Russian News

Russia Rejects Allegations Of Missile Attack On Poland, Slamming ‘Deliberate Provocation’

Update(1500ET): Russia has issued its first statements in the wake of conflicting reporting concerning the suspected missile attack on Polish territory, just across the border with Ukraine. Russia is calling the reports a “deliberate provocation” and is denying that its forces have aimed any missiles near the Ukraine-Poland border, per Interfax news.

The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying it has not taken part in “strikes against targets near the Ukrainian-Polish border” using “Russian weapons” – as is being alleged by Polish sources. The Russian statement further said it’s Warsaw’s attempt to escalate the situation. The Pentagon has meanwhile said it can’t corroborate the reports at this early stage but is gathering more information. A Pentagon spokesman vowed the US stands ready to “defend every inch of NATO territory.”

According to Polish radio broadcaster Radio Zet, local reports have said what hit Przewowo is most likely the remains of a rocket shot down by Ukraine’s armed forces. But there are conflicting and many unconfirmed claims still circulating. The US State Dept. said, “We are working with the Polish government to collect information and assess what happened.” It also called the reports “incredibly concerning.”

Below is the full Russian statement in response:

Russia’s defence ministry has denied reports that Russian missiles hit Polish territory, describing them as “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”.

“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction,” it said in a statement.

Wreckage reportedly found at the scene “has nothing to do with Russian weapons”, it added.

Meanwhile “Article 5” is trending on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/AthertonKD/status/1592585821575872512

Are we about to test Art Cashin’s thesis that you should never bet on the end of the world (i.e. sell stocks as the ICBMs start flying). As a reminder:

Art Cashin, the dean of the NYSE floor, told a story on Tuesday at Barry Ritholtz’s Big Picture conference in midtown that illustrated this point perfectly. It was in the days before the Cuban missile crisis. Mr. Cashin was a young trader. One day a rumor mushroomed that the Russians had launched their missiles. World War III was starting. Mr. Cashin ran across the street to find the best trader he knew – who was in a bar having a drink. Mr. Cashin ran in breathlessly, hardly able to talk.

“Stop,” the trader said. “Have a drink. Explain everything.” After hearing all the information, the trader had one order: “Buy. Don’t sell. Buy.”

“Why?” Mr. Cashin wondered.

“Because if you’re wrong, the trade’ll never clear. We’ll all be dead.”

Well, moments ago futures ignored the venerable market strategist’s words and tumbled after a report from Polish Radio ZET according to which two stray rockets fell in the town of Przewodów on the border of NATO-member Poland with Ukraine (while unreported, the prevailing assumption is that the rockets are Russian).

The Associated Press is also confirming, citing a senior US intelligence official who says two people were killed by the missiles. However, the Pentagon followed by saying it cannot corroborate the reports at this time. Stocks quickly reversed higher on the headline.

And Polish sources are reporting – albeit emphasizing the report is still unofficial – that Polish military planes have been scrambled out of the airport near Tomaszów Lubelski. “The Polish Air Force took fighter jets into the air from the Tomaszow-Lubelski airfield in the Lublin Voivodeship,” the local reports say.

The rockets reportedly hit the grain dryers, leading to two casualties. The police, the prosecutor’s office and the army are on site.

And as Bloomberg also confirms, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki has convened an urgent meeting of the Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security. Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has also reportedly convened a national defense council meeting.

Estonia has meanwhile issued a statement saying it is “ready to defend every inch of NATO territory, We’re in full solidarity with our close ally Poland,” according to its ministry of foreign affairs.

The news has sent futures tumbling.

And further on the news:

US DEFENSE STOCKS JUMP TO SESSION HIGHS; NORTHROP UP 5%

It will be amusing when reputable news sources deny the whole thing but for now, stocks are dumping and are red on the day after soaring more than 2% earlier.

Hours earlier in the day Ukrainian authorities were reporting a series of fresh missile attack on the capital, and rare airstrikes in Western regions as well, including the city of Lviv.

This resulted in new emergency power outages across various cities effected.

Meanwhile, NATO’s collective defense article is trending on Twitter, which is never a good sign…

@DG-Truther-Videos

Satan Unzipped! Russia Shares Detailed Images Of Its Heavyweight ICBM Dubbed As One Of World’s Deadliest Missiles

The R-36M2 intercontinental ballistic missile’s payload bus, which contains the weapon’s nuclear warheads, has been made public by Russian state media outlets for the first time.

This missile, also referred to as the SS-18 Mod 5 Satan in the West, contains one of the heaviest payloads designed for an ICBM, making it one of the world’s most dangerous missiles.

The mechanism to deliver multiple warheads to different targets is known as a “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle,” or MIRV.

The detailed images of the R-36M2 payload bus were first shared on Twitter by Dmitry Kornev, a Russian military analyst on his blog ‘Military Russia.’

The footage was released following the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM’s first full-scale launch in April 2022. The pictures Kornev posted online clearly demonstrate how big the R-36M2 is by showcasing the size of the payload bus alone.

https://twitter.com/DnKornev/status/1594349536415096833

Up to 14 warheads can fit on the bus, arranged in two rows of seven. Kornev believes that each of these missiles typically carries ten warheads.

Instead, the remaining four slots are occupied by decoys and other tools designed to make it difficult for opposing troops to intercept incoming projectiles.

There is some dissension about the estimated output of these warheads, with several reports claiming they are in the 550-750 kiloton range, while some claim they could be more lethal, ranging between 750 kilotons and one megaton.

Kornev also posted screengrabs showing several objects in front of the bus, including what appear to be decoys or at least mock-ups.

The bus appears to have four separate rocket motors at the back that would launch it into space and then deliver its warheads and decoys over numerous targets along a predetermined course.

Meanwhile, Kornev said that the Russian missile’s protrusion is a system component for detaching the nose cone from the rest of the payload bus to unleash the warheads and decoys.

R-36 (SS-18 Satan) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

It’s unknown why the Russians now chose to showcase these R-36M2 in public. The RS-28 Sarmat, also known as the SS-X-30 Satan 2, is intended to replace these missiles completely. However, it is unknown when Satan 2 will be put into service.

The Soviet Union began working on the R-36M2, a two-stage liquid-fueled silo-launched ICBM, in the early 1980s as a more effective replacement for earlier R-36M versions. In the 1970s, the R-36M started to phase out earlier R-36-series missiles.

The R-36M, designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau for the Soviet Union, served as the foundation for the R-36M2. This armament system consisted of an intercontinental ballistic missile modified from an earlier Soviet missile and stored in hardened silos.

The R-36M2, frequently referred to as a heavyweight ICBM, is massive, measuring almost 10 feet in diameter (three meters) and weighing just over 211 tons when fully fueled, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

Comparatively, the LGM-30G Minuteman III of the US Air Force measures just under 60 feet (18.3 meters) in length, is five and a half feet (1.67 meters) wide, and weighs just under 40 tons when fired.

The R-36M family of missiles is categorized as “heavies” because of their enormous size and power. The R-36M and its variations were at the core of arms control negotiations between the USSR and the United States for a significant portion of the latter half of the 20th century; these negotiations led to a cap on the overall number of R-36Ms built and deployed.

