‘West is using Ukraine as an instrument for making a threat against Russia’ says Lavrov

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Russian servicemen delivering humanitarian aid to the settlements of the Kiev region on Sunday morning

RUSSIA has rejected any possibility of a nuclear war amid the conflict in Ukraine, warning the United States and the European Union that Moscow will never depend on the West again.

In a press conference in Turkey on Thursday, when asked if he thought a nuclear war could be triggered, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, ‘I don’t want to believe it, and I do not believe it.’
The top Russian diplomat said the words about a nuclear war are only spread by the West and that Russia is not oriented in that direction.
‘Of course it gives us cause for concern when the West, like Freud, keeps on returning and returning to this topic,’ Lavrov said referring to the Western overtures of a nuclear war.
Lavrov accused the West of using Ukraine as an instrument and making it a threat to Russia.
He lashed out at European countries for supplying man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems to Kiev, warning that such deliveries run the risk of damaging civil aviation, not only across the Ukrainian sky, but the entire sky of Europe.
The Russian minister said Moscow merely favours a neutral Ukraine. He said Russia has no intention of attacking any other country and is prepared to offer Ukraine security guarantees.
Lavrov said the talk of a potential Russian attack on the formerly Soviet Baltic States ‘appear to be old hoaxes’.
Referring to the Western sanctions against Russia, the foreign minister said Moscow had never used its oil and gas as weapons and that it would always have markets for its energy exports.
‘We’ll emerge from this crisis with a revitalised psychology and conscience: We won’t have any illusions that the West can be a reliable partner,’ Lavrov said, adding, ‘We will do everything to ensure that we never again depend on the West in those areas of our life which have a significant meaning for our people.’
Meanwhile, Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive officer of Rostec Corporation and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said Russia would weather the sanctions.
‘If you glance at Russia’s history, almost all of that history Russia has battled with different sanctions, with enemies which encircled her, and she always came out as the victor. Now will be the same,’ Chemezov told Rostec staff.
The remarks come on the heels of talks between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Turkey, where they failed to agree on a ceasefire.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called on Russia to allow for the functioning of humanitarian corridors, primarily out of the crisis-hit city of Mariupol.
Lavrov has said the actual course of negotiations to resolve the conflict is ongoing in Belarus.
Lavrov also said that a hospital, which was attacked in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, had been serving as a military base for nationalists.
‘This maternity hospital has long been occupied by the Azov Battalion and other radicals. They drove out the women in labour, nurses and general staff. It was the base of the ultra-radical Azov Battalion.’
However, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, rejected the Ukrainian claims of bombing any medical hospital by Russia and labelled them ‘fake news.’
Russia has rejected as ‘information terrorism’ a claim that its forces have bombed a children’s hospital in Ukraine’s Mariupol City, more than two weeks after Moscow launched a military offensive against Ukraine.
President Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict provoked a unanimous response from the US and its allies, imposing a long list of sanctions on Moscow.
Russia says it will halt the military operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of conditions. Moscow has specified some of the demands as protection of its interests and nationals in Ukraine and prevention of the country’s accession to NATO.
The military conflict has so far displaced more than 1.5 million people in what the United Nations has described as the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

  • European Union leaders have dashed Kiev’s demand for an accelerated membership of the bloc over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with leaders declining to open a membership procedure at the time of war.

As talks among the 27 national leaders ended early this morning, Croatia Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said no country has entered the European Union overnight.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said ‘there is no fast-track process’, while adding that the bloc would continue deepening ties with Kiev.
‘Can we open a membership procedure with a country at war? I don’t think so,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said, calling for caution over what he called the balance points in that region.
Macron also said that the war in Ukraine ‘is going to lead us to completely redefine the structure of Europe’.
Over 2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its ‘special military operation’ against the country.
Some EU leaders pushed for tougher sanctions against Russia’s oil and gas industries in spite of European reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU should stop using Russian fossil fuels by 2027, adding that she would propose a roadmap for that in mid-May.
But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the EU will not impose sanctions on Russian gas or oil.
‘The most important issue for us has been settled in a favourable way: there won’t be sanctions that would apply to gas or oil, so Hungary’s energy supply is secure in the upcoming period,’ Orban said in a video posted on his Facebook page on Friday.

  • Ukraine has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that all contact with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been lost.

It comes a week after Russian forces took over the nuclear power plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986.
The IAEA said all communications between staff at the plant and Ukrainian regulatory authorities were lost ‘the day after the Russian-controlled site lost all external power supplies.’
IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi told reporters in Vienna on Thursday that the agency had ‘scheduled physical inspections’ of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.
He said the IAEA has a ‘number of remote monitoring devices’ in operation.
‘We are trying to make sure that we will not have again added suffering because of any radioactive release or anything having to do with nuclear facilities,’ he added.

