Russian assaults on Ukraine’s vitality infrastructure are a justified response to inherent threats, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has mentioned in a televised press convention that lasted greater than two hours.
“This infrastructure supports the combat capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions,” Lavrov mentioned Thursday in a web-based information convention, claiming that Moscow’s actions are, in reality, aimed toward minimising the variety of civilian casualties.
He mentioned that the latest barrage of Russian missile assaults was supposed to “knock out energy facilities that allow you to keep pumping deadly weapons into Ukraine in order to kill the Russians”.
Waves of missile assaults on Ukrainian vitality infrastructure since October have left thousands and thousands of individuals minimize off from electrical energy and warmth and, in some instances, water.
Dozens of civilians have died in nationwide assaults.
Lavrov additionally ranted towards the US and its NATO allies, accusing them of trampling on worldwide regulation whereas making an attempt to isolate and destroy Russia.
He claimed that the US has tried to discourage different nations, together with India, from sustaining shut ties with Russia, however these makes an attempt failed.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, insists it doesn’t goal civilians. In some instances, it has blamed Ukraine for assaults on Kyiv.
But Ukraine and the West say Russia is concentrating on key civilian infrastructure in a bid to decrease morale and pressure Ukraine into peace talks – on Moscow’s circumstances.
Lavrov mentioned Russia has “never asked for talks but always said that we are ready to listen to those who are interested in a negotiated settlement”.
At the identical time, Russia’s prime diplomat accused NATO and the US of comparable warfare ways within the latest previous.
“Compare the hysteria unleashed in the Western media now with what happened when the US bombed Iraq,” he mentioned.
In the previous Yugoslavia, NATO additionally bombed the TV centre in Belgrade on the grounds that it served enemy conflict propaganda, Lavrov mentioned.
The Kremlin has urged Ukraine to acknowledge Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as a part of Russia and recognise different land beneficial properties made throughout this yr’s battle.
It additionally has continued to push for ensures that Ukraine won’t be part of NATO, and for vaguely formulated “demilitarisation” and “de-Nazification” targets.
Asked if a gathering between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden is feasible, Lavrov mentioned “we don’t shun contacts” however added, “we haven’t yet heard any serious ideas yet”.
Lavrov mentioned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised the difficulty of US residents imprisoned in Russia in a cellphone name, however famous that Putin and Biden agreed to arrange a separate channel of communication between particular companies to debate the difficulty once they met in Geneva in June 2021.
“It’s working and I hope that some results will be achieved,” he added.
The Biden administration has been making an attempt for months to barter the discharge of WNBA star Brittney Griner and one other American – Michigan company safety government Paul Whelan, via a attainable prisoner swap with Moscow.
Commenting on Russia’s determination to postpone a spherical of nuclear arms management talks with the US that was scheduled for this week, Lavrov argued that “it’s impossible to discuss strategic stability nowadays while ignoring everything that is happening in Ukraine”.
“The goal has been announced to defeat Russia on the battlefield or even destroy Russia,” he mentioned. “How can the goal of defeating Russia not bear significance for strategic stability, considering that they want to destroy a key strategic stability actor?”