RUSSIA – UKRAINE UPDATE1
MG Paul E. VALLELY
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that a new foreign policy strategy adopted by President Vladimir Putin identifies the West as posing an “existential” threat to Moscow. The announcement comes as Russia’s relationship with Western countries has plunged over Russia’s decision to deploy troops to Ukraine last year.
“The existential nature of threats to the security and development of our country, driven by the actions of unfriendly states, is recognized” in the policy, Lavrov said during a televised meeting of Russia’s security council.
“The United States of America is directly named as the main instigator and driver of anti-Russian sentiment,” he added.
“The West’s policy of trying to weaken Russia in every possible way is charac-terized as a hybrid war of a new type,” the foreign minister added.
Putin said updates to Russia’s global engagement strategy were necessary due to “radical changes” in the world, announcing he had formally adopted.
Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday warned Ukraine that it must demilitarize, threatening further military action and falsely accusing Kyiv and the West of fueling the war that started with Moscow’s invasion.
Sergey Lavrov said Ukraine must remove any military threat to Russia – other-wise, “the Russian army (will) solve the issue.” His comments also reflected persistent unfounded claims by the Kremlin that Ukraine and its Western allies were responsible for the 10-month war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
Russia launched the war on Feb. 24, alleging a threat to its security and a plot to bring NATO to its doorstep. Lavrov reiterated on Tuesday that the West was feeding the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia and said that it depends on Kyiv and Washington how long the conflict will last.
“As for the duration of the conflict, the ball is on the side of the (Kyiv) regime and Washington that stands behind its back,” Lavrov told the state TASS news agency. “They may stop senseless resistance at any moment.”
In an apparent reaction, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted, “Russia needs to face the reality.”
“Neither total mobilization, nor panicky search for ammo, nor secret contracts with Iran, nor Lavrov’s threats will help,” he said. “Ukraine will demilitarize the RF (Russian Federation) to the end, oust the invaders from all occupied territories. Wait for the finale silently…”
A day earlier, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Associated Press in an interview that his government wants a summit to end the war but doesn’t anticipate Russia taking part.
Kuleba said Ukraine wants a “peace” summit within two months with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres as mediator. But he also said that Russia must face a war crimes tribunal before his country directly talks with Moscow.
Both statements illustrate how complex and challenging attempts to end the war could be. Ukraine has said that it would not negotiate with Russia before the full withdrawal of its troops. At the same time, Moscow insists its military gains and the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula cannot be ignored.
Testifying to the hardships of war, families of Ukrainian prisoners of war believed held by Russia on Tuesday said the Christmas holiday season is harrowing and appealed for more to be done to bring their loved ones back home.
Neither Ukraine nor Russia have revealed the exact numbers of POWs they hold, while hundreds have been released as part of prisoner exchanges. Iryna Latysh’s husband Yevhen was captured precisely 300 days ago, in the early days of the war, and she says Christmas isn’t the same without him.
“We were decorating the Christmas tree together this time last year,” she sobbed. “We put the star together, the decorations.”
U.N. human rights investigators have warned that Ukrainian POWs appear to face “systematic” mistreatment – including torture – when captured and transferred into areas controlled by Russian forces or Russia itself.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting continued Tuesday in the Russia-claimed Donetsk and Luhansk regions, recently the scene of the most intense clashes.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that Russian forces are trying to encircle the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region but without success. Heavy battles are also underway around the city of Kreminna in the Luhansk region, Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said.
In the partially occupied southern Kherson region, Russian forces shelled Ukrainian-held areas 40 times on Monday, wounding one person, Ukrainian authorities said. The city of Kherson itself – which Ukraine retook last month in a major win – was targeted 11 times, said regional administrator Yaroslav Yanushevich.
Since its initial advances at the start of the war ten months ago, Russia has made few major gains, often pummeling Ukraine’s infrastructure instead and leaving millions without electricity, heating, and hot water amid winter conditions.
