MOSCOW (AA) – The goal of Moscow’s special military operation is to demilitarize Ukraine, Russia’s foreign minister said Wednesday.
Once Ukraine has been demilitarized, the Ukrainians “must decide themselves how they will live,” Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV channel.
All people living in Ukraine must have a say in this matter, he stressed.
Lavrov said Russia recognizes Volodymyr Zelenskyy as Ukraine’s legitimate president, although “he lied to the people” with his promise to end the country’s civil war.
Lavrov said Zelenskyy’s demand for security guarantees is “a positive step” and Russia is ready to discuss the issue during the second round of talks with Ukrainian officials.
However, he said the second round may not happen because Kyiv is waiting for Washington’s nod.
Lavrov harshly criticized the West’s reaction to Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine, pointing out that no one had come to the defense of Iraq, Libya, Syria and other nations that faced NATO’s military interventions.
The US and other Western countries believe that “only they are entitled to invade sovereign states,” he added.
No one raised a voice to point out that NATO’s invasion of Middle Eastern countries is a violation of international law, an absolutely groundless outbreak of hostilities, he said.
The minister said Moscow was ready for sanctions but did not expect measures affecting sports and cultural and humanitarian ties. Russia is capable of resisting any pressure and history proves this, Lavrov asserted.
Lavrov said it could be possible that Russia was pushed into the conflict with Ukraine so that the US could deal with China while Moscow is busy with its own issues.