For his first press conference of the year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a clear message to those in the West who are starting to rattle their chains about nuclear war:
“If in the West each of those responsible for politics could speak out independently, I think the situation would be different, but they are all ‘built.’ They were ‘built’ by the Americans and (to a very large extent) the British.... London literally incites V.A. Zelenskyy to bomb any objects in any part of the Russian Federation. … Are they provocateurs or do they think that our ‘knees are shaking’? Nobody stops them.
“Everyone just says that V.V. Putin threatens with a nuclear bomb, although this has never been said, unlike the Europeans and Americans. The Germans said that V.V. Putin should know that they, NATO, also have nuclear weapons. Repeatedly. The British, their former prime minister, said that she would press the button without hesitation. But we don’t need to be scared. Many people know this. We need to read W. Churchill more often. He has an aphorism about the Russian bear and how it should be treated.”
Lavrov also talked about the large “circle of friends” Russia has. China was ranked number one. “I am sure that you are aware of our assessments of the development of relations with the People’s Republic of China. It is the fastest growing economy along with India. Relations with China are experiencing the best period in their centuries-old history,” he said. He also noted many countries in Africa and Latin America are in this circle, as well as Iran, Türkiye, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Qatar.
He warned that “Ukraine, unfortunately, faces the same fate” as Afghanistan. “By relying on the ‘owner,’ not understanding that he thinks ‘only about himself, and not at all about you,’ you cannot count on the interests of your people being taken into account in any way.”
He said that presently there was no basis for negotiations, and that stories to that effect were simply false rumors. It was not Ukraine to which Russia had to talk, but the West, which were running the whole operation. Unfortunately, he said, “West wants no constructive solution that would take into account the legitimate concerns of the Russian Federation.
the West wants no constructive resolution that would take Russia’s legitimate concerns into account.” He said, “For the future, we do not reject this idea … of political and diplomatic regulation of existing differences. But we strictly and firmly condition this possibility on the preliminary full refusal of the West from the malicious course of comprehensively undermining the security of Russia and our interests and from demonstrative public disrespect for our fundamental interests.”
He said that Washington had embarked on an “restrained expansion” of the anti-Russian NATO bloc into the post-Soviet space. He added: “They did not put up with the use of the Kyiv regime for a frontal attack on everything Russian: language, education, culture, people who lived for centuries in the territories developed by their great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers and always remained Russian land, part of the Russian world. They wanted to turn Kyiv into a tool for destroying this history, common memory and destroying any ties between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. This is also a direct threat to our interests.
“It even ignored Ukraine’s fascist attempt to attack everything Russian, culture, language, and people. They wanted to turn Kiev into a tool to destroy this history, this common memory, and destroy any ties between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. This is also a direct threat to our interests.”