West wants Ukraine to be 'second Afghanistan' – Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the West of attempting to turn Ukraine into “a second Afghanistan." He was speaking during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in China on Wednesday.
The remarks came ahead of a summit on the situation in the Central Asian country, which will take place on Thursday in Tunxi city, and will be attended, by China and Russia, as well as the US, and others.
“Those who tried to make Afghanistan the center of world politics are now trying to replace Afghanistan with Ukraine,” Lavrov said.
Since 1978, Afghanistan has been a scene of multiple wars with numerous international players involved. American and other Western troops left Kabul last year after a two decade occupation, with the country falling to the Taliban soon after.
Speaking ahead of his meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Lavrov said that the world was now going through “a very serious stage in the history of international relations.” According to the Russian official, Moscow and Beijing will now together work towards “a multipolar, fair, democratic” new world order.
China, meanwhile, has stuck to a ‘neutral’ position on the Ukrainian conflict. Despite voicing support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, Beijing has not flatly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine, stating instead that Moscow had legitimate concerns that needed to be addressed. In an interview earlier this week, Wang Yi said that “neither war nor sanctions are good solutions.” Moreover, he made it clear that it was not only China’s position but the stance of other Asian countries too.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
Western countries have condemned Russia’s “special military operation” and imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.