Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister, also stated that Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities and other critical infrastructure were meant to weaken Ukraine’s military potential as well as derail Western weapon shipments.
“You should not say that the U.S. or NATO aren’t participating in this war. In a video conference with reporters, Lavrov stated that you are directly involved in the conflict. “And not only by providing weapons, but also by training personnel. You train their military on your territory.
He stated that the barrage of missiles, drones, and artillery fire that has left millions of Ukrainians without heat, water, or power was meant to “knock down energy facilities that permit you to continue pumping deadly weapons into Ukraine to kill the Russians.”
Lavrov stated that the infrastructure targeted by these attacks was used to increase the combat potential for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Nationalist Battalions.
The West and Ukraine accuse Russia of attacking key infrastructures in civilian areas in order to lower morale, to make Ukraine’s population suffer in winter, and to force Kyiv to enter into peace negotiations with Moscow.
Kherson, the southern city that Russia’s forces took in the first days of the conflict, was one of the targets. The Russian bombardment of the newly liberated city on Thursday, just days after its restoration, cut off power.
The Russian government declared Kherson and three other areas part of Russia’s territory, weeks before the Ukrainian forces were able to reclaim the region. This was in response to “referendums” Ukraine and the West had rejected as fakes.
When Lavrov was asked how strikes on infrastructure in Kherson or other areas are compatible with Moscow’s stated goal of protecting Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population (and the reasons for the strikes), he replied that he had drawn parallels to the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II.
He said, “The city of Stalingrad was also part of our territory and we beat them to make them flee.”
Lavrov said that Moscow is open to talks about ending the conflict. He said, “We never requested for talks, but we always said that our willingness to listen to anyone who is interested in a negotiated solution”
The Kremlin has asked Ukraine to recognise Crimea, which Moscow annexed in Ukraine in 2014 as part of Russia, and to recognize other land gains made by Russia since its February 24th invasion of Ukraine. It has also demanded that Ukraine not join NATO.
Lavrov answered that it was possible to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that he didn’t deny that contacts are important. He also said that he hadn’t heard of any serious ideas.
Lavrov stated that U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken raised the topic of American citizens in Russia during a telephone call. However, he pointed out that Putin and Biden had agreed to create a separate channel for communication between special services to address the issue at their meeting in Geneva in June 2021.
He said, “It’s working and I hope some results will be achieved.”
Biden’s administration tried for months to negotiate Brittney Griner, WNBA player, and Paul Whelan (Michigan corporate security executive), release from Russian prison. This could include a possible swap with Moscow.
Lavrov commented on Russia’s decision not to hold a round of talks with the United States about nuclear arms control. It was supposed to be held this week.
He stated that Russia’s goal was to destroy or defeat Russia on the battlefield. “How is it possible that the goal of defeating Russia does not have strategic stability significance, given that they want to destroy an important strategic stability actor?”
Lavrov lashed out at the U.S., NATO allies and their NATO allies during the 2 1/2 hour-long online news conference. He accused them of violating international law and trying to destroy and isolate Russia.
He said that the U.S. tried to dissuade other countries, including India from maintaining close ties, but these efforts have failed.