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Moscow Has No Plans to Occupy Ukraine, Russia's UN Envoy Says

© AP Photo / Richard DrewRussia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya leaves the UN Security Council before the addresses by Ukraine's Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022
Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya leaves the UN Security Council before the addresses by Ukraine's Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2022
The Russian army and Donbass militia forces began a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday after months of escalation and weeks of artillery, mortar and sniper attacks by Ukrainian forces in the Donbass conflict zone. The US and its allies responded by slapping Russia with new sanctions and promising over $850 million more in arms for Kiev.
Moscow has no plans to "occupy" Ukraine, and Russian forces do not pose any threat to Ukrainian civilians or civilian infrastructure, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, has said.

"The occupation of Ukraine is not part of our plans. The purpose of this special operation is to protect people [in the Donbass] who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. For this, it is necessary to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine," Nebenzya said, speaking at an emergency session of the UN General Assembly on Monday.

"We will also strive to bring to justice those who committed countless and bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation," the envoy said.
According to Nebenzya, in addition to its primary mission, Russia's military operation is an exercise of Moscow's right to self-defence "against a regime which has sought to restore access to nuclear weapons" -a reference to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's remarks at the Munich Security Conference on 19 February, in which he threatened to revise Kiev's non-nuclear status.
"I want to emphasize the following: the root for the current crisis lies in the actions of Ukraine itself. For many years, it sabotaged and flouted its obligations under the Minsk package of measures," Nebenzya said, referring to the 2015 Minsk Agreements on peace in the Donbass.

"Until very recently, there was a hope that Kiev would reconsider and comply with what they signed onto in 2015. For that, first and foremost, what was required was direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk...However the latest confirmation from the senior leadership of the country was that Ukraine was unwilling to engage in this dialogue, unwilling to take steps to grant special status to Donbass as set out in the Minsk Agreements. And this was actively supported by the Western patrons of Kiev. This persuaded us of the fact that we no longer had a right to allow the residents of Donbass to suffer any further," Nebenzya said.

The envoy stressed that the recent Ukrainian provocations in the Donbass, including the surge of shelling and sabotage attacks on Donbass militia positions and cities, prompted the DPR and LPR to appeal for Russian support, and forcing Moscow to act.
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Ukraine in NATO is 'Red Line' for Russia

Nebenzya also commented on Washington and NATO's roles in escalating the Ukrainian crisis, accusing them of egging Kiev on to act with impunity in the Donbass.
"Moreover, our Western colleagues have shamelessly inundated the country with weapons, have sent instructors to the country and effectively incited Ukrainians...to engage in an armed provocation against the Donbass," he said.
Nebenzya warned that "the deployment of NATO infrastructure in [Ukraine] would compel us to take such measures in response which that would put Russia and NATO on the brink of conflict."
"For us, Ukraine joining NATO is a red line, first and foremost from a military strategic level," the envoy stressed.
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