regime, does not behave as expected and elects the “wrong” party or leader is immediately faced with blocked accounts, deposits and reserves, and even the detainment of people who have access to information regarding these accounts. Is this the first time this happened? No, it has always been like that.

Was there a military conflict in Venezuela? No, just the vagaries of politics. But its accounts have been blocked and Venezuela couldn’t have its own money. In principle, they have done no harm to anyone. I don’t imagine what fault could be found with them.

Wrong regime? Wrong oil prices? Wrong oil supply routes?  The wrong pocket where the money lands? Or lack of hegemony by the colonial machine, which is controlling many things but has somehow failed in Venezuela?

The colonial boss has tried to spread its control through Latin America and the Caribbean basin, but some countries, for example, Cuba and Venezuela, managed to avoid it. They have their own resources and their own domestic and foreign policies. The world has seen this happen several times. But can you cite an example when you helped anyone just for a thank you? When you transferred money to Ukraine, it returned within a week to the accounts of Western banks or individuals or was used to buy weapons from the senders. It is a criminal game that has been going on for decades and even centuries. The global markets have reacted with soaring energy prices and plummeting shares of Western companies, which have been badly hit by the severed business ties with Russia. Regrettably, ordinary EU citizens, who are being deceived and have been deceived for years, will pay for this. Brussels officials will not suffer yet, but they will when we adopt measures in reply to the sanctions. I can promise this with my whole heart.

I would also like to add that our relations with the EU will depend on the EU’s understanding of its own interests in stabilizing the situation in Europe and correcting the security imbalances created by NATO’s eastward expansion. They will depend on the EU’s awareness of the need to demonstrate geopolitical independence and to launch a dialogue with Russia based on respect. We will take this into account and formulate our policy accordingly. We will see if they recognize the need for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine and for new realities in the region. We will proceed from this.

Question: The Council of Europe suspended Russia’s rights of representation. PACE President Tiny Kox said that Russia must meet its financial commitments to the Council of Europe. Is this just a question of money? Can you comment on that?

Maria Zakharova: We have already commented on the decision by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to suspend Russia’s rights of representation. This is the result of double standards and the lack of independence of the Strasbourg-based organization at the same time.

There is no historical precedent for denying one of the Council of Europe member states the possibility of taking part in the work of its statutory bodies for carrying out a military operation. NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia, or their invasion of Iraq and Libya, or Mikhail Saakashvili’s military venture in South Ossetia, or the eight years of genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime against civilians in Donbass – nothing has elicited a radical response of this magnitude from Strasbourg. The reason is clear: this is something close to their heart, so close that they can’t even smell it. This “capital of human rights” did everything to turn a blind eye to the crimes of the Ukrainian nationalists. However, when our country finally decided to put an end to this outrage, the Council of Europe rushed to “punish” us in this strange and awkward manner. At the same time, they are also demanding that we honor our obligations, including our financial commitments, which is the most incredible part of this whole story.

This is unacceptable. We do hope that Strasbourg scratches its head, at least a little bit. If they do, they will understand the extent to which its decision will hurt the Council of Europe. I will not announce a final decision; let’s wait for their response. However, we have several options on the table in terms of responding to these steps.

We are also aware of the statements by Tiny Kox, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I will not challenge his statements from this rostrum. Engaging in an indirect debate with him is not my intention. All I want to do is point out to PACE leadership, just as a historical reminder, that one of the slogans preceding the United States’ War of Independence was “no taxation without representation.”

There have been other situations in the history of relations between Russia and the Council of Europe similar to the one we have today. The most recent example is 2014. When Crimea reunited with Russia, the Parliamentary Assembly of this organization was hysterical. It suspended the voting rights of the Russian delegation and prevented it from sitting in its governing bodies or observing elections. In response, our country stopped paying its membership fees. Since Russia is one of the biggest contributors to the budget of this organization and accounts for about 10 percent of its revenue, this was quite a heavy blow for the Council of Europe. Within a year, the organization changed its mind and restored the Russian parliamentary delegation’s rights.