The missile’s extended range has concerned western analysts because they believe Russia may employ it as a first-strike capability. The importance of the weapon system in arms control negotiations has repeatedly demonstrated how seriously the West takes this missile as a credible threat.

The R-36M2 is a cold-launched weapon system, unlike its Minuteman III counterpart from the United States. This capability enables the missile to be deployed without seriously harming the silo it is housed in.

American missiles are “hot launched,” which renders the respective missile silos useless after launch. In the event of a protracted nuclear confrontation between Russia and the United States, this technological disparity could prove to be a significant advantage for Moscow.

European Parliament passes resolution recognizing Russia as ‘state sponsor of terrorism’

A total of 494 MEPs backed the resolution, 58 opposed it and 44 abstained

European Parliament EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER

PARIS, November 23. /TASS/. The European Parliament during a session in Strasbourg on Wednesday adopted a resolution designating Russia as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’, according to the text of the document published on its website. The session was broadcast live on the European Parliament's website.

According to the resolution, the European Parliament "recognizes Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism."

The document claims that Russia commits "acts of terror" against Ukraine. The MEPs called for increasing the isolation of Moscow, reducing diplomatic contacts with the country and completing work on preparing the ninth package of sanctions against Russia.

A total of 494 MEPs backed the resolution, 58 opposed it and 44 abstained.

European Parliament resolutions are not legally binding and are recommendatory, but are widely used in the EU media and political environment to promote and disseminate specific political positions.

NATO drones attempted crossing Pskov Region’s border before special military operation

According to Mikhail Vedernikov, this began before the special military operation, and now the problem has escalated.

NATO drones made attempts to cross the border of the Pskov Region of Russia even before the start of the special military operation, Governor of the Region Mikhail Vedernikov said.

"We have never provided extensive coverage to that but there were attempts of military unmanned aerial vehicles and other aircraft to illegally cross the border," Vedernikov said.

"All such ‘peaceful interaction’ [under border cooperation programs - TASS] was ‘flourishing’ even before the start of the special military operation," the Governor noted. "Clearly all that has aggravated further at present," Vedernikov added.

The Pskov Region is bordering on two NATO member-states, Latvia and Estonia.

Belarus foreign minister Makei dies suddenly - Belta

Belarus's long-standing foreign minister has died suddenly, the state news agency Belta reported on Saturday, two days before he was meant to meet his Russian counterpart.

"Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has passed away suddenly," Belta reported without giving further detail. Makei had held his post since 2012.

Makei, 64, attended a conference of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) - a military alliance of several post soviet states - in Yerevan earlier this week and was due to meet Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday.

Before the presidential elections and mass anti-government protests in Belarus in 2020, Makei had been one of the initiators of efforts to improve Belarus' relations with the West and had criticised Russia.

However, he abruptly changed his stance after the start of the protests, saying they were inspired by agents of the West.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in February, Makei, a supporter of close ties between Moscow and Minsk, said the West had provoked the war and that the Ukrainian authorities should agree to the Russian terms of peace.

A few days before the start of the war, Makei promised that there would be no attack on Ukraine from the territory of Belarus. A few days later, Russian troops proved that he was wrong.

"We are shocked by the reports of the death of the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted in her Telegram channel. "Official condolences will be published soon."

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who retained power despite the protests of 2020, also expressed his condolences.

Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, commenting on the minister's death called Makei a traitor to the Belarusian people.

"In 2020, Makei betrayed the Belarusian people and supported tyranny. This is how the Belarusian people will remember him," Tsikhanouskaya said.

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Foreign Ministry Statement on the sudden death of Republic of Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1840300/?lang=en

The leaders and staff of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation feel deep sorrow over the sudden death of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei on November 26, 2022.

An outstanding diplomat and statesman has passed away, a true patriot who dedicated his life to serving his Motherland and defending its interests in the international arena.

Vladimir Makei was Russia’s sincere friend, who made an unparalleled contribution to bilateral cooperation, to the integrative construction of the Union State and to strengthening ties between the brotherly peoples of Russia and Belarus.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent his colleague’s wife a message, conveying his condolences to all Vladimir Makei’s friends and family members.

We will keep Vladimir Makei in our hearts forever as a magnanimous person with deep wisdom, a brilliant professional, fellow-diplomat and loyal comrade who won the affection and respect not only of his fellow-countrymen but also far and wide beyond Belarus.

We will always cherish his memory.


Sudden death of foreign minister of Belarus raises suspicions of foul play after it emerged he was due in Poland to meet with key Western officials 'against Russia's wishes'

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Pope Francis directs racially charged comment towards Russians

Moscow slammed the pontiff’s description of Chechens and Buryats as a “perversion”.

Speaking at a roundtable in the Russian Senate on Monday, Zakharova called the comments made by Pope Francis beyond the pale.

“This is no longer Russophobia, it’s a perversion on a level I can’t even name,” she said.

The Muslim Chechens live in the Caucasus Mountains, while the Buddhist Buryats are native to southeastern Siberia. Propaganda coming from the government in Kiev has painted the Ukrainians as “true Slavs” who are being menaced by the “Asiatic Russian horde.”

To hear the pontiff accuse of “cruelty” the Chechens and Buryats protecting the Donbass civilians is “strange, to say the least,” the head of Buryatia Alexey Tsidenov said about the interview on Monday.

US repeatedly leaked info that should be kept private – Russian Deputy FM to RT

As the world undergoes turbulent transformations and new points of tensions emerge, RT welcomes Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Ryabkov, for an interview, covering the most crucial topics of today, such as negotiations on nuclear arms reduction, the US role in the ongoing conflict, and more.

Embassy comment on the misleading statements by UK officials regarding Russia’s Special Military Operation

We deplore the apparent willingness of prominent UK officials to uncritically reproduce the vile and primitive anti-Russian propaganda of the Kiev regime. On a daily basis Kiev invents and dishes out all kinds of falsehoods to Western media, seeking to dehumanize and vilify Russian servicemen participating in the Special Military Operation. A number of its methods seem to have been lifted wholesale from the textbook of Joseph Goebbels’s Nazi accolytes. These self-evident lies with their raw intensity and brutality are deliberately focused on alleged sexual misconduct and violence directed towards vulnerable groups – the elderly, women and children. They serve to further amplify the already rampant Russophobic sentiments in some Western countries, including the United Kingdom, which prides itself on its self-perceived tolerance.

Regrettably, in his speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on 28 November Prime-Minister R.Sunak chose to repeat these fabrications, alleging that Russian soldiers would stoop to booby-trapping toys and installing some sort of “torture chambers”. Earlier that day the Foreign Secretary, addressing the “Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative” conference, seemed to imply the responsibility of Russian Armed Forces in committing “atrocities” of a sexual nature. No evidence to prop up these grotesque allegations was forthcoming, as none could be, given the absence of such evidence. Yet the British media remains awash with such delusions, excitedly falling over themselves to reprint, retweet and repost almost anything that conforms to the prevalent anti-Russian stereotype.

