(Continued from above)
First and only Polish cosmonaut Miroslaw Hermaszewski passes away
We were deeply saddened to hear that Miroslaw Hermaszewski, one of the most prominent Polish contemporaries, the first, and so far, only Polish cosmonaut, Hero of the USSR, passed away on December 12.
The fate of the man who opened the road to the stars for the Poles reflected the heroic and difficult way that our states walked side by side in the 20th century.
Miroslaw Hermaszewski was born in the Nazi-occupied Ukrainian SSR. In 1943, he survived the Volhynia Massacre when the Banderite accomplices of the Nazis killed his grandfather and father, as well as many of his relatives and neighbours, tens of thousands of Soviet people – Poles, Russians, Jews and Ukrainians.
In Poland, the Hermaszewski family, despite the hardships, managed to raise a true patriot of his country, a talented pilot who learned to fly various types of Soviet planes in the Polish Armed Forces. On June 27, 1978, Hermaszewski carried out a spaceflight, thus etching his name into the history of space exploration.
Amid Russophobic sentiments in Poland in recent years, Miroslaw Hermaszewski remained loyal to the ideals of friendship and neighbourliness between our countries, and spoke for the development of relations with Russia.
We express our deepest condolences to Miroslaw Hermaszewski’s family and friends.
Remembrance Day of Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty
On December 15, our country marks Remembrance Day of Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty. This day was established in 1991 by the Russian Union of Journalists to commemorate Gosteleradio correspondent Viktor Nogin and cameraman Gennady Kurennoy, who were killed when covering the civil war in Yugoslavia.
As per tradition, on this day we honour the memory of the talented and brave reporters, photo journalists and camera operators who honorably gave their lives for this dangerous work and profession. We commemorate those who made their last report from a hotspot, were killed by terrorists or criminals, or who died with a camera or microphone in their hands in times of peace by accident while striving to deliver coverage on location with maximum accuracy. These people, who loved their jobs, remained faithful to their mission and duty.
Every year, new names are added to the sorrowful list of those correspondents who died a premature and unfair death. Unfortunately, 2022 is no exception. Among those killed this year were Darya Dugina, whose life ended prematurely as a result of an unprecedentedly cruel terrorist act by the Kiev regime’s infiltrators, and Oleg Klokov, killed by the Ukrainian military’s precision missile strike at civilians in Kherson. And before them, there were Igor Kornelyuk, Anton Voloshin, Andrey Stenin, Anatoly Klyan and many others. They will never be forgotten. We hope those guilty of their deaths will receive the punishment they deserve.
These deaths, just like the deaths of many other journalists killed in the line of duty are on the conscience of both the actual killers and those who, by their occupation, including senior positions in respectable international organisations, were charged with ensuring compliance with journalism security standards unbiasedly and scrupulously, and who demand that from the Kiev regime, intoxicated with lawlessness, which now pretends that nothing has happened. They remain silent but it does not seem that they feel shame. One must have a conscience to feel shame. But the blood of the journalists is also on the hands of the representatives of international organisations who for many years have appeased the Kiev regime, turned a blind eye on its crimes and thus encouraged it to commit new ones even though they had all the facts. They will not be able to silence these crimes, and we will not allow that.
On this day, I want to wholeheartedly thank all those who walk into the face of danger and into the thick of things to make their valuable reports. I am talking primarily about war correspondents. Please, come back alive and well. Good luck to you.
It is surprising, but the Russian word for war correspondent is a masculine noun. Do you know how many women, including young women, are currently at the real front? They are fighting for truth not at the information front, but in the zone of actual combat action. Before that, they fought for truth in their editorial offices, studies and field trips. Now they are fighting at the frontline.
Please, when you hear the word “war correspondent,” remember that these people are not just hard and strong men, but also women.
Father Frost’s international New Year travel from Veliky Ustyug
The New Year is coming. It is a special holiday, and we are doing our best to use this opportunity to remind humanity that there are things worth preserving on the planet, that we share wonderful traditions.