We strongly believe that the obligation for a state to pay contributions to the budget of the Council of Europe arises from the possibility to fully participate in its activities. By taking the decision to suspend Russia’s rights, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe must understand the consequences. Back in 2014, we had the same conversation about money, contributions, and how they correlate with enjoying our full rights. Our representatives discussed this with the representatives of the Council of Europe in every detail for hours, days, and even months. Therefore, by deciding to suspend Russia’s rights of representation, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe must understand the consequences, including in financial, administrative, and legal terms.

Question: Are there any international agencies in which Russia’s membership may be suspended or eliminated altogether?

Maria Zakharova: I don’t know. I cannot answer this question now. We did not have such plans. This was invented long ago. I’m referring to the UN Security Council and other agencies. We are told we are not eligible for membership in one agency because we are too big, and cannot enter another one because our economy is too small. It has been like this for decades. Instead of resolving issues together, working and building relations we have to face confrontation all the time with different groups of countries. They are always displeased with something. It is a classic already.

There was never a different approach. Everything went well only with Andrey Kozyrev. When he said Russia had no national interests, everyone applauded him, everyone agreed with him. But we must make a choice: either we have national interests and not everyone will applaud us, or we don’t have them. As soon as we declare this and agree to everything that is being imposed on us, and that glaringly contradicts the essence of our history, state, and culture, we will receive thunderous applause. They will praise us. We will be extolled to the skies. We will be awarded medals not for some achievements but just for the heck of it. We have already been through all this. We tried to trust them and understood that this was not the way to go. This happened many times. We tried to assert our right to exist at all kinds of talks. We are seeing the result: talks have stopped on all fronts. Apparently, talks about our existence have never been part of the West’s plans. Did this start in the absence of the Cold War and bloc confrontation? No, this may have gone on for centuries. Read letters by Ivan the Terrible to his British partners. Like we are saying now he said then that they had not fulfilled any of their commitments on trade, nor kept a single promise. Each time the situation follows the same scenario. We do all we can, we are patient, we persuade, we invite them to the negotiating table, we talk and we find a compromise. In some cases, we modify our positions, making concessions or suggesting exchanges. But then they come up with a provocation or present us with the terms that do not leave us a choice, considering these terms threaten our existence.

What are security guarantees? This issue boils down to our existence. Maybe it’s worth following Britain’s example − a preventive strike and interference in the internal affairs of those states that do not accommodate UK economic interests. People simply “disappear” both inside and outside Britain. They disappear as if they never existed. What happened with White Helmet member James Le Mesurier that carried out orders? What about the Skripals? Have they been found? No. Are they alive? Where are they? Who has seen them? Nobody has seen them. Nobody knows anything. They performed the role assigned to them and disappeared from the face of the Earth. Scotland Yard has been investigating this case for many years. So what? According to British logic, this is unimportant: No body, no case. Millions of people were killed in Iraq. They don’t care about anything at all. Not a single international institution replied. Everything is blocked. Everybody is silent. All they are saying is that they were doing all they could to bring democracy to the region. But the region is bad and democracy didn’t take hold. They crippled the Middle East and North Africa. What hadn’t they done there? They divided the whole of Africa with a ruler when they had to give up colonies, or else they would have never given them up.

Question: Referring to a high-ranking Pentagon official, Politico reported that the US Defence Department expressed its desire to establish a communication channel with Russia against the backdrop of the situation in Ukraine. It may be patterned after a model the sides established in 2015 for settling the situation in Syria. Has Moscow received this proposal from Washington? Will it help establish a constructive dialogue between the sides?

Maria Zakharova:  And why are you interested? Don’t you want to connect to these channels? This is not an issue for the Foreign Ministry. This as a leak from the other side, so ask it. We have never rejected contacts, all the more so when other countries request them.

Question: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan paid a two-day visit to Moscow last week and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During their meeting, they discussed the Pakistan Stream pipeline project and the expansion of trade. How does Russia assess working relations with Pakistan after this visit? What did they manage to agree on?

