HomeWorldRussia’s Lavrov vows ‘full protection’ for any annexed territory

Russia’s Lavrov vows ‘full protection’ for any annexed territory

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Russia’s Lavrov vows ‘full protection’ for any annexed territory
Russia’s Lavrov vows ‘full protection’ for any annexed territory

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says regions of Ukraine where widely-criticised. The referendums are being held will be under Moscow’s “full protection”, If they are annexed. Raising the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons if Kyiv tries to retake those territories.

Lavrov’s comments at a news conference in the US city of New York on Saturday. Lavrov came as residents of four Russian-occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine continued voting on whether to join Russia.

Moscow has described the four-day referendums. Referendums began on Friday as a vote for self-determination. Ukraine and its Western allies view the polls as a Kremlin-orchestrated sham with a foregone conclusion.

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Kyiv says many of the regions’ residents are being coerced into casting their ballots.

“All the laws, doctrines, concepts and strategies of the Russian Federation apply to all its territory”. He also referring to Russia’s doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons.

The minister’s comments follow an explicit warning on Thursday. It was by former President Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Any weapons in Moscow’s arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend territories incorporated into Russia. Putin had also earlier pledged to use “all the means at our disposal”, including nuclear weapons, to protect his country if its territorial integrity was threatened.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Lavrov’s comments, and Putin’s earlier statement when he said he was not bragging about the use of nuclear weapons, were “irresponsible” and “absolutely unacceptable.”

“Ukraine will not give up. We call on all nuclear powers to speak out now and make it clear to Russia that such rhetoric puts the world at risk and will not be tolerated,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine has also called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting on the referendums, calling for Russia to be “responsible for its new attempts to change Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders in violation of the UN Charter,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Twitter.

Lavrov had used his UN speech earlier to justify Russia’s actions, repeating Russian claims that the elected government in Kiev was illegitimately installed, full of neo-Nazis and oppressed Russian-speakers in the east of the country.

He also sought to shift the focus to the United States, claiming that Washington and its NATO allies, not Russia, as the West maintains, are aggressively undermining the system the UN represents. He accused the West of aspiring to “destroy and fracture Russia” to “remove from the global map a geopolitical entity that has become too independent.”

Asked at the news conference if he could foresee future talks with the United States to make Russia feel more secure about what he calls NATO’s invasion of its sphere of influence, Lavrov said it was the West that had broken off previous discussions. His U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, broke off talks on the eve of the invasion, saying the move of Russian forces on Ukraine’s border was a “total rejection of diplomacy.”

“We’re not saying no to contacts. And when proposals come along, we agree. If our partners want to meet quietly so that no one finds out, it’s okay because it’s always better to talk than not to talk,” Lavrov said.

“But in the current situation, Russia is simply not going to take the first step.”

He also tried to portray opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine as limited to Washington and the countries under its influence, even though nearly three-quarters of the General Assembly voted to rebuke Moscow in March.

However, Russia’s strategic partner, China, has been firmly on the fence, criticizing Western sanctions against Moscow, but failing to back or assist in the military campaign. In a surprise acknowledgement, Putin said last week that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, had concerns about Ukraine.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his speech to the UN called on Russia and Ukraine to “prevent the crisis from spreading” and affecting developing countries.

“China supports all efforts leading to the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis. The pressing priority is to facilitate peace talks,” Wang said. “The fundamental solution is to address the legitimate security concerns of all parties and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture,” he added.

Asked by reporters if Russia was under any pressure from China to end the war, Lavrov said, “You can tell your readers, listeners, and viewers that I avoided answering your question.”


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