This year, the Vologda Region government, supported by the Foreign Ministry of Russia, Rossotrudnichestvo and its offices outside Russia, have organised Father Frost’s travel in post-Soviet and other countries. Father Frost had to take connecting flights to European capitals, but he has done so in good health and high spirits.
The students at the Harmony School in Milan welcomed Father Frost with a gala concert. In Navona Square in Rome, Father Frost and the snow maiden, Snegurochka, posed for photos. In Berlin, Father Frost took part in the New Year tree-lighting ceremony at the Russian House of Science and Culture, after which he travelled to Serbia (December 1) and Belarus (December 1-2). Today, Father Frost and Snegurochka are expected in snow-covered Astana. On December 20-21, they will be in Armenia.
The main goal of the project is to support our compatriots residing abroad and children. We stand together with our citizens and always try to give them all the help we can.
Father Frost’s travel also has a major humanitarian aspect. Apart from attending concerts, performances and other public events, official meetings, television and radio shows and news conferences, Father Frost visits children at orphanages, shelters, boarding houses, children’s hospitals, as well as rehabilitation and oncology centres to bring season’s greetings to those who cannot celebrate this holiday with their families at home.
Father Frost also meets with schoolchildren who study the Russian language.
Starting in 2005, Father Frost has gone on a big New Year tour from his residence in the city of Veliky Ustyug in the Vologda Region. He traditionally begins the tour on his birthday, November 18.
This year, Father Frost will visit about 100 cities and towns in Russia.
Father Frost is a traditional Russian symbol of goodness, friendship and New Year miracles, which has been accepted nationwide. We believe that his international tour will bring joy to all children and adults who believe in goodness.
Ladya: Winter Fairy Tale 2022 folk art exhibition-and market
Ladya: Winter Fairy Tale 2022, the country’s largest exhibition and fair for Russian folk arts and crafts, will run on December 14-18, 2022. The grand opening took place on December 14.
Ladya is a unique project showcasing the entire spectrum of folk arts made in Russia. The contributors include art associations as well as individual artists and craftsmen from more than 50 regions of the Russian Federation.
As is traditional, world-famous folk art centres presented their best products this year: Khokhloma and Gorodets, Rostov enamel miniatures, Gzhel, Kislovodsk porcelain, Kadomsky veniz, Vologda, Yeletskoye and Mikhailovskoye lace, Kizlyar, Zlatoust, Kubachi, Zhostovo, Torzhok gold embriodery, Palekh, Kholuy, Mstera, the crafts of the Urals, Yekaterinburg and many others. Other artists, although they might not be widely known outside Russia, also displayed their works, which are nevertheless worthy of being exhibited in the world’s best museums.
The organisers of the exhibition are selfless enthusiasts who continue this important effort despite the many challenges they face. They expose the new generation to the culture and crafts of the peoples of our country. Folk arts help us get to know each other, get to know how people live in our Motherland, and pass on, from generation to generation, those very values, the cultural code and heritage that we are so adamant about protecting today. This is our way – through our unity and culture – to uphold our values and set boundaries.
The Ladya trade fair has emerged as an encyclopaedia of Russian folk culture. Visitors at the exhibition can see not only local crafts from various regions of our country, but also learn about tourist routes that focus on traditional crafts and museums, and make their own folk art project in one of the City of Masters workshops. They can paint on wood, fabric and metal, try pottery, bone carving, stone and wood carving, clay toy modelling, forging, lace weaving and jewellery making.
I highly recommend everyone take their family to see this exhibition. You won't regret it. Everyone finds something new to learn there, both young and old.
More information about the event, the exhibition hours, and contacts for media accreditation can be found on the Russian Folk Arts and Crafts Association website.
Answers to media questions:
Question: The other day, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU countries had failed to coordinate a new package of anti-Russia sanctions. Is this evidence that some EU countries have grown tired of the Brussels**’ policy of sanctions against** Russia**?**
Maria Zakharova: It is becoming increasingly more difficult for the EU countries to explain the benefits of the unilateral sanctions to their own citizens. They cannot explain it, but neither can they place the blame on anybody else. There is no way out of that deadlock. More and more people in Europe are feeling the consequences of the sanctions, which are illegal in terms of international law and destructive to these people and their governments. All the sanctions the EU has adopted “to destroy the Russian economy” have boomeranged at them by increasing inflation and provoking an energy and food crises in the EU itself.