Maria Zakharova: The visit you are talking about took place on February 23-24. It was the first visit by a Pakistani head of government to Russia in a bilateral format in 23 years. It gave a good impetus to the fast-growing Russian-Pakistani ties. Moscow and Islamabad showed determination to build up multifaceted cooperation even amid the tense international situation.

The Ukraine discussion was high on the meeting agenda. The Pakistani Prime Minister accepted with understanding our argument about the circumstances that have forced Russia to take this stance with our Western partners regarding the situation in Ukraine, security guarantees, Kiev’s genocide against millions of people living in Donbass, manifestations of neo-Nazi ideology and so on.

The leaders agreed to expand trade and economic cooperation with a focus on energy. They expressed mutual interest in signing commercial documents on the flagship project, the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline, in the near future. This will greenlight its practical implementation. Both parties agreed there are good prospects for LNG supplies to Pakistan and modernization of Pakistani railways.

They also agreed to tighten cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the drug threat, taking into account the growing activity of a number of terrorist groups, primarily ISIS and Al-Qaeda in South Asia. They decided to continue the regular Friendship exercises, the Arabian Monsoon naval exercises, and contacts at the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

The two countries’ leaders expressed a unanimous opinion on the need to stabilize Afghanistan by forming an inclusive government, taking into account the interests of all ethnic and political groups, as well as assisting that country in order to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. They agreed to maintain cooperation at specialized international and regional platforms.

Question: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky signed an executive order introducing temporary visa-free regulations for foreign nationals who will travel to Ukraine to fight the Russian army. Western countries support Ukrainians in every possible way, and are saying they must protect their sovereignty, while at the same time when young people in Kashmir raise their voices for their rights and freedom,

Europe calls them terrorists. What can you say about Europe’s double standards? Maria Zakharova: You are aware of our position with regard to the Kashmir issue. It remains unchanged. We consistently advocate resolving the existing differences between Islamabad and New Delhi by political and diplomatic means on a bilateral basis in accordance with the provisions of the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration.

Western duplicity is nothing new and shows absolutely in all matters. At some point, they claimed that the idea of militants from other countries participating in an armed conflict is unacceptable for them, but we have seen vast numbers of examples where they were outraged by the fact that Russian nationals, and maybe not only them, were allegedly participating in the conflict. They said it was unacceptable. Today, the Kiev regime said that Europe, its Euro-Atlantic structures, promised to send 16,000 volunteers to Ukraine. Of course, they will be armed volunteers. You know what the consequences will be. You represent a region that has become hostage to this colonial line of thinking. When the British were leaving it, they shaped the situation so as to keep these countries hostage to this imperial thinking. I can say right away that if the NATO countries, the European Union, and the United States send mercenaries there, then in a very short time these mercenaries will return to them. Only they will be totally different people then. They will have tasted blood by then. Now, once again I will revisit the 1990s, to which my British colleague sent me his question today. They were sending militants and terrorists to the North Caucasus via the Middle East, Central Asia, directly via Europe, NATO countries, and the Mediterranean. We are aware of it. We are aware that numerous militants were sent there and that they gave them weapons. We are aware of other developments and the use of illegal drugs to control these people. What happened next? When Russia was dealing with terrorists on its own territory with jeers coming from the West, all the West was thinking about was how to save the lives of terrorists. They criticized us and told us we had no right to do it. They told us it was “a humanitarian disaster.” Our region was aflame and terrorist attacks were perpetrated all over the country, which for them was a humanitarian disaster. God forbid we dare touch terrorist cells in the North Caucasus which were financed by the West. When our internal counterterrorism operation began to bring about effective results, and this terrorist scum was pressed against the hills and mountains, they started fleeing to these very countries, primarily, northern Europe, Britain, and Scandinavia. You know what? Several years later, in the mid-2010s, the same countries that hosted terrorists from the North Caucasus officially contacted us asking what to do now. You know the way they think better than us. They were asking for advice and the help of our specialists. They were ready to conduct joint operations. They even wanted us to take them away since they had no idea of what to do with them. They provided shelter to many radicals under the guise of refugees and settled them in compact areas. Five to six years later, they were horrified by what was happening there and ran to us asking to help and save them, which we did.

