Russia considers Ukraine a ‘hostile’ country – Kremlin
Ukraine became an openly hostile country to Russia long before the ongoing conflict, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
“Ukraine is a very difficult country for us. It is in its current state a country hostile towards us,” Peskov told the Belarus-1 TV channel in an exclusive interview aired Saturday.
Over the past several years, Kiev has been taking consistent hostile steps against its own Russian-speaking population and Russian media outlets, and has openly nurtured neo-Nazi groups, the official complained. Ukraine has also written a clause outlining its desire to join the US-led NATO alliance into its constitution, Peskov noted. Kiev’s NATO aspirations have long been a major security concern for Moscow, and the West has refused to address the issue, citing the bloc’s declared “open-door” policy.
“It is a country that nurtured those who march through the streets with the Nazi swastika. It is a country that, de-facto, has completely banned any Russian-language Russian media outlets. It is a country that has turned Russian into a second-class language,” Peskov said.
Apart from turning a blind eye to openly neo-Nazi groups, Kiev actually has also allowed people sharing such views to integrate themselves into the country’s power structure, he added.
“For many years, indeed, Nazis were absolutely free from any pressure, from any persecution, they did what they wanted to,” Peskov said. “It was happening not only in western Ukraine, where they traditionally indulged in that, but this disease has begun to spread throughout the country. The authorities turned a blind eye to this.”
And not only turned a blind eye to it – representatives of the very same nationalist elements were in power. This is the scariest thing.
Moscow still hopes the current state of affairs can be reversed and Ukraine cease to be a hostile entity, Peskov added.
“We still expect and hope that, one way or another, manifestations of nationalist ideas will get banned in Ukraine, we hope that the Russian language will restore its position in Ukraine,” he outlined.
Not because it is Russian, but because this language is spoken by many millions, tens of millions of Ukraine’s residents. This is their native language, it cannot be made second- or third-class.
Peskov also reiterated Moscow's resolve to defend itself and its allies from any threats. He explicitly cautioned potential adversaries against targeting Russia’s “closest ally” – Belarus – in any manner.
“An attack on any member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), especially our closest ally, is, in fact, tantamount to an attack on Russia. There is absolute mutual support here. Nobody should doubt that,” he said.
Moscow launched a large-scale assault on its neighboring state in 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 NATO alliance. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.