The responsibility for this lies with the EU countries’ political elite, which pretend not to care about the consequences. They do not care about the problems of their own people. Their main goal is to carry on an anti-Russia campaign. But at what cost? They are probably unable to ask themselves this question or come to their senses. They must toe the line of Washington and London (in accordance with bloc discipline) and suppress any reasonable argument about the damning effect of this policy on Europe’s interests. It remains to be seen what this will lead to.
Question: Following the recent hearings, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has approved the nomination of Lynne Tracy as US Ambassador to Russia**. Can you comment on this, please?**
Maria Zakharova: We have seen her remarks in the media. Lynne Tracy, who has been nominated as the next US ambassador to Russia, covered a broad range of Russian-US relations issues in a nearly 90-minute statement to the Senate commission.
She said openly that she would support the White House policy of tightening sanctions against Russia and called for adopting a price cap on our energy resources to reduce Russia’s revenues. She also spoke about the importance of maintaining close ties with the opposition, working with civil society, and reducing Russia’s “malign influence.” Does she really want to come to Russia? Or is she interviewing for a job at a hawkish think tank? Or maybe NATO? Is she really headed to Moscow?
In this context, she cited the example of the South Caucasus (Tracy was US ambassador to Armenia from 2019 through 2022), saying that if Russia withdrew from the region, there would be opportunities for the US to play a stronger role and end the bloodshed.
Lynne Tracy also spoke about strategic stability. According to her, Washington regards the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) “as an instrument of stability” and the Biden administration “is ready to negotiate a new arms control framework to replace New START when it expires in 2026.” However, she added, “we need Russia to allow for inspections to resume under the Treaty before we can have a dialogue on what comes next.”
Every phrase she uttered was a revelation. She knew what the Senators wanted to hear, and we know that the US Senate is strongly Russophobic. Therefore, Lynne Tracy was speaking in accordance with the approved agenda.
We are aware of the anti-Russia atmosphere in the US Congress and its long-established understanding of the proprieties. But a candidate for the post of ambassador, who accepts the tone of this hearings even though it has nothing in common with diplomatic protocol, should have thought twice before making such statements about the country she will be working in. What Lynne Tracy said was her own opinion, which she will bring to Moscow.
It is clear that she was speaking for the domestic audience. A nominee for the post of ambassador in Moscow should have demonstrated resolve to work professionally and constructively to avoid the further (irremediable) worsening of US relations with Russia.
Question: On December 12, US National Security Advisor John Sullivan said during a briefing that US President Joe Biden supported the UN Security Council reform, in particular, granting a permanent seat to one of the African countries. What is Russia**'s stance on this issue?**
Maria Zakharova: The UN Security Council reform agenda has always been a priority for us. We have regularly commented on this subject. We are confident that a United Nations body responsible for maintaining international peace and security – in accordance with the UN Charter – should be fully aligned with current realities. Russia has been actively participating in the relevant intergovernmental talks in New York since their launch in 2009.
We have consistently advocated the expansion of the UN Security Council by adding developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. We believe that they are rightly claiming a more significant role in global affairs, as a multipolar international order emerges. On September 24 this year, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted during the high-level meetings at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly that Brazil and India were strong contenders for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council if it is going to be expanded in both categories of membership.
Answering such questions, we have repeatedly aired our conviction that the African continent should decide on its candidates itself. This is what the African Union is doing. We keep reiterating our approach. It is our fundamental stance.
As for the developed Western states, it has been repeatedly said that they are “overrepresented” on the UN Security Council, including as permanent members. We consider the ambitions of the collective West to get a permanent Security Council seat to be unfounded because they pursue a single policy on all key global issues. This is not due to their unity, but rather to “bloc discipline.”