It will play out the same way now. Look, 3,000 Iraqi migrants, people with money who could afford a plane ticket, trained professionals who had savings, arrived at the Belarusian-Polish border in search of a better chance to fulfill their potential. They were neither fundamentalists nor terrorists. They had all kinds of papers. They had officially issued entry documents, they bought tickets and responded to the “call” of the European Union (which has been encouraging them to look for a better life for many years) and were on their way to Berlin. Did you see how it ended? They were afraid to even of these 3,000 people. They gassed them, blinded and deafened them by light and sound, and did everything to prevent children, women, and civilians from entering the EU. Why? Just because Europe is already suffocating from the problem posed by migrants from the Middle East.

The Iraqis who came to Belarus to the EU borders, the refugees who have for decades been coming from the Middle East through the Mediterranean, Italy, and Greece are the result of the experiment conducted by the West (the United States, Britain, and NATO countries) on these regions.

Another experiment they are planning to conduct will have a bloody ending for them. They are handing out weapons to militants and ordinary people who have never fought under the banner that it is supposedly necessary to fight back the aggression and to defend themselves. This is being said by the Kiev regime, which simply formulated the ideology of aggression throughout the country. This experiment won’t end just like that. Europe, which is about to supply weapons and armed militants to them, will get them back just as they got the White Helmets back. Remember, they controlled them from London. Remember the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights? Where is it headquartered? London. It controlled the White Helmets movement. The White Helmets in Syria received instructions from London, Brussels, and the United States from there. And they received money, too, which is an established fact.

Under the guise of humanitarian organizations, they did all kinds of things there. When this outrage was over (also thanks to the efforts of the Russian Armed Forces), the White Helmets asked their sponsors (who promised to take them to their respective countries) to deliver on their promise, because no one needed them in Syria. They knew they would be killed there, just like James Le Mesurier “accidentally” died there. And that is the end of it. What did the West do to them? It tried to send them to Jordan or other countries. Why? Because they know who they are getting. The only difference is that the Middle East is separated from Europe geographically. These are different continents.

Here we share the same continent. Thanks to these countries’ policies, the borders with Ukraine are open. Let them not say later that these armed militants who will go back (and they will) to these countries have become an unpleasant “surprise” for them. We warned them.

Question: What can Russia do or has already done to set off the effect of the information war that is being zealously waged against it?

Maria Zakharova: There are some natural disasters that we can foresee and take measures to protect ourselves from. And there are those that all we can do is wait for them to be over and try to survive. The problem is not with us or with our position. The information war unleashed by the West is fatal to it. They are killing their media and the ability of their countries and people for critical thought. They are killing democracy because if it is based on the media of propaganda and does not allow for opinions, it is not a democracy and it cannot be lasting.

The Western world has opted for this type of [political] setup – one without an alternative – as its priority. They ruled out the possibility of making adjustments to democracy or gaining a new perspective on it. Pure democracy as it is. If they blackout media, block internet platforms, engage in information manipulation and give money to support chosen media outlets in other countries, they can forget about democracy. If there is no alternative to their political system – for decades, people have been taught to give their lives for democracy – everything is doomed.

I do not want to assert this but we are seeing manifestations of these phenomena. We will continue to provide information, refute fake news and respond, whenever we have an opportunity to protect ourselves and our media with retaliatory measures. We will draw yet another conclusion. We will do everything we can. The orgy going on right now must scare those who started it.

Question: How can the deteriorating relations between Russia, the United States, and some European countries affect cooperation in bringing the situation in Afghanistan back to normal?

Maria Zakharova: We believe the existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation formats have proved their worth. Take, for example, the expanded troika format: Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan. Several European players expressed an interest in joining these efforts. Another meeting in this format is scheduled for March 2022. It is about regional security, among other matters. Considering the existing opportunities for the dissemination of information and the speed at which all processes are evolving, we are now putting a broader interpretation on the term “region”.

We noted that under various pretexts, the United States can skip some meetings of the expanded troika, the way it happened in Kabul and Moscow last year. However, this does not have a significant effect on the functioning of this mechanism.