Questions arise. What is the reason for the apparent inability of UK officials and media outlets to publicly denounce the Ukrainian military and its neo-Nazi paramilitary detachments that over the preceding eight years subjected the civilian residents of Donbass, their families and children to an uninterrupted reign of terror and oppression?

Why have London and its NATO allies failed to respond to a documented fact of Russian servicemen, having surrendered to Ukrainian armed forces, being gunned down? Their cold-blooded murderers, having opened fire upon unarmed prisoners of war, who were lying on the ground, were so confident of their impunity that they videotaped their criminal offences. Other shocking videos are available online of Russian inhabitants of Kherson being subject to torture, while tied to lampposts. Instead of proliferating unsubstantiated and morbid fantasies of the Kiev propagandists, perhaps, the UK should unreservedly condemn these and other self-evident crimes of the Kiev regime.

Are UK decision-makers and state-enabled UK media aware of the curious case of Ms. Lyudmila Denisova, the former Ombudsperson of Ukraine, who spread lurid sexualized rubbish about Russians with such fervour that even her Kiev employers ultimately felt compelled to dismiss her from her post? Finally, is it not the case that anti-Russian propaganda uncorroborated by facts constitutes exactly the kind of hate-speech the West alleges to be fighting?

We leave these questions in the hope that they may some day be answered. As for the Special Military Operation of the Russian Armed Forces, it continues in full compliance with international humanitarian law, guided by the noble goal of ensuring Russia’s national security and the safety and well-being of our people.

Edward Snowden received Russian passport – lawyer

The American whistleblower has now become a full-fledged Russian citizen, his lawyer says.

Former CIA and National Security Agency (NSA) officer Edward Snowden has received his Russian passport after having been granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin earlier this year.

According to Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, who spoke with Interfax on Friday, the whistleblower has also taken an oath mandated by law in order to become a full-fledged Russian citizen.

Kucherena noted that since Snowden now holds a Russian passport, he cannot be legally extradited to any foreign state seeking charges against him, i.e. the USA, where he stands accused of espionage and theft of state property.

When Snowden was granted citizenship in late September, concerns were raised that the whistleblower could now be drafted into the Russian army and sent to fight in Ukraine. His lawyer, however, has explained that although Snowden is now technically a Russian citizen of military age, he is not eligible for mobilization because he has never served in the Russian army.

In 2013, Snowden leaked a massive trove of classified documents revealing the NSA’s sprawling surveillance operations, which targeted American civilians and collected their electronic communication data and phone records. His revelations launched nation-wide debates about government surveillance and led the US appeals court to declare the NSA’s program unlawful.

When the leaked files were posted in a number of media outlets, Washington promptly revoked Snowden’s US citizenship, making him a de facto stateless individual. He initially tried to flee from Hong Kong to Latin America, but got stranded during a layover in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he ended up living for over a month. Ultimately he was granted asylum in Russia, where he has remained to this day.

In 2017, Snowden got married to American acrobat and blogger Lindsay Mills. Their wedding was held in Moscow. The two have since had a child, who has automatically received Russian citizenship. Kucherena says that Mills is now also gathering documents to apply for a Russian passport, noting that the process will probably not take too long.

Shulgin: Russia has data on the participation of Americans in chemical provocations in Ukraine

Russia has information that contractors from the United States are helping to prepare chemical provocations in Ukraine, said Russian Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin.

As the diplomat said, at the ongoing session of the OPCW member countries, the Russian side provided information about contract soldiers who help Ukrainian nationalists "in these chemical preparations."

We are talking about contractors from the state of Nevada.

“But the Americans dismiss all this, they say that this is disinformation on the Russian side ... They say that these are honest and noble humanitarians,” the permanent representative said on the air of Russia 24, his words are quoted by RIA Novosti.

In April, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the likelihood of US provocations in Ukraine with the use of chemical weapons by the facts of deliveries of poisonous antidotes to Kyiv.

Russia warns of ‘huge’ risks of sliding into nuclear war

How the West Brought War to Ukraine

Misguided American and NATO policies created the Ukraine crisis. Now they risk nuclear war.

Overview

For almost 200 years, starting with the framing of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, the United States has asserted security claims over virtually the whole Western hemisphere. Any foreign power that places military forces near U.S. territory knows it is crossing a red line. U.S. policy thus embodies a conviction that where a potential opponent places its forces is crucially important. In fact, this conviction is the cornerstone of American foreign and military policy, and its violation is considered reason for war.

Yet when it comes to Russia, the United States and its NATO allies have acted for decades in disregard of this same principle. They have progressively advanced the placement of their military forces toward Russia, even to its borders. They have done this with inadequate attention to, and sometimes blithe disregard for, how Russian leaders might perceive this advance. Had Russia taken equivalent actions with respect to U.S. territory — say, placing its military forces in Canada or Mexico — Washington would have gone to war and explained that war as a defensive response to the military encroachment of a foreign power.

When viewed through this lens, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is seen not as the unbridled expansionism of a malevolent Russian leader but as a violent and destructive reaction to misguided Western policies: an attempt to reestablish a zone around Russia’s western border that is free of offensive threats from the United States and its allies. Having misunderstood why Russia invaded Ukraine, the West is now basing existential decisions on false premises. In doing so, it is deepening the crisis and may be sleepwalking toward nuclear war.

This argument, which I now present in detail, is based on the analyses of a number of scholars, government officials, and military observers, all of whom I introduce and quote from in the course of the presentation. These include John Mearsheimer, Stephen F. Cohen, Richard Sakwa, Gilbert Doctorow, George F. Kennan, Chas Freeman, Douglas Macgregor, and Brennan Deveraux.

DPR lawmaker killed in Donetsk as result of shelling by Ukrainian troops

Maria Pirogova, 29, has been member of the DPR People’s Council since 2018

Maria Pirogova, a member of the parliament of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), has been killed in shelling by Ukrainian troops, a spokesman for the DPR People’s Militia told TASS on Tuesday.

"We confirm her death," the spokesman said.

Maria Pirogova, 29, has been member of the DPR People’s Council since 2018.

Russian vision of multipolar world includes EU as equal partner — Lavrov

The top diplomat stressed that Europe had interests that did not coincide with those of the US, and that Europe could not defend those interests.

Russia would like the EU to be an equal part of a multipolar world, but in this case it must not be 100% dependent on the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Primakov Readings forum on Wednesday.

"Of course, we would like the EU to be one of the poles of the new multipolar world, it still has all the opportunities for it. The European Union will be able to participate equally in these processes when it realizes that it does not have to say 'I agree' to the United States 100% of the time," he said.

"But India, Brazil, Persian Gulf countries, regional associations in Africa and Latin America have more reasons to be part of the multipolar world, an equal part, than the EU," the top diplomat added.

Lavrov stressed that Europe had interests that did not coincide with those of the US, and that Europe could not defend those interests. According to him, French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Washington confirms this.

Stunning Video from Russian TV Says It All About Joe Biden’s Disastrous Trade for Brittney Griner

If it wasn’t already clear what a weak surrender – and strategically-dangerous move – was Joe Biden’s sending back a jailed Russian arms dealer to the Kremlin in exchange for pothead, America-hating WNBA player Brittney Griner, a stunning video clip from Russian TV makes it that much clearer.

