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Iran Press TV

Russia says many foreign officers, mercs fighting for Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Monday, 02 May 2022 12:46 AM

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says there are "many" foreign officers and mercenaries fighting for Ukraine on the western side of the ex-Soviet republic.

Lavrov, who made the remarks during an interview with an Italian channel on Sunday, however, did not offer further information regarding the nationalities or the number of the fighters.

Moscow has previously said it has killed scores of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" aimed at "demilitarization" of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine's Western-backed government.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at "defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime."

Lavrov said Kiev's attacks on Ukraine's Donbas region, which features Donetsk and Lugansk, were clearly aimed at terrorizing the civilian population there.

He also said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky--who has repeatedly asked for a meeting with Putin to end the war--constantly changes his position. The Ukrainians have sabotaged negotiations between the two sides that have been addressing the issue of the conflict, Lavrov said.

The Russian top diplomat also said, despite what the Western media have been broadcasting concerning Moscow's aims, Russia had never halted efforts to stop a potential nuclear war.

"Western media misrepresent Russian threats," Lavrov said, adding, "Russia has never interrupted efforts to reach agreements that guarantee that a nuclear war never develops."

The official also berated the West for "stealing" Russia's money through the many rounds of sanctions that they have slapped on his country ever since the beginning of the conflict.

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