Currently, given the difficult humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the focus of this group’s efforts has shifted to assisting the post-conflict recovery of that country. This testifies yet again to the importance and relevance of this format.

In light of the recent events, we are prepared for any scenarios of our cooperation with the West on Afghanistan. At the same time, no matter what decisions the Americans and Europeans might take regarding this work in the future, it is important not to allow them to shed the responsibility for the deplorable state of affairs in Afghanistan, which is the result of the 20-year military campaign conducted by the United States and its allies in the country.

Question: Iceland has closed its airspace for Russia and is denying entry visas for Russians. There is a danger of an attack on the Russian Embassy in Reykjavík. Iceland’s government made the Atlantic Cargo aircraft available for transporting lethal weapons to Ukraine. Should Iceland expect Russia to retaliate?

Maria Zakharova: Your question contains so much that I can answer using the same words.

It does indeed contradict the obligations assumed by individual countries as well as joint obligations. It runs counter to the objectives declared by the Western community, specifically Iceland, on the need to achieve peace in Ukraine. What they are doing will increase the number of casualties in Ukraine and create a threat to the European continent because those weapons will get into the hands of neo-Nazi fighters.

How will we react? The Russian leadership has already spoken about it. I do not represent the Defence Ministry. I cannot give comments. This is beyond my competence. I am not involved in these matters. I can speak on the subjects within the scope of the Foreign Ministry’s activities. We warned them. The response will be worked out.

All this is caused by a profound misunderstanding of the situation on the ground. Since the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbass in 2014, we never saw any concern in Iceland regarding the oppression, loss of life, and hostilities there – what the Kiev regime was doing. How can you care about one part of Ukraine and not care about another? It shows your lack of understanding of what is going on.

Why does every country have to know everything? It doesn’t have to know. It’s all right if a country is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council (or is not a member of major international associations that play a decisive role), distances itself from the public opinion of what is happening, observes from the sidelines even if it concerns something of crucial importance for the security of a region on its continent. It is strange not to notice, but yes, there are countries like that. For certain reasons they were not involved, were unaware. Possibly, they had no experts. They did not even make any attempts to figure things out for themselves. In that case, they should continue to stick to this position.

Since for eight years you didn’t think it was important to find out why people were dying there, then you shouldn’t wake up now. Go on sleeping. And if you’ve decided to wake up now, then you should look at some materials. We have provided enough of them. Study them. You cannot blindly follow someone else’s course and create the feeling of collective condemnation based on one country’s information on an issue that you have no understanding of because it never had any importance for you.

Question: Could you specify what Russia means by the term “denazification”? You have repeatedly referred to the Ukrainian leaders as Nazis and a “nationalist regime.” What does “denazification” mean in this context? Is it changing who is in power or renouncing a kind of rhetoric?

Maria Zakharova: People who profess Nazi logic may be described in theoretical or in practical terms. Much has been written about them in theory.

In practical terms: They took part in combat units that are distinguished by the logos of battalions from World War II or the Great Patriotic War as we call it here. People who collaborated with the Third Reich, including on occupied territories, were turned into national heroes. An atmosphere was created that made it impossible for people of different ethnic origins and religious beliefs to coexist, as they were persecuted for these characteristics. Many of them were okay on their own but the problem emerged in combination. This was not even considered abnormal or an excess. It was the policy of the state. That’s how it was in everyday life.

People with barbaric logic may be found in any society. Like the vandals who desecrate monuments (either out of stupidity or conviction). They are denounced, persecuted, and punished. They are condemned for what they do by society in terms of public morality and also by the state in terms of the law. There are laws against such behavior. Public opinion is strongly against this. The same position is held by different government institutions, executive and legislative authorities, and civil society. This issue is subject to regulation. Any individual or collective action by neo-Nazis is stopped. When they desecrate a monument, local communities, municipalities, and deputies pay close attention. They restore the monument while law enforcement finds the criminals and punishes them. Children are told that this is not the way to go, and newspapers write that it is an isolated example that brings shame on society.