A good question. How can countries that are part of geopolitical and military-political associations dominated by bloc discipline claim an individual vote under international law? It’s a question for lawyers.
They develop their shared approach for a single vote, but they do not do it through transparent democratic procedures; their “biggest” brother forces others to accept the point of view they need. How legitimate is it for them to be able to vote individually in global international relations (for example, on international security issues)?
Suppose you ask a question at an EU foreign ministers news conference about the European Union’s approach to certain international issues, you will be told that they can only comment on the national agenda, not on global security or international relations issues, because this is up to the EU bureaucracy, which speaks for them with a single voice. If someone speaks for them on matters of principle such as their own security, then maybe the three Western members of the Security Council should be counted as one vote? It's not a statement, it's a question. A question for international lawyers as well. I think this is a topic worthy of study.
Question: The President of France has said in recent interviews with Western media that he played key role in organising the IAEA’s mission to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. What do you think about the French leader’s statements?
Maria Zakharova: Emanuel Macron’s statements are a genre all their own.
To begin with, I would like to say a few words about Russia’s position and actions in this regard. I cannot tell you about all the aspects of the painstaking work of our diplomats, experts and negotiators involved in discussions on the Zaporozhye NPP. It is a fact that we have repeatedly and unambiguously raised the issue of the responsibility of the Kiev regime and the Western countries, which are supplying it with artillery and missile systems, including France, for the continued shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP, which is fraught with a man-made disaster of a planetary scale. We have been speaking about this at every briefing.
We pointed out on several occasions at the top level, including during President Putin’s telephone conversations with President Macron, that a visit of IAEA experts to the plant had been coordinated at our initiative in June 2022. However, that visit was derailed at the last minute by underhanded behind-the-scenes actions that have little to do with concern for the safety of the people.
President Macron is fully aware of that. It is our duty to read all his statements on international security, and we have taken note of his attempts to present the role of France and himself in the situation at the Zaporozhye NPP as very significant. But the truth is that France had no special influence on the IAEA’s mission to the plant, which we approved at the beginning of last summer. As Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, the great compatriot of the French President, said, politics is pretending not to know what everybody knows. As for the French leader’s remark about readiness for a targeted intervention to protect the plant, it needs to be explained, because there can be several interpretations. In this connection, we would like to warn anyone who plans to interfere in the special military operation in Ukraine about the serious consequences such an irresponsible and extremely dangerous step could have. As the matter concerns threats to a nuclear facility, the risk of such an impromptu decision would be enormous.
We have pointed out on numerous occasions that we only discuss the possible parameters of a declaration on nuclear safety and security at the Zaporozhye NPP during direct contacts with the IAEA Secretariat and Director General Rafael Grossi. We have no need for intermediaries. The French side is not a party to this process.
In light of the continuing arms supplies to Kiev, the statements made in Paris are clearly out of synch, and sometimes directly at odds, with its actions. If our French colleagues were really concerned about the plant’s safety, France as a responsible nuclear power would have been the first to urge the Kiev regime and Zelensky to stop shelling that facility. Instead, the French, obviously guided by their own considerations, are using every opportunity to hype their alleged efforts to normalise the situation. This is quite irresponsible, considering the horrible consequences Kiev’s criminal activities can lead to at the Zaporozhye NPP. We have pointed this out many times in all the possible formats.
Question: Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova Andrei Spinu said the republic’s authorities are preparing to file a court complaint against Gazprom for “failing to fulfill its contractual obligations” for gas. How would Moscow respond to this statement?
Maria Zakharova: We see that our statements reach their goal and are taken seriously in Chisinau.
We noted the completely unfounded statement by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development of Moldova Andrei Spinu, which was made, as we understand it, in an attempt to justify Chisinau’s unpopular, from the point of view of their Western curators, decision to resume gas imports to Transnistria in exchange for receiving electricity from the left bank.
I would like to note that Gazprom has been providing energy security to a number of countries, including Moldova, for several decades. Let me remind you that the company has not taken a single step that calls into question its authority as a reliable supplier of energy resources.