To recap, Biden freed the imprisoned “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout – the most notorious arms dealer in history – to Russia for Griner, but left an American Marine hero Paul Whelan in a brutal Russian jail, where he was thrown after being railroaded on a fake “espionage” charge in 2018, serving a 16-year sentence.

Griner – who said disdained America and said our national anthem should be banned from all sporting events – was busted for bringing vape pens with hashish oil into Russia for a tournament, despite the country’s reputation for having one of the harshest drug laws on Earth.

Making more sense about the disastrous exchange than American Democrat-lapdog media ever could, the footage is really maddening – but a must-see eye-opener as well.

When the enemy’s media speaks more truth than our own, you know we are in deep trouble.

WATCH:

Weak. That is how the world sees Joe Biden.

And they didn’t even mention that in order to even make this lousy deal possible, Biden also agreed to drop the U.S. Federal lawsuit against Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudis and UAE then arranged the trade with Russia that should never have happened.

The U.S. media – including the Washington Post, where Khashoggi was once employed – have been silent on this, and have done nothing but praise Biden for his “humanitarian” gesture.

Russia Activates Next RS24 Yars Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ICBM Into...

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, December 15, 2022

US and its NATO allies’ attempts to keep the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev afloat and to drag the hostilities out as long as possible will fail. And the sooner they accept this, the better it will be for all sides. Regrettably, not everybody is capable of doing this. At the least, they won’t be able to say that we have not warned them.

On December 20, the Foreign Ministry is scheduled to hold a regular meeting of the Government Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad, to be chaired by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The event will be attended by commission members, including federal and regional executive officials, State Duma deputies and senators of the Russian Federation, as well as heads of a number of public organisations and foundations.

The agenda of the meeting will focus on the results and tasks of working with compatriots in the context of the International Thematic Conference “Economic Cooperation: Compatriots and Regions of Russia. Responding to the challenges of our time.”

In addition, it is planned to approve a list of representatives of the diaspora for presentation of awards in 2022 through the Commission, as well as to consider a number of other issues.

General meeting of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO

On December 20, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will chair a general meeting of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO with the participation of the heads of relevant Russian departments, heads of Russian regions, businesspeople, and prominent figures in education, science, culture, journalism and sports.

As per tradition, the Foreign Minister will present a report on the current state of affairs in UNESCO and further plans for the development of cooperation with the organisation, including in the context of the International Forum on the 50th Anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which ended in Kazan last week. In addition to this, reports from a number of federal ministers, heads of regions and partner non-profit organisations (NPOs) will be heard. It is planned to adopt a corresponding decision following the meeting.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 45th BSEC Ministerial meeting

On December 21, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the 45th regular meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), to be held via videoconference.

On June 25, 2022, the BSEC celebrated 30 years since its establishment. Following this milestone, the ministers will review its performance, exchange views on updating the organisation’s mid-term economic strategy and discuss its further development and action plan.

Ukraine crisis

We have taken note of the address Vladimir Zelensky made on December 12, 2022. It did not attract our attention with new ideas or deep thoughts, but with its criminal and unscrupulous essence. This time he urged the G7 leaders to continue supporting Kiev’s neo-Nazi regime in its confrontation with Russia.

It has long become clear that this “creative person” is unable to produce anything innovative. He again demanded that his handlers give him more weapons and money, and called on Russia to start withdrawing its troops from “the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine this Christmas” and on the international community to convene the Global Peace Formula Summit on the implementation of Zelensky’s unrealistic “peace formula.” When people on his team were asked what happened to Zelensky, they replied that “he is tired,” which sticks out a mile.

These pseudo-peaceful initiatives are camouflaged with pledges of commitment to diplomatic settlement methods. This really means that he is tired and worn out. It is clear that Kiev is not thinking about ending the war. Its main goal is still winning on the battlefield, which they think they would achieve if they were sent more weapons. Talks with Russia are not on their agenda. And besides, talks have been outlawed. So much for Zelensky’s simple-minded “peace plan.”

When responding to the relevant questions, Russia has more than once explained that it was not Moscow but the Kiev regime that walked out of the talks in April 2022. Consequently, responsibility for rejecting diplomatic methods lies with the Kiev regime and “weary” Zelensky. Meanwhile, new realities are creating a new situation on the ground. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be for Kiev to come to terms with Moscow, as the Russian leadership has pointed out on numerous occasions. It looks like people in Kiev are really worn out, and we cannot expect them to act appropriately.

It is also common knowledge, although the West prefers to turn a blind eye to it, that the Ukrainian armed forces are using prohibited methods of warfare and that Kiev is violating international humanitarian law. The Ukrainian units, which are rapidly turning into a mercenary army, continue to shell cities and towns in Russia’s border regions, killing and wounding civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure. They are doing this to people in Donbass and the Kherson, Zaporozhye, Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk regions.

But the most barbaric attacks are aimed at the residential districts of Donetsk, which is very well known at the UN, even though they seldom speak about this. They maintain contact with members of two local humanitarian NGOs that continue working in the city. In particular, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric mentioned this at the December 8 briefing in New York.

We have only one but urgent request to the UN Secretariat: please, act objectively. One would like them to uphold – no, not Moscow, but impartiality as strongly as they are supporting the Kiev regime. Impartiality is what we demand. There must be no doubt about who the UN Secretariat supports. I would like to remind everyone that the Secretariat’s task is to remain impartial to correctly assess the situation. It has the necessary instruments and mechanisms for that. Taking sides is not among its responsibilities.

On December 12, 2022, Ukrainian saboteurs blew up the pylons of a bridge in a Melitopol suburb. On December 13, 2022, missiles hit the city of Klintsy in the Bryansk Region, 50 kilometres from the border with Ukraine’s Chernigov Region.

The Kiev regime is perpetrating these actions with the approval of the United States that directly helps select targets for artillery and missile systems and provides the Ukrainian armed forces with reconnaissance satellite data. American journalists are openly writing that the Pentagon has okayed drone strikes against Russian territory. Inspired by this support, Ukrainian politicians are already voicing their intention to attack critical infrastructure facilities in the Moscow Region. Washington that has virtually become a party to the conflict will be unable to deflect the Kiev regime’s campaign of terror against Russian civilians and to shirk responsibility for deaths and destruction inflicted by US weapons and under US guidance. We had seen a similar situation in the 1990s. We recall vividly who provided terrorists in the North Caucasus with weapons, money, political, information, moral and psychological support. We remember where decision-making centres were located. People who infiltrated North Caucasus and recruited the local population into their ranks, did not receive their training in Russia, and their sponsors were located elsewhere. Everything came from abroad. Russia had to fight a terrible war against international terrorism for the first time in its history. The history of that war was written long ago, and all the facts have been recorded. Does the United States want history to repeat itself? It’s a question that should be answered. Did the United States fail to draw any conclusions from the debacle of international terrorism following the game the West orchestrated through others on Russian territory?