In Ukraine, the picture is the reverse. These are not isolated examples. There are thousands of them. They are not criticized in public. Sometimes, an approach based on historical reconciliation is taken. Why don’t they sit at the same table and make friends? (The veterans who fought against the Nazis and those who were on the side of the Galicia division.) There is an all-or-nothing policy – either ban everything (both the red star and Nazi logos) or allow everything. How come? This is like making peace between Hannibal and his victim. Why not put them in the same room? After all, they are both homo sapiens and will find a common language. Let’s go away and see whether one of them will eat the other. This is the same logic. The ground was prepared at the government level for not putting a stop to it. These nationalist movements were a convenient instrument for achieving their political aims.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin said what to do about all this on February 24 of this year. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials explained in detail the essence of denazification as one of the goals of the special military operation in Ukraine. Its goal is to eradicate Nazism and fascism that made a comeback in Ukraine over seven decades after World War II. They were there. We know. See the film “Ordinary Fascism.” In the past, if this existed, it was driven into a corner or completely rooted out. Whatever some people had in their minds was pushed far back without the possibility of it spilling out. This was Soviet policy towards fascism – zero tolerance, to use the current expression. There was no tolerance of any neo-Nazi manifestations. It was inconceivable.

But they supported all the collaborators and accomplices like the grandfather of Chrystia Freeland, who published a Nazi journal in Poland. He was given a job, food, and accommodation. They periodically used him for their internal purposes and later in the anti-Soviet and anti-Russian struggle.

Despite our detailed explanations, some Western media are trying to distort the meaning of denazification. The day before yesterday, one French television channel interpreted denazification as the intention to fragment, divide and destroy the Ukrainian nation. They took the word “Nazism” at the root of the word and interpreted it to mean a nationality, a nation. This is the level of Western propaganda. A sophisticated distortion. This substitution of “Nazism” for “nation” is highly indicative of Western propagandists. For the past eight years, they either shut their eyes to what was happening or openly encouraged Nazi trends in Ukraine, calling them a “movement for liberation” or a manifestation of “cultural identity.” True, this “cultural identity” emerged there on such a scale during World War II. Previously, if it existed it was manifest in civil confrontation and internal conflicts, including political intolerance. The misanthropic logic never existed. People were fighting, there was a civil war but it was about different classes and social positions. It had nothing to do with one nation’s superiority over others and, as a consequence, not having equal rights.

We would like to point out that since 2014, when the national radicals took power in the country after the unconstitutional coup d’etat, they began to glorify those who collaborated with Nazi Germany. These were members of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA), which openly killed Russians, Poles, Jews, Gypsies, people of other ethnicities, and “objectionable” Ukrainians during World War II.

During the past eight years, the atrocities of the OUN-UPA fighters, who killed thousands of civilians, were presented as “the struggle for freedom.” Streets and stadiums were named in honor of Hitler’s accomplices – Bandera and Shukhevich. We talked about this issue almost every day. Nazi formations – the Right Sector, S14, Trizub, Azov, Donbass, and Aidar, to name a few, were operating in the open in Ukraine. Torchlight processions were held. A torchlight procession is not a carnival with flashlights. It is a Nazi-oriented march with relevant symbols, greetings, and stylistic features. However, not everyone in Europe realizes this. Some of those units were incorporated in the Ukrainian armed forces and sent to Donbass as a combat cell. They looted, raped, and killed. They are responsible for civilian deaths.

Denazification is a historical term. We didn’t invent it. I will cite several examples to show that the world already faced it in the past so that Western journalists stop saying they hear this for the first time. Don’t mix things up. Take denazification of Germany and Austria after World War II. After the war, the victorious Allied powers established the Allied Control Council. One of the goals of Germany’s occupation by these powers, by which the council was to be guided, was “to destroy the National Socialist Party and its affiliated and supervised organizations, to dissolve all Nazi institutions, to ensure that they are not revived in any form, and to prevent all Nazi and militarist activity or propaganda.” (Report about the tripartite Berlin/Potsdam Conference, August 2, 1945, item 3 of section A – Political Principles of Section 3 on Germany). To reach these objectives, the Council adopted Law No. 10 and Law No. 4, which determined the number of individuals subject to denazification and provided for the creation of special judicial bodies to review their cases.