At the same time, Moldova has repeatedly violated its contractual obligations in terms of paying for Russian gas this year. In addition, the protocol signed by Andrei Spinu with Gazprom management in October 2021 envisages an audit of Moldovagaz’s historical debt, which was to be completed before May 1, 2022. The Moldovan side also failed to fulfil this obligation.
We would like once again to call on our Moldovan partners to refrain from politicising the issues of bilateral cooperation that are exclusively in the commercial plane.
Question: Last week President of Moldova Maia Sandu, speaking at the conference about Europe after the war in Ukraine in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca**, called** Russia a security threat not only to Moldova**, but to the whole of** Europe**. Can you comment on the Moldovan authorities’ recent attacks against** Russia that have become more frequent?
Maria Zakharova: We talk about this regularly. It is the current authorities of Moldova that pose a threat to the security of their country and the region. If we continue this rhetoric, we will respond to these statements. We can.
We have repeatedly assessed such statements by the current Moldovan leaders. It is obvious that they are being made to please their Western sponsors, who are pushing Chisinau to increase their level of Russophobia which is already off the scale, and do not reflect the interests and moods of the country's citizens, who are in favor of maintaining ties with Russia. This is a threat to the security of Moldova if the current authorities destabilise the internal situation with such statements. They play off people in their own country, using the anti-Russia factor. Everything is beyond the law, ethics, morality and security issues.
The fact that the Moldovan authorities have succeeded in carrying out the West’s instructions is evidenced not only by large-scale financial support from the West, but also the awards Maia Sandu has recently received for her “efforts to promote democracy” and “resistance to Russian aggression.” We are talking about two awards, the Albright Prize for Democracy from the US National Democratic Institute and European Romania, awarded by the Initiative for European Democratic Culture Association.
It causes deep concern that the leadership of Moldova continues to use anti-Russia rhetoric to divert the attention of its people from pressing internal problems related to the policies of the republic’s authorities and play off people. This goes against the will of their own people. This approach does not correspond to the interests of the Moldovan people or Russian-Moldovan relations.
Question: What do you think about future relations with the Vatican**, given the lack of response to your concern regarding Pope Francis’ unacceptable statement about** Russia**’s actions in** Ukraine and these two Russian peoples? Does this mean that there has been a radical change in the Vatican**’s traditionally balanced approach to** Russia**?**
Maria Zakharova: We received a message from the Vatican through diplomatic channels with an official statement from the Holy See’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in relation to the Pope’s words. This message says, in part, that “The Secretariat of the Vatican City State offers its apologies to the Russian party. The Holy See has deep respect for all peoples of Russia, their dignity, faith and culture, just as it does for all other peoples and countries.”
The ability to acknowledge one’s mistakes is increasingly rare in contemporary international communication. This situation shows that behind the Vatican’s urges for a dialogue there is the ability to conduct a dialogue and listen to a dialogue partner. This approach commands sincere respect.
We consider the matter closed and hope for further constructive interaction with the Vatican.
Question: Belgrade plans to request permission to send its police force back to Kosovo on December 15. This does not run counter to the UN Security Council resolution. At the same time, Berlin said the proposal was unacceptable. Does this mean that NATO as well as the EU are levelling out the role of the UN in resolving crises? If so, what mechanism can be considered effective for peaceful conflict resolution?
Maria Zakharova: This is, essentially, what the collective West is trying to do –substitute the role of the United Nations. They have failed to destroy it. In the early 2000s, there was a plan to get rid of the United Nations. A series of scandals erupted at the instigation of Western intelligence agencies involving the UN Secretariat staff. It was all plotted using well-known patterns. The UN Secretariat and the United Nations itself were shaken. They triggered scandal after scandal, trying to cause the structure to collapse or to block its work. That did not work.
The international community, most countries and peoples around the world said a resolute NO to (primarily) Washington's attempts to get rid of the UN. As a reminder, US politicians were the ones insisting that the UN was outdated and a vestige of the past and that it needed to be eliminated.