Ukrainian neo-Nazis continue their ruthless practice of planting banned anti-personnel mines in Russian communities remotely. In its press release of December 3, 2022, the International Committee of the Red Cross finally acknowledged the consequences of the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces for the residents of Donbass. The ICRC acknowledged the threat posed to the civilian population by unexploded munitions and cluster bombs that the Kiev regime has been actively using since February 2022.

The West continues to pump Ukraine full of weapons. Washington is the leader and animating force behind the arms race. According to various sources, the United States has provided the Kiev regime with $21.5 billion worth of weapons, including heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems.

To the joy of the American defence industry, the United States does not intend to stop at this point. The Pentagon recently allocated an additional $800 million for the Ukrainian armed forces’ “defence needs.” On December 9, 2022, the White House said Ukraine would receive another $275 million aid package consisting of additional ammunition for HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, 80,000 artillery shells, anti-drone and air-defence equipment.

Even US experts are surprised how much US-delivered ammunition the Ukrainian armed forces are using, noting that the Ukrainians are breaking all records in this field. According to the Lockheed Martin corporation, a missile inventory, designed to be used in 13 years, has been expended during the nearly ten-months of the conflict. Meanwhile, Vladimir Zelensky does not feel sorry for his compatriots. He does not care. Although he openly calls himself a citizen of Ukraine and wears shirts with side-fastened collars, rather than embroidered shirts, and prays in churches, he does not belong to the culture and spirituality of this country and nation. We realise this, while assessing his ruthless criminal actions in his current “tired” state, to quote his inner circle. All current developments, in line with the Kiev regime’s logic, are not the limit. These people do not feel sorry for their fellow citizens or anybody else. They are only afraid for themselves, for those who are holed up in a bunker beneath Bankova Street in Kiev. According to Zelensky’s logic, everyone else is expendable.

And this is not all. On December 13, Washington announced its decision to send the Patriot advanced long-range air defence system to Ukraine. Previously many experts, including in the United States, questioned the wisdom of such a decision, which will escalate the conflict and increase the risk of direct involvement of the US army in the hostilities. In other words, they decided to spare no expense, especially since it’s not American lives they will be risking. If we take a look at Zelensky’s life, we see that his financial interests and ambitions do not lie at home. Is he speaking for the Ukrainian people? Not at all, he speaks for whoever pays him.

Washington continues twisting the arms of the other NATO countries, demanding that they increase their contribution to the militarisation of Ukraine. On November 30, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the bloc’s ministerial in Bucharest that NATO allies and partners had provided over $40 billion in arms to Ukraine over the past 10 months, or as much as France’s defence budget for 2022.

Europe is lavishly following Washington’s orders. The other day, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, known as the “gardener,” announced that the overall financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility, which is being used to supply weapons to Ukraine, could be increased by 3.5 billion. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that “the best way to achieve a lasting, durable peace in Ukraine is to provide military support to Ukraine.” Sound logic. As if not enough people have died already.

We would like to say that the Western weapons supplied to Ukraine are legitimate targets for the Russian armed forces and that they will be either destroyed or seized. We pointed this out many times.

It is no secret that the Western arms sent to Ukraine are resold on the black market. On December 9, 2022, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said at the UN Security Council meeting that the large-scale influx of weapons into Ukraine entailed “risks of diversion as well as potential spillover and escalation.”

EU countries started speaking about this over the past few months based on reports about the appearance of these weapons in their territories.

We have taken note of the international donor conference held in Paris on December 13, where a Ukrainian delegation led by Prime Minister Dmitry Shmygal came begging for more money. The participants promised to contribute millions of euros and to establish a special mechanism to coordinate emergency financial and other support to Ukraine. According to President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen, the EU has allocated over 90 billion euros to Ukraine since 2014. We can see how much this has helped: the standards of democracy in Ukraine are truly staggering, like the economic growth rate and the settlement of humanitarian problems. As much as 90 billion euros have disappeared in the “black hole” known as the “Kiev regime and its experiments.” I would like to say that US representatives demand an effective audit of the funds presumably allocated to Kiev. Will anybody in the EU demand an audit of the 90 billion euros? How were these funds spent and what has been achieved with their help?

The European taxpayers are paying through the nose to support the Kiev regime, because their financial aid is not used to solve but to create problems, and then Kiev demands more money. It is a horrible and bloody financial carousel that pipes money from Western pockets back to Western pockets via Ukraine. The result is the death of thousands of people.

As for the Europeans’ reaction to this, we can see that their emotions are far from positive, especially in light of the growing socio-economic problems in Europe.

Despite all of the above, the US and its NATO allies’ attempts to keep the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev afloat and to drag the hostilities out as long as possible will fail. And the sooner they accept this, the better it will be for all sides. Regrettably, not everybody is capable of doing this. At the least, they won’t be able to say that we have not warned them.

UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths’s trip to Kherson

According to the media, since December 12, 2022, Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has visited several regions of Ukraine, as well as the city of Kherson. He is going to conclude his trip in Kiev to report to the Kiev regime about what he saw.

We appreciate the UN organisations’ humanitarian efforts in various regions and countries. However, it seems that in this particular case, it is not about some noble goals to provide help to those in need, but about the desire of high-ranking officials from the UN Secretariat to politicise humanitarian efforts and profit from the suffering of civilians while fulfilling Kiev’s political assignment.

Martin Griffiths’s arrival in Russian Kherson and the region whose residents voted in favour of joining the Russian Federation in a referendum and were accepted is intentionally provocative and thus unacceptable. The UN Secretary-General must put an end to such activities of its humanitarian bloc and demand that, instead of engaging in such provocative voyages, they fulfil the Secretariat’s obligations as stipulated by the Russia-UN Memorandum of July 22, 2022 on stopping the West’s and the Kiev regime’s attempts to hinder the exports of Russian grain and fertiliser, including free deliveries to the poorest countries in the Africa.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ approaches to events in Ukraine

We cannot but respond to the tendentious and biased approach of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk and his Office to the situation around Ukraine.

The position taken by the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) regarding the video recording of Russian prisoners of war being executed by security forces of the Kiev regime in November in Makeyevka is highly indicative in this context.

The authenticity of the video and its wide distribution online, as well as coverage in the Western media, did not make it possible for the High Commissioner to hush up the atrocities of Ukrainian nationalists. At the same time, there was no principled and harsh condemnation of the Ukrainian executioners’ actions by Volker Türk. You may ask: how is this possible?

In his statement, he demonstrated the skill of tightrope walking, deliberately shifting the focus from extrajudicial executions carried out by the armed forces of Ukraine. He said he was shocked by the suffering of Ukrainians due to the damage done to Ukraine's critical infrastructure. In this context, the reaction to the deliberate killing of Russian servicemen who laid down their arms in this case looks much more restrained.

Volker Türk also touched upon the issue of treatment of prisoners of war during a briefing following his visit to Ukraine on December 4-7. Again, without pointing to anyone in particular, the High Commissioner made neutral statements about the humane treatment of prisoners of war and called for an end to the practice of prosecuting them on the grounds of their participation in hostilities.

