Lavrov labels Western ‘Russia invasion’ claims ‘propaganda, fakes and fiction’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has lashed out at Western officials who have been peddling the purported threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Apparently, they do it for the sheer pleasure of accusing Moscow, he told RT in an exclusive interview on Friday.
“I am certain that even casual observers of foreign policy have long confirmed to themselves that all of it is propaganda, fake news, fiction,” Lavrov said of the accusations.
He suggested that Western officials making such claims simply like doing it. “If they enjoy it, let them take their time getting the pleasure,” he said.
Lavrov called out several senior officials, including UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, for their accusations against Moscow and for fueling public anxiety over a possible war in Ukraine. Whatever Russia does, Western governments keep talking about how the country is threatening Ukraine, the foreign minister said.
“[They allege] that even if Russia pulls back its troops, the threat will still be there. They are laying the ground for the future,” he said. Even after Russia’s military exercises are over and its troops are back at their home bases, their supposed threat will remain “forever and ever,” Lavrov said.
This rhetoric comes at a moment when NATO, not Russia, is compromising security in Europe by deploying troops and building up military infrastructure close to Russia’s borders, the foreign minister noted.
Lavrov said he expects to continue talks with his US counterpart over how Russia and the West can reconcile their expectations for the future of European security. This week, Russia published a formal response to comments on the issue it received from the US. Moscow accused its opponents of cherry-picking parts of its suggestions on how to deflate tensions, while ignoring Moscow’s essential concerns for its safety due to NATO expansion and other threats posed by Western powers.
Lavrov and Blinken “agreed that after Russia sends its response and they study our vision of the situation, he would be prepared to meet,” the official said.
It is in our interest to explain in every detail the seriousness of the situation, to explain to our American colleagues and all NATO allies that we cannot be satisfied with their promises.
NATO rejected Russia’s demands to put on pause its European expansion and pull back foreign troops deployed in Europe close to Russia. The military bloc claimed it cannot compromise its ‘open door policy’, and thus will not revoke a pledge to eventually introduce Ukraine as a new member, which NATO leaders made in 2008.