The Council issued Directive No. 38 “Arrest and Punishment of War Criminals, Nazis, and Militarists and the Internment, Control, and Surveillance of Potentially Dangerous Germans.”

Article 139 of the Fundamental Law of Germany provides for the continuation of legal instructions on denazification.

Austria also has a legal base for it. Article 12 of the State Treaty for the Re-Establishment of an Independent and Democratic Austria of May 15, 1955, prohibits former members of Nazi organizations from serving in the Austrian armed forces. In addition, the treaty provides for the return of property of Austrian nationals, including property that had been forcibly removed from the Austrian territory to Germany after 1938, to its owners but makes a reservation: “This provision shall not apply to the property of war criminals or persons who have been subjected to the penalties of denazification measures… (Article 23).

This is just a brief review of historical examples. Everything must be formalized at the legal level.

Question: In view of unprecedented sanctions and Russia’s isolation which, among other things, prevented Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from participating in the UN events in Geneva, does Moscow consider withdrawing or suspending its participation in certain international structures? I am interested, in particular, in Russia’s activities in the OSCE, which you repeatedly criticised in the preceding months and weeks.

Maria Zakharova: I have already spoken about that. We proceed from the fact that some Western ideologists have long been engaged in this work. We are monitoring it. As of yet Russia is not considering withdrawing from or suspending its engagement with the OSCE. We can do that at any time. However, our patience has its limits.

As you may know, in the 1970s Moscow stood at the origins of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a forerunner of this major regional organization meant to become a venue for discussing and taking collective consensus decisions on security issues in the Euro-Atlantic. It hurts to see what the OSCE has turned into. I recall, when I was at university, we studied what OSCE is and the principles it stands for. What I have faced in practice, especially in the past years, is worlds different. The principles have been perverted to the core. It is impossible to believe that the Organisation was founded on certain principles which have been so utterly corrupted by now.

The West has usurped the management of the OSCE bodies since the 1990s so as to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states and impose ultra-liberal concepts and values which are alien to many countries. The Western countries signed OSCE obligations while intending, as we know now, to never follow up on them. The notorious “rules-based order” obligations are meant only for the former socialist countries whereas “developed democracies” are above the law. In other words, some countries owe everything to everyone whereas the latter have only rights and can do whatever they see fit.

The turning point in understanding all of this did not occur yesterday. You have rightly noted that we have been speaking a great deal about it recently, too. If someone has enough patience to go over past events, they will realize that we have been speaking about it for a long time now. In 1999, NATO violated all international norms and OSCE principles when it bombed Yugoslavia and tried to rip Kosovo from it. They were doing it for many years. Just in case, when they need to trample universal norms, the West always has a tested tool which we first qualified as double standards, and now they themselves called it “constructive uncertainty.” When a clear-cut wording can be turned into a murky passage that doesn’t entail (from their point of view) any commitments, that’s what they obviously think the constructive uncertainty is. Even though everything is written on paper and all the principles are clearly laid out.

OSCE members have been after the Russian media outlets in the past years and especially the past months, making them experience all the beauty of the Western interpretation of “liberalism.” Many media outlets had Westerners among their staff who worked there as equals and expressed views not as NATO countries’ citizens but as journalists. And not even expressed a position but just did their job.

As a result, the OSCE failed to take advantage of the historic opportunity to strengthen its international standing by assisting in the settlement of the intra-Ukrainian crisis. Instead, the Western OSCE members used the Vienna-based organization to cover and justify Kiev’s reluctance to stop the genocide in Donbass by implementing their commitments under the Minsk Package of Measures through a dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission throughout its almost eight-year-long operation in Ukraine failed to report true and impartial information to the world community about the victims and destruction caused by the Ukrainian Army’s and nationalist battalions’ punitive operation against civilians in the DPR and LPR, not to mention of the way they turned a blind eye to gross human rights violations across entire Ukraine. Even the little that they uttered would have been enough to unblock the negotiating process between Kiev, Donetsk, and Lugansk. Yet they did not do it. They did not use any of the opportunities. They kept buzzing, clamoring, and booing whenever Russian representatives tried to make them understand the severity of the situation. The Westerners preferred hostile rhetoric and promoting confrontational bloc-based approaches rather than meaningful in-depth discussions.