We come across this position constantly. Everything needed for the Kiev regime, the UN Secretariat, representatives of the Secretary-General and his deputies articulate very clearly: everything is called by its proper name and everything is painted emotionally. Everything that is said should testify to the Secretariat’s lack of bias. This is its main task. However, it all comes down to the same thing. They claim that representatives of the UN Secretariat and representatives of the Secretary General and his deputies do not have accurate information, and the assessment of such actions is not within their competence. They say that data is being collected and an assessment can only be given later. Everything is being done in order to avoid direct comments, statements, and a direct assessment of the situation. This is unacceptable. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has repeatedly spoken about this with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, both in person and during telephone conversations. We sent messages on this issue through our permanent mission to the UN.

Our extensive materials about the atrocities of the Ukrainian military, regularly sent to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), failed to impel Volker Türk to produce an impartial assessment of this tragedy. He has all the materials at his disposal. They just need to be processed and given an appropriate response. Please, would you be so kind as to do your job?

We cannot but comment on Volker Türk’s statement made following his Ukrainian trip. The text of the press release has a pronounced emotional colouring and is full of expressive phrases and images. It was a highly poetic text. The High Commissioner painted the situation in Bucha and Izyum after the departure of the Russian armed forces with broad strokes. Without citing a single fact or any evidence, Volker Türk focused on war crimes, extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary detentions, and sexual violence as a method of warfare. At the same time, a link is given to the Office’s recently published anti-Russian report on the massacre of civilians in the Kiev, Chernigov and Sumy regions of Ukraine (we have already commented on this).

It is clear that the style of the statement was not chosen by chance and is intended to consolidate in the minds of the international community the narrative promoted by the Westerners to whitewash the Ukrainian neo-Nazi school of thought and lay all responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine on Russia.

It turns out that the high-profile statements of the High Commissioner made upon taking office about his commitment to the principles of objectivity, impartiality and independence while performing his duties have been forgotten, if not trampled upon. If this trend continues, it will inevitably lead to the utter loss of confidence of the international community in the institution of the High Commissioner and the Office he heads. And this, in turn, will significantly weaken the scope of international cooperation in the field of human rights.

US IT industry expands interaction with Ukrainian government

The United States and its allies pursue the policy of pumping up the cyber arsenal of Vladimir Zelensky’s regime. More and more companies are joining the efforts of the Pentagon and the US intelligence agencies as contractors, ready to implement Washington’s Russophobic guidelines. First of all, this applies to delivering cyber strikes against Russia and its critical infrastructure, scenarios for which are regularly worked out in NATO.

In this context, we have taken note of a memorandum of cooperation between Recorded Future (USA) and the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine concluded on December 6, 2022. The document was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov, who boasts of the Ukrainian IT army under his command. In fact, its functions are performed by American companies that gain access to user databases in the territory controlled by Kiev in exchange for protection from the “Russian cyber aggression.” Now the aforementioned Recorded Future, known as the executor of CIA orders, has joined the ranks of Microsoft and Amazon.

The US administration and its law enforcement agencies are obviously striving to spend the unprecedented budget for information and communication technologies and their use for offensive purposes. As for private companies, Ukraine and its information resources are a convenient testing ground for them to test and improve ICT as weapons, which may be of interest to the US military in the future.

The Biden administration’s policy to involve private companies in implementing its geopolitical plans is a threat to the security and sovereignty of independent states. In pursuit of profit, ICT developers are ready to fulfil any orders aimed at militarising the information space, turning it into an arena of clashes between states, and settling scores with opponents.

The above evidence also confirms that we are right in assessing the State Department’s slogans about the US striving for peace and stability in the international information space and solving socio-economic problems with the help of ICT as hypocritical and fake. More and more risks come from irresponsible American manufacturers and developers of information and communication technologies who seek to cash in on the technical vulnerabilities of communication devices, while hiding behind ordinary, unsuspecting users. And then take advantage of them, as well as the newly introduced features to achieve their own goals. These goals are well known: the destruction of a stable world order and the introduction of chaos for their own benefit.

Security guarantees

In connection with the anniversary (December 15, 2021) of the transfer to the American side of the draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States on security guarantees and a draft agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, I would like to remind you of some facts.

Last December, Russia put forward a proposal to conclude legally binding agreements with the United States and NATO on security guarantees for our country. It included the following key elements: no further NATO expansion, non-deployment of offensive weapons near Russia’s borders, and redeployment of the Alliance's military infrastructure to where it was stationed in 1997. The corresponding draft documents were made available to Washington and Brussels. We also proposed reaffirming the principle of indivisible security where no country should take measures aimed at ensuring its own security to the detriment of others.

However, the discussion failed before it started. In response to our call for a comprehensive and creative approach to the current situation with all the potential that we had at that time, the Westerners kept repeating that each country had the right to choose alliances, meaning that Ukraine had the right to join NATO. NATO ignored all components of the compromise-based formula of indivisible security. Washington and Brussels rejected our draft agreements. As you may be aware, before that, for a couple of decades, we watched this security system being dismantled. Its architecture no longer served its purpose. However, this was not what really mattered. Over and over again, the US-led collective West has violated its own commitments assumed under bilateral or international agreements in spite of oral and written assurances in the form of binding legal agreements or “words of honour.” Everything that was built before in the wake of WWII and the geopolitical changes that took place in the late 1980s was destroyed and turned into dust. We saw it and put it on record. We raised these questions. In the end, we suggested that we start building a new security architecture. We did that one year ago, on December 15, 2021.

NATO member states chose not to seize the very real opportunity to defuse tensions. Their arrogant and cynical refusal, including in violation of international law, to discuss our initiative on security guarantees has become a determining factor behind the escalation of the situation in Europe and catalysed the current escalation of international tension. Instead of sitting down for talks and taking stock of the issues to be dealt with, the West issued the “start” command and Kiev started shelling Donbass.

We saw it all and we knew what this will lead to. Only the person who deliberately turned away from the situation could not notice what was going on. For those who could not see things for what they were and had illusions about who we were dealing with and what was going through the minds of Western architects of pseudo-security, Angela Merkel gave an interview to Die Zeit, where she dotted all the i’s. I don’t think this is the last confession we have heard from the Westerners. You know perfectly well that those who have committed an illegal act are drawn to the scene of the crime, or, one way or another and for various reasons (some are driven by fear, others by conscience) eventually talk about how it actually happened or what prompted them to do what they did. This is not the only confession. There will be more.

Further developments made it clear that the United States was not at all interested in dialogue on international and especially European security. It was doing all it could to prevent its resumption. NATO continued its course of pumping Ukraine with weapons and conducting accelerated militarisation of its territory. In effect, it was purposefully steering the situation towards a hot conflict phase. There was a host of irresponsible steps and statements to the effect that it was necessary to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia and that Ukraine must win the war to be accepted in NATO with “the laurels of the winner.” But something went wrong in their camp. It was a mess. They said openly that the Kiev regime still had a long way to go to join the EU and NATO. So it was told to continue the dirty work allocated to it by Brussels.