After this failed, they shifted to Plan B – replacing international law with a “rules-based international order” concept and forming bridges (various forums and dialogue platforms) using their own ideas about how this should be implemented to basically replace international organisations, primarily the UN.
Numerous forums were invented, including at the heads of state level, on climate, freedom of speech, human rights, that is, issues dealt with by the relevant UNGA committees where special rapporteurs spoke.
There is a universally recognised collective format with a charter, clear laws, and international legal standards. But they didn't want to work together. They split the UN agenda between multiple non-state formats. They were held in Paris, London, in various parts of Europe, in the United States. The most recent example was the Summit for Democracy.
No one is against discussing non-UN-topics. If it is a UN topic, but you want to give it an additional (for example, regional) dimension (the UN and the African Union deal with African issues, regional formats) – this is how it should be. But you should not substitute the discussion of problems by professionals at the UN with conversations of politicians or non-professionals on some fly-by-night platforms.
This is the essence of what they want – the substitution or blurring of the role of international legal institutions, the UN being the main one.
The international legal framework for the settlement in Kosovo is UN Security Council Resolution 1244. This includes the possibility for up to 1,000 representatives of Serbian security forces returning to the territory of the province to protect the Serbs living there, which would obviously be the best way to stabilise the situation under the current conditions. A request from Belgrade to take this measure would be absolutely legitimate and effective, as well as to call for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss this issue.
This is not the first time we have seen Western countries try to use the EU and NATO’s presence on the ground for selfish geopolitical purposes. Kosovo is not an exception in this sense, but a clear example that confirms the European Union and NATO’s global plans.
Trying to give their actions the appearance of legality, they are deliberately “forgetting” about the UN Security Council’s decisive role in ensuring peace and security. No matter how hard the West tries to impose its notorious “rules-based order,” no attempt to blur the current framework of the Kosovo settlement will be able to change the fact that the UN Security Council and the decisions approved by it play a central role in Kosovo’s affairs.
Question: If, theoretically, such deliveries take place, in addition to them becoming legitimate targets for the Russian Armed Forces, what other reciprocal steps could Russia take?
Maria Zakharova: If the media leaks citing some anonymous official sources about the White House’s planned statement about delivering the Patriot defence missile systems to the Kiev regime prove true, it would be yet another provocative step taken by the US. We have repeatedly said that Washington has already made itself a party to the conflict.
Considering the increasing deliveries of direct military aid, including the deployment of US military on the ground, the delivery of such complex weapons whose use requires months-long training will mean greater involvement of the American military personnel in the combat operations with all that it entails.
We strongly advise the decision-makers in Washington to finally listen (to themselves) and draw the appropriate conclusions from our repeated warnings that any weapons supplied to Ukraine, including the Patriots and their crews, have been and will be legitimate priority targets for the Russian Armed Forces.
Question: Viktor Bout was swapped for Brittney Griner last week; are there talks between Russia and the US on potential new exchanges?
Maria Zakharova: I have nothing to share with you at the moment. It is a touchy subject and we are guided by the “do no harm” principle. If there is any information, we will comment on it in detail. This is the approach we adhere to.
This issue is being discussed through the channels outlined by our presidents. Let us leave the details to professionals. It is nothing new; historically, the details of such talks are not made public.
Question: The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan sent Moscow a note because the Azerbaijani representatives could not visit the areas in Karabakh where Russian peacekeepers are deployed. According to Baku**, illegal mining is going on there, causing protests by environmentalists. Has** Moscow responded to the Azerbaijani party’s note? What is the solution to the situation?
Maria Zakharova: Are you speaking about the note saying that the Azerbaijani representatives could not visit Karabakh? I reiterate, we are concerned about the blocking of the Lachin Corridor due to the parties’ disagreements regarding mining in the region. We are doing everything in our power through relevant agencies to settle the situation in the near future.
We once again urge those making provocative statements about Russian peacekeepers to stop doing so. The Russian peacekeeping forces are going about their tasks efficiently and serve as the guarantor of stability in the region.