Such lopsided pan-European cooperation is sinking into oblivion. This does not mean the OSCE must be buried. We need a forum for equitable and mutually respectful dialogue and cooperation. When the collective West gets over its fits of Russophobia, we will be ready to jointly restore interaction in the Organisation. But we will not do that on the principles that discriminate against Russia and other nations “to the east of Vienna.” A great deal of work lies ahead to revive the true Helsinki Spirit for the OSCE to operate for the benefit of all its member-states without exception.

This will become possible when all countries whose leaders signed the documents of the 1999 Istanbul and 2010 Astana summits are guided by the principle of equal and indivisible security not just in word but in deed, and unconditionally implement their commitment not to enhance their own security at the expense of others’ security. We will be waiting for the West to sober up from the anti-Russia frenzy.

Question: An Indian citizen died in Kharkov. India wants to have safe corridors for its students. Will Russia provide them?

Maria Zakharova: The responsibility of establishing humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of Indian nationals in Ukraine has been assigned to our specialized agencies, which are working on this issue. The question about Indian nationals was discussed during the contact between the two countries leaders. All information on this issue is provided in the comment posted on the Kremlin’s website.

Question: What do you think about the Indian approach to the current developments? Did the Prime Minister of India call for dialogue?

Maria Zakharova: India and its leadership have a weighted, wise and far-sighted position on a number of issues, including a wide range of global and regional issues. That is typical of Indian leadership. They apply this method (I mean the method of a weighted and unbiased approach) in general to the international agenda. It does not mean that there are no problems or differences with other countries. Yet, speaking in general, this is a weighted and far-sighted position, including on the situation in Ukraine.

The Indian leadership has drawn Russia’s attention to the importance of conducting an honest dialogue, which could lead to a compromise in this situation. As for us, we are seeking honesty in the negotiation process on all tracks, not only regarding Ukraine, but we also demand the same attitude from NATO.

Question: They say that the advocates of the so-called European values, those Ukrainian transgender women who registered as men and want to leave Ukraine now are not allowed to do so, because men are not allowed to leave and vice versa, those men who changed their gender can leave.

Please accept most heartfelt greetings from your fellow compatriots on the occasion of the coming first spring holiday, International Women’s Day. We are happy that such smart, kind, and beautiful women as those working at the Foreign Ministry and agencies abroad are with us. You are the best.

Maria Zakharova: Thank you very much. Having such support and seeing such genuine interest in international affairs gives me confidence. I am always in favor of impartiality and professionalism. I think that these qualities and, of course, commitment to the truth have always been key for overcoming even the most complicated situations in life. Life cannot give us a cloudless sky every day. We face various challenges as people, nations, and countries. That’s life. They happen and pass differently, but the difference is how people act in the situation, how decently they behave, think beyond their own current emotions, how much they think about others, and work and act for the benefit of other people. This is one of the main secrets and objectives in life; overcoming obstacles and achieving the results at the level where you can do your best.

Question: How does Russia regard the refusal by Turkey and Georgia to take part in the Western anti-Russia sanctions?

Maria Zakharova: The Western anti-Russia sanctions are illegitimate and adopted without the necessary approvals. However, it is not so much because of the procedure. The sanctions are part of a bigger plan that they did not conceal. These sanctions are unlawful. Sometimes the principle is more important than the damage inflicted by its application. This happens when you stand up for the truth when you work for the benefit of the most important principles of humankind’s existence. But when the sanctions are illegitimate under the law and hypocritical in essence, when the reason for imposing them is to destroy something and to save something else, how can it be tolerated that they do harm even to those who impose them. This is absurd, foolish, and short-sighted, let alone indecent. Unfortunately, this term has been lost by many in international affairs. However, the behavior should at least try to follow logic somehow.

I hope that I have answered all your questions.

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