At its June summit in Madrid, NATO made a controversial decision to accept Finland and Sweden and reaffirmed the decision of the 2008 Bucharest summit on Ukraine and Georgia’s would-be membership of the alliance. Apparently, Ukraine would be accepted when it completed the criminal work allocated for it by its Western curators.

Since the start of the special military operation, we have been regularly accused of rejecting dialogue. This is not cynicism but distorted logic. Who is rejecting dialogue? We started with dialogue exactly a year ago. We drafted our proposals and put them on the negotiating table. We sent a delegation headed by our top professionals, deputy foreign ministers who held several dozen successful talks on different issues. Despite everything, we did everything in our power to reach out and deal with global security by pooling our efforts. Now they are saying we rejected this dialogue. How interesting. We repeatedly expressed our principled readiness for a conversation at all levels if the other side came to realise that it was necessary to respect Russia’s interests. Thus, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “if our Western counterparts realise their mistakes and express their readiness to return to discussing the documents we proposed in December 2021, this will be a positive factor. I doubt that they will find the strength or reason to do this though, but if it happens, we will be ready to return to dialogue.”

Adoption of a resolution recognising Russia a state sponsor of terrorism by the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament

We received a report from Poland in the morning that the Polish Parliament was again trying to accuse us of something and allegedly called us a “terrorist state.”

We answered this question conceptually many times in the past as regards similar actions by other countries. Allow me to return to our fundamental positions on this issue.

The attempts to accuse Russia of “state terrorism” began long before the special military operation. Kiev acted as the instigator of this rhetoric. It has made such accusations since 2014 when the post-Maidan Ukrainian authorities began labelling the militias from the DPR and the LPR as terrorists.

It made sense to start with something else – with the people who were sitting with bottles with flammable liquid on Maidan, the people who were burning tires. This was not just a performance or a fire show but a disruption of the city’s entire infrastructure, which created convenient conditions for the extremists for staging a state coup. Let me recall that these people were setting up tent camps. They were supplied with bottles with flammable liquid, sapper blades and other weapons that they used later on against security services authorised to protect government bodies.

Can you imagine people sitting for weeks in the centre of Washington, having surrounded the Capitol, the White House and the Department of State? Can you imagine them throwing these bottlers into cars with officials, heads of state, government members, including Americans? Can you imagine them blocking streets, preventing emergency services or ambulances from passing and rushing into administrative buildings? Could this mayhem last for weeks and be associated with damage to both the urban infrastructure and people’s lives? Then the shooting could have started. Can you imagine all this happening in Washington? Of course, it is possible to imagine anything. But I know for a fact how this would end. These people would be overpowered and thrown behind bars. They would be called “domestic terrorists.” People were given this label for doing a billion times less in the US. There are clips on this subject. Go to a search engine and click “Maidan, 2013-2014, tires, bottles with flammable liquid” and you will see these people who are called “fighters for democracy,” including in the West. Those who protected institutions and their houses from extremists and terrorists were labelled “terrorist elements.” In other words, everything has been turned on its head.

The Kiev regime was followed by some other unfriendly countries and even organisations. Our Polish neighbours could not resist the temptation. The lower chamber of the Polish Parliament adopted a resolution recognising Russia “a state sponsor of terrorism.”

We’d like to point out in this context once again that the Russian Federation has consistently pursued its line on rejecting the doctrine of “state terrorism” that some unscrupulous states and regimes are using to justify their interference in the affairs of other states in violation of Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter.

The UN Security Council is the only body that has the prerogative to introduce coercive measures against a sovereign state. For our part, we have always been committed to the UN Charter and consider any illegal unilateral coercive measures in international relations unacceptable.

This unfriendly step is part of a customised Western information and political campaign against Russia, and has nothing in common with the real situation in combating international terrorism.

Western countries use the same clichés and labels against all those who disagree with them and against everyone who is targeted by similar campaigns. It is only the US-led Western countries that are using such labels as a “terrorist state,” “terrorist regime” or “state sponsor of terrorism” to denote undesirable rivals. They are also doing it in order to legitimise unilateral coercive measures that run counter to the principle of sovereign equality.

We would like to emphasise that, as a conventional crime, terrorism entails individual criminal liability. Only individuals involved in terrorist activities, and not states, can be the perpetrators of this crime, and they alone can be prosecuted under criminal law. In the past, some marginal experts on international law discussed the doctrine of the states’ criminal liability after World War I; however, modern and historical international law does not recognise this concept.

All these pseudo-legal aspects are damaging for Poland itself. We realise that this is part of a customised campaign. As far as I know, they even included the tragedy near Smolensk for some reason. It is impossible to understand the motives of such actions.

Poland’s plans for the integration of Ukraine’s western regions

During the previous briefing, I received a question about Warsaw's plans in the context of Ukraine.

I asked the journalist to elaborate. As far as I could see, it concerned some statements made by Polish politicians. We have received an explanation, and now it is clear that the journalist was asking about the fundamental attitude of the Polish political elite to the situation around Ukraine, including their ambitions regarding the potential division of Ukraine. I would like to respond to these questions now.

We mentioned these “plans” many times during briefings and in statements by the ministry’s leadership. We were assured that it was our “imagination.” But it has turned out to be true and should be discussed openly.

For many years, the agenda of some Polish political forces, officials and representatives of the “deep state” or political elites reflected their striving to create Poland’s “sphere of influence” in the post-Soviet space. Poland’s great power ambitions, which go back to the period of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Rzeczpospolita), which occupied the territory from the Baltic to the Black Sea in the 16th and 17th centuries, have recently been translated into action.

All Polish leaders, representing various parts of the Polish political establishment, have pursued the policy of cultural and economic expansion in Ukraine over the past decades, and military-political expansion since 2014.

Initially, that policy was implemented on Poland’s initiative at the EU, like the Eastern Partnership (2009). After the 2014 coup in Ukraine, Warsaw focused on the US-promoted Three Seas Initiative (2015) and a relatively new format, the Lublin Triangle (2020), which is aimed at creating a common socio-cultural space of the Polish, Belarusian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian peoples, who have a common fate as the legal successors of Rzeczpospolita. In the military sphere, the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade, which was re-launched in September 2014 as a “peacekeeping force,” was the forerunner of the full-scale training of Ukrainian troops by Western instructors.

These leaders, who openly upheld the interests of other countries, either did not see or consciously condoned the crimes committed against the Ukrainian people. They allowed themselves to be drawn into the masquerade of reviving the “neighbourhood spirit” and “partnership” in their confrontation with Russia. In reality, they allowed others to destroy their country’s independence and sovereignty. They did it from the inside, by allowing fighters trained in Poland to enter the country. They turned Ukraine into a bridgehead and an instrument of hybrid war against Russia. All this has been done by the leadership, the political elite and the managers who ruled Ukraine during the past decades.