Question: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed by telephone the implementation of the grain deal. The Turkish President proposed to expand the “deal” and start exporting “other food products and raw materials” through the grain corridor. What are these “other” products? And how does Moscow generally assess the Turkish leader’s proposal?
Maria Zakharova: As for the substance of the presidents’ talks, as you know, it is the President’s Executive Office which comments on such issues.
I would like to draw your attention to one important nuance. Affirming the implemented grain “deal” would be a correct and necessary thing, if not for one “but.” The memorandum that is part of the “package deal” is not executed to the same extent, with the same speed and with the same desire as the first part of the “deal.” We are open to various proposals. This will be discussed by the experts. If necessary, then at the level of presidents.
The second part of the “deal” is not being implemented by our partners and guarantors at the same pace and with the same efforts as the first part. This is one of the most important questions regarding how we can further carry out work in this direction.
Question: According to preliminary information, the EU’s ninth sanctions package includes sanctions against almost 200 individuals and legal entities, three Russian banks, restricting Russia**’s access to drones, new export controls on dual-use goods, a ban on the broadcasting of four TV channels, new restrictions on the mining sector. Can you comment on these restrictions? How will** Russia respond?
Maria Zakharova: We are aware of the ongoing discussion within the European Union on this matter. As far as we understand, no decision has been made yet.
As for the policy of unilateral restrictive measures in general, the practice of unilateral restrictive measures applied by Western countries undermines the international legal prerogatives of the UN Security Council. How much can we talk about the harmful influence? In practice, it is clear what this leads to. The economies of the countries that initiated the sanctions, the system of international relations, the global trade and economic environment and humanitarian ties became hostage to this one-sided murderous madness that is being created by representatives of the “collective West.”
Whatever new measures are introduced by the European Union, our response will not be long in coming. You are well aware of this. We will continue to respond to any unfriendly attacks on us. At the same time, we would like to emphasise once again that all responsibility for the provocative illegitimate actions of the European Union, as well as the risks of aggravating global food, energy and economic problems will lie solely with Brussels and its political sponsors in Washington and London.
Question: Vladimir Zelensky listed three steps towards peace in Ukraine**. According to him, they include providing new types of weapons to** Kiev**, financial and energy support, and** Ukraine**’s formula for peace. What would** Russia**’s comment be on the Ukrainian President’s statement?**
Maria Zakharova: Vladimir Zelensky’s statements on “three steps towards peace” have, in fact, crashed against his other concept of “one hundred steps back to war.” That’s it. Apparently, in Ukraine, Russia stands against the collective West. The United States controls Ukraine, seeing it as a tool for realising its own geopolitical interests. Sending Western weapons to the Ukrainian army is not bringing the end of the conflict closer but rather, it escalates it. And they know this very well.
Vladimir Zelensky and his curators keep saying that the Kiev regime will fight until the triumphant end. They forget to add though that the triumphant end means to the last Ukrainian soldier. They must be tired of repeating this, although they should. Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council Alexey Danilov clearly described Ukraine’s ultimate goal when he said on December 2 that Russia “must be destroyed so that it no longer exists as a country.” He must have said that after a few enjoyable hours in Zelensky’s company. They must have shared some substances. This is how their “peaceful” initiatives pop out. Do you believe anybody will take it seriously? I think nobody can say it better than Zelensky’s associate and nobody will explain what happens there. The President of Ukraine is “tired.” That must be the truth, hence all this incomprehensible intoxicated rhetoric.
As for us, we are ready to discuss settling the Ukrainian crisis only if we receive real, rather than imaginary, proposals that are based on the situation on the ground and Russia’s legitimate interests. There is no use in paying attention to these rages or their statements, one after another. It seems that whoever approaches Zelensky’s desk blurts out something to this effect 15 minutes of being there. Petr Poroshenko previously warned that it is unacceptable for Ukraine to have a commander-in-chief who is addicted to drugs.
Question: Matt Murray, a US Senior Official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) said at a news conference in Singapore: “We want to be good stewards of APEC. So we’ve invited Russia to participate, just as we have any other economies,” he said. He invited Russia to attend the APEC forum in 2023. Russia is a member of this forum that consists of 21 countries. In April, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said Russia must be expelled from the G20 and that the US would boycott the series of G20 meetings if Russian officials showed up. What do you think about these statements?
