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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on Ukraine, Moscow, April 5, 2022

5 April 2022 21:30

In the past few days, the propaganda machine of the West and Ukraine has focused exclusively on fueling hysteria over video taken, as we understand, by the military and security service of Ukraine in the city of Bucha, Kiev Region.

Assertions of "war crimes" committed by the Russian Armed Forces in the course of the special military operation have repeatedly been proved false at the detailed briefings by the Russian Defence Ministry, our Ministry and the Permanent Mission to the UN where we held a special news conference yesterday. Today our Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya set forth our position in great detail, cited facts and read out the testimonies of witnesses at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

The question, then, is what purpose does this blatantly false provocation serve? We are inclined to view it as a pretext to torpedo the ongoing negotiations at a time when some light, however dim, has appeared at the end of the tunnel. At the talks in Istanbul on March 29, 2022, Ukrainian representatives set forth in writing their vision for a treaty on Ukraine's status and security guarantees for the first time during contacts between our delegations.

For the first time ever, the Ukrainian side has put on paper that it is prepared to declare Ukraine a neutral, non-aligned and non-nuclear state, and to refuse to deploy weapons from foreign states on its territory or to conduct exercises on its territory with the participation of foreign military personnel, unless they are approved by all guarantors of the future treaty, including the Russian Federation. The security guarantees envisaged by the treaty are a step toward everyone realising that the negotiations need to completely rule out NATO's eastward expansion, primarily to Ukraine, and to ensure indivisible security in Europe.

The Ukrainian side itself included in this draft of the main clauses of the treaty a provision saying that the security guarantees that will be provided to Ukraine in the event of an agreement will not apply to Crimea and Donbass. This is also a sign of significant progress in terms of Kiev making a realistic assessment of the status of these territories.

In accordance with the Istanbul agreements and as a gesture of goodwill, the Russian side decided to de-escalate the situation on the ground, primarily, in the Kiev and Chernigov regions. At precisely this moment, three days after our military left the town of Bucha, the provocation we are talking about was staged in that town. We have every reason to believe this was done to divert attention from the negotiation process and from the fact that, after Istanbul, the Ukrainian side began to backpedal and tried to attach new conditions. As soon as the Western media whipped up hysteria over the fake about Bucha, the Ukrainian negotiators attempted to interrupt the negotiating process.

We believe that the international community must know the truth, which is that the Russian side is ready to keep negotiating in good faith. If the Ukrainian delegation is going to continue to talk about the need for additional steps on the part of the Russian Federation, vehemently refuse (as it is doing now) even to discuss the goals of deтazification and demilitarisation and restoring Russian language rights, and insist that there are no problems with the Russian language or the rights of the Russian-speaking people and Nazification reaching all areas of that country's life, I do not think this will be helpful in advancing the negotiating process.

We would like to once again urge those who are behind Kiev's actions (we know who they are) to take seriously their responsibility for security in Europe, for the future of the world and for ensuring that all the principles of the UN Charter are honoured in practice. Russia is ready for this conversation.

In order for us to make real progress, instead of just the appearance of progress, we insist that Kiev be sent an unambiguous message not to resort to sabotage. Otherwise, we risk repeating the fate of the Minsk agreements. And that is something we will never do.

It is disquieting that the Ukrainian side has decided to demand that the conclusion of a treaty (which I am talking about now) mean that all hostilities must stop within several days and the Russian Armed Forces must leave Ukraine. After that, a referendum will supposedly be held and ratification will take place in the parliament. It is highly likely that when the treaty is voted down, we will have to start the negotiating process all over again. We are not going to play this cat-and-mouse game.

We do not want a repeat of the Minsk agreements. We cannot allow that to happen.

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