Warsaw is actively using its offices in Ukraine to work with ethnic Poles who are issued the so-called Pole’s cards, which often becomes an intermediate stage to receiving Polish citizenship. According to open information, about 150,000 Ukrainians filed applications for the Pole’s card in 2008-2019. Is this part of the national policy, which has been touted by Zelensky and his team, the vyshyvanka embroidered shirts and other elements of their campaign for “ethnic integrity?” They wear a vyshyvanka shirt today and a Russian kosovorotka national shirt tomorrow, get the Pole’s card the day after and then apply for an Israeli passport. They don’t care which dress they put on.

This policy is supported by the general public in Poland, where it is being promoted by state propaganda, including the authorities’ initiatives to depict the “historically Polish cities” of Vilnius and Lvov in Polish foreign travel passports, or to launch a train with the pre-war map of Poland, which included Ukraine’s western regions, on the Polish-Ukrainian border for Poland’s independence centenary in 2018.

With the beginning of Russia’s special military operation, Poland plunged even deeper into Ukrainian affairs, taking the initiative to allow its territory to be used as a transit hub for the delivery of humanitarian aid, weapons and military equipment to Kiev. There is reason to believe that Warsaw’s new tactics is to prepare for the integration of the western Ukrainian regions into the Polish state.

On March 15, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński, while in Kiev with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, proposed the idea of bringing NATO units into the territory of Ukraine citing the need for “a peacekeeping mission under the auspices of NATO or possibly a wider international bloc, but a mission that would be able to defend itself and would operate on the Ukrainian territory.” This is not just a remark they let slip “accidentally.” This is a train of thought that manifested itself repeatedly. He offered similar considerations on July 3, 2022: “Without a NATO peacekeeping force, [peace in Ukraine] will never be achieved, if we want peace to be truly guaranteed and agreed on decent terms for Ukraine.”

In May 2022, Polish President Andrzej Duda said “there will be no more borders between our countries – Poland and Ukraine, so that we may live together on this land, building and rebuilding our common happiness and common strength.” An Ode to Love from foxes to chickens. His statement only confirmed the information that Head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin made public on April 28, indicating that Warsaw and Washington had developed a plan to establish Poland’s control over its “historical possessions” in Western Ukraine. Do you think anyone on Bankova Street is thinking about this?

On July 28, the Ukrainian parliament approved a law granting Polish citizens a special status (effective September 16, 2022), enabling them to be employed, to stay in Ukraine for extended periods, register as taxpayers, and conduct economic activities. They are also entitled to education and medical services, as well as to certain social benefits on the territory of Ukraine. Is this what Andrzej Duda meant by living “together on this land,” building their “common happiness and common strength” together? Fine. Only, for some reason, it's not reciprocal. The citizens of Ukraine aren’t getting equal rights with Polish citizens on the territory of Poland. But Polish citizens get special rights on the territory of Ukraine to be able to build their “strength” and their “happiness.”

On November 18, Andrzej Duda called on Polish businesses to boldly join the process of rebuilding Ukraine, stressing that Poland was already negotiating “the most favourable conditions” for their projects in Ukraine with the country’s government.

At the same time, the Polish side (specifically former spokesman for the Polish Minister Coordinator for Special Services and now Secretary of State, Government Plenipotentiary for the Security of Information Space of the Republic of Poland Stanisław Żaryn) could not come up with anything but banalities in response to allegations in Russian and international media about Poland planning to annex western Ukrainian lands. He made a clichéd comment dismissing it as misinformation spread by Russian propaganda in order to “drive a wedge” between Poles and Ukrainians. What would a “wedge” do here? Everything has already been “rubbed out with an eraser” by representatives of the Polish authorities, and the common happy future announced. Polish citizens have been endowed with special rights. Such comments followed the statements on the Polish story made by Russian President Vladimir Putin (May 29 and December 7, 2022), Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergey Naryshkin (April 28, 2022) and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev (June 6, 2022).

Everything I said today has been aired by the Russian side repeatedly before. We have been stating obvious facts. No one is trying to hide them. We just listed them. It would be strange for Poland to deny them. But at the same time, it makes perfect sense for them to invent – to cover up their absolutely illegitimate and obviously illegal plans – to invent another story about “eyes being averted” and stick the “enemy” label on someone who they suppose could help them avoid having to give an explanation.

Situation in the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent’s zone of responsibility

I would like to comment on the situation in the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent’s zone of responsibility, which is currently in the spotlight.

Ahead of the briefing, we received a number of questions on this issue from Azerbaijani and Armenian media outlets. We are concerned about the blocking of the Lachin corridor caused by the parties’ disagreements regarding the development of the region’s ore deposits. Over the past few days, the Russian Defence Ministry and the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent have been working hard to de-escalate the situation. We expect that full-fledged traffic will resume soon.

We would like to note that the Lachin corridor, which links Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia, is under the control of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent. When they signed the Statement by the Leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia of November 9, 2020, the sides assumed certain obligations and pledged to unfailingly honour them. It is unacceptable to create problems hampering the normal life of the civilian population.

We have to separately comment on groundless accusations and provocations against Russian peacekeepers. We consider these actions unacceptable and counterproductive, no matter who is responsible for them. The Russian Peacekeeping Contingent effectively accomplishes its objectives and acts as a guarantor of regional stability.

The 62nd anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

December 14, 2022 marks the 62nd anniversary of adopting the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the UN General Assembly. The document expedited the process of eliminating the colonial system in the world, heralded the formal end of the ignominious colonialism era that had lasted several centuries, and instilled hope in the hearts of hundreds of millions of people that a more equitable world would be built in the near future.

However, most of these aspirations never came true. After acquiring formal sovereignty, many newly-established states retained their profound dependence on their former mother countries. The US-led Golden Billion countries continued to enthusiastically siphon the resources of developing states. An intricate neo-colonial system emerged essentially aimed at facilitating the eternal global hegemony of the collective West under the pretext of providing assistance, protecting human rights and other slogans.

At the same time, Western elites utilised the entire brainwashing arsenal and did their best to erase the memory of heinous and monstrous crimes perpetrated by colonisers, including genocide, ethnic cleansing campaigns, slave trade, the plundering of the cultural legacy of ancient civilisations and its destruction. As a result of these efforts, a generation of politicians who consider themselves infallible and believe in their exceptionalism has asserted itself in most European countries and the United States.

Russia made a substantial contribution to demolishing the global colonial system and asserting the independence of many African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. The people of Russia cherish the memory of that historical period. The streets of Russian cities and local schools are named after heroes of national liberation movements. We continue to unveil monuments in their honour and to produce films about them. In this regard, President of Russia Vladimir Putin said recently that it is necessary to study the history of colonialism, which still contains many blank spots. We urge Russian and foreign researchers and experts to become actively involved in this work.

The world is currently experiencing a painful and crucial period of its development. The issue of whether humankind will follow the road of justice, equality and harmony has become more topical than ever before. We should be even more realistic: will humankind choose a direction towards greater justice, possible equality and harmony or will it become a hostage to the selfish Western minority which supports a neo-colonial international order or the so-called rules-based pseudo-order. We hope that the governments and peoples of countries that form the global majority will make the right choice in line with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. We hope that they will do this in the spirit of the principle of the sovereign equality of states, the right to freely choose a development path and the genuine democratisation of international relations.

(Continued below)

(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/