On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summed up the activities of Russian diplomacy in 2022. He focused on the role of the United States in past, present and future world troubles, accusing Washington of preparing a “final solution to the Russian question.” Although anti-American attacks have not been uncommon in recent years, such language has not been used before. In general, after three hours of communication between the chief Russian diplomat and journalists, the impression left was that diplomacy, at least in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, should not be counted on.
It is useful to compare the current final press conference of Sergey Lavrov with the one he gave on January 14, 2022. A month and a half remained before Russia began large-scale hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, and Moscow, including the Russian Foreign Ministry, categorically denied any preparations for what would later be announced as a “special military operation.”
That press conference of Mr. Lavrov was alarming, but also left hope. A lot of criticism was also expressed at that time against the United States and the West as a whole. But at that time, Russia and the West were actively discussing the issue of providing the Russian side with security guarantees.
While the negotiations continued, it seemed that there was a chance to reach an agreement. Even then, Sergei Lavrov warned that if Russian proposals for legally binding guarantees, including on the non-expansion of NATO, are rejected, Moscow will ensure its security on the basis of proposals from the military.
A year later, the Russian minister no longer criticizes the United States, but speaks of Washington as an evil on a universal scale: “Today we consider the position of the United States and the West as the main problem that creates difficulties in all directions. Washington’s policy of diktat in international affairs literally means the following: the Americans are allowed to do whatever and wherever they want – even on the other side of the Earth. What they think is necessary, they will do. Everyone else cannot do anything without American consent, even in response to direct security threats that the United States itself creates on the borders of countries.
The large-scale Ukrainian crisis, according to the minister, is also man-made.
“Just as Napoleon mobilized virtually all of Europe against the Russian Empire, as Hitler captured, put under arms most of the European countries and threw them against the Soviet Union, the United States formed a coalition of virtually all Europeans in NATO and the EU, and through Ukraine” powers of attorney” are waging war against our country with the same task – the final solution of the “Russian question”. Hitler wanted to finally solve the “Jewish question,” Sergei Lavrov recalled.
Such characteristics against the United States have not yet been heard from the lips of the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. In his picture of today’s world, the United States appeared as a powerful puppeteer, ruling not only the European Union, which “completely submitted to American dictates,” but also Australia, Great Britain, Japan and other countries. However, there are still those who resist. Russia, of course, is one of those countries.
“We are building such forms of interaction with our reliable partners, friendly countries that will benefit us. Those who want to subjugate the whole world will not be able to influence them,” Mr. Lavrov said. To partners and those who do not want to follow in the wake of the United States, he attributed the states of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The minister is convinced that developing countries – China, India, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt and others – are interested in a multipolar world, the formation of which the United States is trying to stop. “The process of forming a multipolar world order will be long. It will take a certain historical epoch. We are in the midst of this process,” Sergey Lavrov believes.
The height of the process, judging by the minister’s answer to RIA Novosti’s question about whether the military phase of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict can be stopped this year, does not yet imply a cessation of hostilities. “Our military and the president have already commented on these issues more than once. He confirmed that the special military operation has goals that are not invented, not just taken from the ceiling, but goals that are determined by the fundamental, legitimate interests of Russia. In Ukraine, as in any territory bordering Russia, there should be no military infrastructure that poses a threat to our country, there should be no persecution against our compatriots who, by the will of fate, turned out to be citizens of the Ukrainian state,” and here Mr. Lavrov did not reassure.
He added that Moscow is ready to discuss the “serious proposals” of the West, but so far they have not been received. And if and when they do, it is not only Ukraine that should be discussed.
“Talk to us: let’s come up with something with Ukraine, and the rest will be ours – no, an honest conversation will be needed,” Sergey Lavrov said.
Moscow is also not considering the issue of negotiations with Kyiv. “Zelensky himself (President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.— “uh”) puts forward completely absurd initiatives, a plan of ten points, where everything is piled up – food security, energy security, biological security, the withdrawal of Russian troops from everywhere, repentance of the Russian Federation, a tribunal, condemnation, and so on. There can be no talk of negotiations with Zelensky, if only because he legally forbade negotiating with the Russian government,” the Foreign Minister recalled.
The Greek journalist asked the Russian minister to challenge the notion that Russia has not shown its best qualities by acting against Ukraine in the same way that those whom it so strongly criticizes have acted in other parts of the world before. Sergei Lavrov said that he would not argue, but would state his opinion.
“You can compare, of course. But we defended our security, because Ukraine was made a springboard for an attack on Russia, for undermining our interests. Already in the Sea of u200bu200bAzov, it was planned to build naval bases, primarily Anglo-Saxon ones. These are serious things. And secondly, well, of course, the humiliation of Russians, to whom the Ukrainian constitution guarantees their rights, is unacceptable. They are our compatriots, they associate the protection of their legitimate interests with us,” the minister said.
Sergei Lavrov reminded a Greek journalist and then his American colleague from Sky News about the actions of the United States and its allies in various countries – from Yugoslavia to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, noting that the United States “invaded foreign territory about three hundred times.”
“In most cases, either because someone from the Americans offended someone – this happens regularly in Central America, in the Caribbean, or the goal was to eliminate threats to peace and security,” the minister added. At the same time, according to Mr. Lavrov, the United States did not pay attention to the UN Charter: they “spit every day, hourly” on the key principle written in it – the principle of the sovereign equality of states.
As a result of the above, a simple formula was derived: if the United States can violate international law, why not others. Thus, not only peace, but also war can be multipolar.