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29 Feb, 2024 22:24

Ukraine is ‘matter of life and death’ for Russia – diplomat

For the US, the conflict is a “lucrative business project,” Dmitry Birichevsky has said
Ukraine is ‘matter of life and death’ for Russia – diplomat

A senior Russian diplomat pushed back on an attempt by Albania, a US ally, to use a regional forum for political grandstanding in support of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has revealed.

Albania currently presides over the Organization Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), and chose to call an extraordinary informal meeting of the group’s senior officials on February 23, a Russian national holiday. 

That drew a sharp response from Dmitry Birichevsky, the head of the Russian delegation, which the Foreign Ministry chose to make public on Wednesday evening.

“If there is a general mood in the room not to focus on BSEC, let’s consider it as a talk show, as a self-made Security Council which we invented for ourselves, not for practical projects, not for helping people,” Birichevsky said, addressing Ukraine’s “provocative performance.”

For Russia, the issue of Ukraine is not about territory or geopolitics, but “a matter of life and death,” said the diplomat. “It is about being able to live as [we did] for ages – as one family, with the same core values that are not for foreign intruders to destroy.”

Birichevsky reminded his colleagues that Ukraine “lost its sovereignty” in 2014, “as a result of the US-EU sponsored and directed coup d’état.” He noted that President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted even after signing an agreement to settle the dispute with the nationalist protesters peacefully – mediated by France, Germany and Poland, none of whom cared when it was violated.

“If we want to remember everything today, then let’s remember everything,” Birichevsky said, bringing up the role of US diplomat Victoria Nuland in the coup.

He also called the government of Ukraine a “nationalist neo-Nazi regime… that has been conducting a full-fledged war against its own population” for the past decade. Just since February 2022, Birichevsky noted, the Ukrainian military has launched 32,388 attacks on the Donetsk People’s Republic alone, killing 4,787 civilians – including 142 children – and wounding another 5,776  people.

Meanwhile, the EU has wrecked its own economy, losing approximately $1.5 trillion due to the so-called sanctions against Russia, which the “global majority” of 150 countries never joined or recognized, Birichevsky argued.

“The proxy war till the last Ukrainian,” the Russian diplomat added, “is a lucrative business project for Washington, nothing more.”

Russia has always been open and ready to resolve the conflict through negotiations, Birichevsky noted, but Ukraine “suspended talks in 2022 after a direct instruction from London and Washington” and has repeatedly demonstrated “genuine unwillingness” to end the ongoing tragedy.

Birichevsky is the director of the Department of Economic Cooperation at the Russian Foreign Ministry. The BSEC is made up of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine and Türkiye.