Maria Zakharova: There are many similar contradictory statements. We have said more than once that we are guided by specific actions. Statements by the collective West, taken in or out of context, are not helpful in this respect and, as I said, they contradict each other. Moreover, we know that they never keep their word. Obviously, there is no trust left. Whom do you believe? We will look only at specific steps.
As for APEC, the US’ preparations for its host year, held at the senior official level in Honolulu on December 7-9, took place in a businesslike and constructive atmosphere, to use this expression from the past. The participants focused on the agenda at this venue. We believe that this is how to approach multilateral associations if they are oriented towards practical results and are not pursuing some politicised objective.
As for Russia’s (or any other country’s) expulsion from an association, say, the G20 for political reasons, this is an absurd approach. The days when the Americans tried to command the parade are gone. They think they are still in command, but in reality they are commanding a Macy’s parade. The world is rapidly turning towards a truly polycentric structure with independent mandates from the countries that are not part of the West’s camp.
In this context, the United States’ and its satellites’ claims to impose their opinions on the international community have no reasonable grounds. In general, the United States should not undermine the G20 platform (as it undermined the G8 and G7 platforms) because this was created due to its actions that led to the collapse of the global economy in 2008. This is not just a phrase but the destinies of hundreds of millions of people that fell victim to the US’ “strong economy,” or, to be more precise, its profiteering that is ungrounded and unsupported by the real sector. The G20 was established to get the US out of the quagmire of its financial crisis (comparable to the Great Depression) and prevent the world from sliding into the abyss. Today, nobody remembers this, or they want to forget it. Everyone believes that it was just an expansion of the G7 and G8 formats. It was not an expansion. It was crisis management when it was necessary to pool the efforts, economic and financial, in the first place. These were not just political statements. Everyone wanted money. Countries were taking part in these efforts with their money, other resources and economic chains to return the world to a kind of economic stability. This is why all this was created.
The leading economies pooled their efforts to help Washington. Otherwise, we could still be paying for America’s mistakes and miscalculations today. The Americans have never expressed remorse or apologised to anyone. But leaving aside remorse and apologies (although both are important), it makes sense to raise a question in practical terms and compel Washington to compensate the world for all it did to the global economy in 2008. The Americans should not forget about this when making assumptions or promises.
Let me recall that the US and the EU almost collapsed at that time. The whole world supported them. It didn’t reprimand them but acted like a partner and a friend – in a normal way. But, as we now know, the Americans don’t understand normal language. Now they must realistically assess the situation considering they are tied to the EU so as not to sink into the quagmire of recession again. They try to avoid the word “recession” at White House briefings as much as possible. They know the trick, but recession means recession. It is still there even if nobody says it.
Before it is too late, it is important to learn from the useless sanctions pressure on Russia. It is time to display political will and start restoring, in part, global supply chains, giving up the pernicious practice of protectionism and unfair competition.
Russia’s position in international forums, such as the G20, does not depend on the whims of Washington’s “strategists.” The world’s demand for cooperation with our country remains very strong, particularly in the G20. We will support this constructive approach by the global majority at this forum and convert it into important agreements in the interests of steady and comprehensive sustainable development. At some point, Washington will have to answer some questions – does it believe in democracy? Does it recognise it? Is it a democracy? If so, democracy should not be limited by national borders. If Washington recognises this, it should apply to international relations as well. What does the majority say on our planet? The majority means cooperation with our country, for peace, cessation of bloodshed, settlement of crises, international security and the global system. When will Washington recognise the will of the people? When will it accept the rule of the majority? These are important questions.
We are willing to make a meaningful contribution to implementing the tasks of the Indian Presidency of the G20 in 2023 and to contribute to the success of the summit in New Delhi on September 9-10. We hope the slogan of the Indian Presidency – “One Earth One Family One Future” will help the collective West adequately perceive the unifying spirit of this platform. https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1843964/