  • According to satellite images taken last Thursday, a huge Russian military convoy stationed outside Kiev last week appears to have dispersed.

Maxar Technologies, a US-based company, said satellite images showed that the 64km (40-mile) line of vehicles, tanks, and artillery has broken up and been redeployed.
It said armoured units were manoeuvring in and through the surrounding towns close to the Antonov airport, northwest of Kiev.
President Putin says Russia will ultimately emerge stronger and more independent after overcoming the West’s illegitimate sanctions.
Some of the vehicles have moved into forests, Maxar said, adding that the images also show convoy elements further north have repositioned near the town of Lubyanka with towed artillery howitzers in firing positions nearby.
The development comes amid reports that Russian forces have reached the northeastern edge of the Ukrainian capital.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Friday that Russian-backed separatists have captured the Ukrainian city of Volnovakha, a strategically important city located north of the besieged Azov Sea port of Mariupol.
A Kiev government official said on Thursday that the military conflict has so far destroyed about $100 billion in roads, bridges, and businesses in Ukraine, dealing a huge blow to the country’s economy.
‘Currently around 50 per cent of our businesses are not operating, and those which are still operating are not operating at 100 per cent,’ said Oleg Ustenko, chief economic advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
‘The situation in terms of economic growth is going to be really very depressing, even if the war immediately stops,’ he said in a virtual speech to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Ustenko urged European countries to boycott Russian oil and natural gas, saying while European nations rely on Russian energy for heat, ‘I can assure you it’s much, much, much colder in the underground of Ukraine where the people are hidden.’

  • The US Congress included almost $14 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine in a huge omnibus 2022 spending bill that was passed on Thursday.

‘We’re keeping our promise to support Ukraine as they fight for their lives against the evil Vladimir Putin,’ Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, said in a statement.
‘With nearly $14 billion in emergency aid, Congress will approve more than double what the administration originally requested.’
Schumer’s Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell described the deal as a ‘downpayment’.
‘The world is a dangerous place. It is growing more dangerous by the day,’ he said in a statement.
In the meantime, the United States and its allies, including the Group of Seven nations and the European Union, are moving to revoke Russia’s ‘most favoured nation’ status over the war in Ukraine, multiple people familiar with the situation have reported.
Stripping Russia of its most favoured nation status paves the way for the US and its allies to impose tariffs on a wide range of Russian goods.
Russia has said that its ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine is intended to disarm the country and unseat leaders it calls neo-Nazis.RUSSIA has rejected any possibility of a nuclear war amid the conflict in Ukraine, warning the United States and the European Union that Moscow will never depend on the West again.
In a press conference in Turkey on Thursday, when asked if he thought a nuclear war could be triggered, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, ‘I don’t want to believe it, and I do not believe it.’
The top Russian diplomat said the words about a nuclear war are only spread by the West and that Russia is not oriented in that direction.
‘Of course it gives us cause for concern when the West, like Freud, keeps on returning and returning to this topic,’ Lavrov said referring to the Western overtures of a nuclear war.
Lavrov accused the West of using Ukraine as an instrument and making it a threat to Russia.
He lashed out at European countries for supplying man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems to Kiev, warning that such deliveries run the risk of damaging civil aviation, not only across the Ukrainian sky, but the entire sky of Europe.
The Russian minister said Moscow merely favours a neutral Ukraine. He said Russia has no intention of attacking any other country and is prepared to offer Ukraine security guarantees.
Lavrov said the talk of a potential Russian attack on the formerly Soviet Baltic States ‘appear to be old hoaxes’.
Referring to the Western sanctions against Russia, the foreign minister said Moscow had never used its oil and gas as weapons and that it would always have markets for its energy exports.
‘We’ll emerge from this crisis with a revitalised psychology and conscience: We won’t have any illusions that the West can be a reliable partner,’ Lavrov said, adding, ‘We will do everything to ensure that we never again depend on the West in those areas of our life which have a significant meaning for our people.’
Meanwhile, Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive officer of Rostec Corporation and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said Russia would weather the sanctions.
‘If you glance at Russia’s history, almost all of that history Russia has battled with different sanctions, with enemies which encircled her, and she always came out as the victor. Now will be the same,’ Chemezov told Rostec staff.
The remarks come on the heels of talks between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Turkey, where they failed to agree on a ceasefire.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called on Russia to allow for the functioning of humanitarian corridors, primarily out of the crisis-hit city of Mariupol.
Lavrov has said the actual course of negotiations to resolve the conflict is ongoing in Belarus.
Lavrov also said that a hospital, which was attacked in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, had been serving as a military base for nationalists.
‘This maternity hospital has long been occupied by the Azov Battalion and other radicals. They drove out the women in labour, nurses and general staff. It was the base of the ultra-radical Azov Battalion.’
However, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, rejected the Ukrainian claims of bombing any medical hospital by Russia and labelled them ‘fake news.’
Russia has rejected as ‘information terrorism’ a claim that its forces have bombed a children’s hospital in Ukraine’s Mariupol City, more than two weeks after Moscow launched a military offensive against Ukraine.
President Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict provoked a unanimous response from the US and its allies, imposing a long list of sanctions on Moscow.
Russia says it will halt the military operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of conditions. Moscow has specified some of the demands as protection of its interests and nationals in Ukraine and prevention of the country’s accession to NATO.
The military conflict has so far displaced more than 1.5 million people in what the United Nations has described as the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