Lavrov didn’t specify how the Russian army would achieve its goals of demilitarizing and “denazifying” Ukraine – which was Russia’s stated goal when the invasion started in February. The reference to “denazification” comes from Russia’s allegations that radical nationalist and neo-Nazi groups heavily influence the Ukrainian government. Ukraine and the West deride the claim.
Lavrov warned that further Western support for Ukraine could lead to confrontation.
“We keep warning our adversaries in the West about the dangers of their course to escalate the Ukrainian crisis,” he said, adding that “the risk that the situation could spin out of control remains high.”
“The strategic goal of the U.S. and its NATO allies is to win a victory over Russia on the battlefield to weaken or even destroy our country significantly,” he said.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning oil exports to countries that support a $60-per-barrel price cap declared by the European Union and Group of Seven countries to reduce Moscow’s revenue during wartime. The ban takes effect in February and will run through July.
The price cap is higher than what Russian oil has sold for in recent weeks, so the potential effects of Putin’s ban are uncertain.2,3
New York [US], March 31 (ANI): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will chair an open debate at the UN Security Council on April 24 to discuss the contours of the new world order and effective multilateralism in defence of the organization’s Charter principles as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council, Moscow’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said in an interview with TASS on Friday.
“We expect Sergey Lavrov to arrive in New York in the second half of April. He will chair an open debate on April 24 on the topic of effective multilateralism through the defense of the principles of the UN Charter. Our idea is to hold a comprehensive, forward-looking strategic discussion about the contours of a new world order coming to replace the unipolar one,” he pointed out.
“We call on UN members to look beyond the horizon of the current moment and present their vision of how we could build a truly multipolar world through joint efforts, in which the interests of all states would be guaranteed. To do this, it is important to discuss protecting the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, inclu–ding the sovereign equality of states. This conversation is long overdue,” the Russian envoy added.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing reiterated Moscow’s stance regarding multilateralism. According to her, this issue is becoming more and more relevant against the backdrop of increasingly active attempts by several countries to subordinate the UN exclusively to their interests, an in the future to “completely undermine the UN-centric system of international relations,” replacing it with the odious concept of “a rules-based world order.” “Let me remind you that no one has ever seen the rules,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has called for Russia to be removed from Security Council over the military operation launched in February last year and condemned its presidency next month as a ‘bad joke’.
Ukraine earlier criticized the upcoming change in the presidency at the UN Security Council. ’ Russian UN Security Council presidency on April 1 is a bad joke’, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter. “Russia has usurped its seat; it’s waging a colonial war; its leader is a war criminal wanted by the ICC for kidnapping children,” Kuleba said. “The presidency rotates every month between the 15 member states. Russia last chaired the council in February 2022. In April, Russia assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council. Russia would hold little influence on the decisions but would oversee setting the agenda of the international body”.
During Russia’s chairmanship in the UNSC, a meeting of the council is planned to be held on the violation of military products export agreements, Zakharova said:
“As one of the main events during this period, our delegation plans to hold a meeting of the Security Council on April 10 on the topic ‘risks generated by the violation of agreements on the regulation of military products exports.’ In the current conditions, we are convinced of the need for a thorough analysis of the consequences of non-compliance with contractual obligations for the so-called end user in military supplies and discussion of ways to counter such destructive steps,” Zakharova said. (ANI). 4
1 This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. The Print holds no responsibility for its content. Released and Distributed by the Stand Up America US Foundation. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
By MG Paul E. Vallely, Chairman Stand Up America US Foundation. Launched a year ago National Security and Domestic Affairs websites: www.standupamericaus.org; www.standupamericaus show.com
2 By AFP – Agence France Presse March 31, 2023
3 Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.
4 This report is auto generated from ANI news service. The Print holds no responsibility for its content. New York [US], March 31 (ANI): Subscribe to The Stand Up America US Foundation www.standupamericaus.or