  • European Union leaders have dashed Kiev’s demand for an accelerated membership of the bloc over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with leaders declining to open a membership procedure at the time of war.

As talks among the 27 national leaders ended early this morning, Croatia Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said no country has entered the European Union overnight.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said ‘there is no fast-track process’, while adding that the bloc would continue deepening ties with Kiev.
‘Can we open a membership procedure with a country at war? I don’t think so,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said, calling for caution over what he called the balance points in that region.
Macron also said that the war in Ukraine ‘is going to lead us to completely redefine the structure of Europe’.
Over 2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its ‘special military operation’ against the country.
Some EU leaders pushed for tougher sanctions against Russia’s oil and gas industries in spite of European reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU should stop using Russian fossil fuels by 2027, adding that she would propose a roadmap for that in mid-May.
But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the EU will not impose sanctions on Russian gas or oil.
‘The most important issue for us has been settled in a favourable way: there won’t be sanctions that would apply to gas or oil, so Hungary’s energy supply is secure in the upcoming period,’ Orban said in a video posted on his Facebook page on Friday.

  • Ukraine has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that all contact with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been lost.

It comes a week after Russian forces took over the nuclear power plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986.
The IAEA said all communications between staff at the plant and Ukrainian regulatory authorities were lost ‘the day after the Russian-controlled site lost all external power supplies.’
IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi told reporters in Vienna on Thursday that the agency had ‘scheduled physical inspections’ of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.
He said the IAEA has a ‘number of remote monitoring devices’ in operation.
‘We are trying to make sure that we will not have again added suffering because of any radioactive release or anything having to do with nuclear facilities,’ he added.

  • According to satellite images taken last Thursday, a huge Russian military convoy stationed outside Kiev last week appears to have dispersed.

Maxar Technologies, a US-based company, said satellite images showed that the 64km (40-mile) line of vehicles, tanks, and artillery has broken up and been redeployed.
It said armoured units were manoeuvring in and through the surrounding towns close to the Antonov airport, northwest of Kiev.
President Putin says Russia will ultimately emerge stronger and more independent after overcoming the West’s illegitimate sanctions.
Some of the vehicles have moved into forests, Maxar said, adding that the images also show convoy elements further north have repositioned near the town of Lubyanka with towed artillery howitzers in firing positions nearby.
The development comes amid reports that Russian forces have reached the northeastern edge of the Ukrainian capital.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Friday that Russian-backed separatists have captured the Ukrainian city of Volnovakha, a strategically important city located north of the besieged Azov Sea port of Mariupol.
A Kiev government official said on Thursday that the military conflict has so far destroyed about $100 billion in roads, bridges, and businesses in Ukraine, dealing a huge blow to the country’s economy.
‘Currently around 50 per cent of our businesses are not operating, and those which are still operating are not operating at 100 per cent,’ said Oleg Ustenko, chief economic advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
‘The situation in terms of economic growth is going to be really very depressing, even if the war immediately stops,’ he said in a virtual speech to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Ustenko urged European countries to boycott Russian oil and natural gas, saying while European nations rely on Russian energy for heat, ‘I can assure you it’s much, much, much colder in the underground of Ukraine where the people are hidden.’

  • The US Congress included almost $14 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine in a huge omnibus 2022 spending bill that was passed on Thursday.

‘We’re keeping our promise to support Ukraine as they fight for their lives against the evil Vladimir Putin,’ Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, said in a statement.
‘With nearly $14 billion in emergency aid, Congress will approve more than double what the administration originally requested.’
Schumer’s Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell described the deal as a ‘downpayment’.
‘The world is a dangerous place. It is growing more dangerous by the day,’ he said in a statement.
In the meantime, the United States and its allies, including the Group of Seven nations and the European Union, are moving to revoke Russia’s ‘most favoured nation’ status over the war in Ukraine, multiple people familiar with the situation have reported.
Stripping Russia of its most favoured nation status paves the way for the US and its allies to impose tariffs on a wide range of Russian goods.
Russia has said that its ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine is intended to disarm the country and unseat leaders it calls neo-Nazis.