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Ukraine Merely Pretends to Strive for Peace - Russian Foreign Ministry

© Sputnik / Russian Foreign Ministry / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attends her weekly briefing in Moscow, Russia.
Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attends her weekly briefing in Moscow, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.09.2023
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also shared her expectations of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Far East.
Speaking to Sputnik on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also discussed the complexities of Russia's relations with Armenia and addressed how Moscow will respond to Britain's training of Ukrainian sabotage groups preparing to attack Russian territory.
The 8th Eastern Economic Forum took place on September 10-13 in Vladivostok on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University. Sputnik News Agency is the event's official information partner.
– One of the most important developments in recent days is the visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Russia. What are your expectations for the upcoming talks?
– Judging by the three-hour plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum, the central theme is undoubtedly geopolitical changes that are not just theoretical but have concrete contours. We see how the discussions about a fairer world are being put into practice. It's about the synergy of the G20, not the dominance of the G7 within the G20, not the loud declarations of the world capitals about what they call developing countries - I don't even know what terms they come up with - but real synergy and words spoken by the same BRICS alliance, the same developing countries within the G20. It is about the expansion of BRICS, de-dollarization, transition to settlements in national currencies, not as a front or as an alternative to something good, but as an escape from the endless crises created by the United States. This is the main agenda today. Of course, bilateral contacts are crucial in this context. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is undoubtedly of great importance for regional security and stability.
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But even here we can't avoid our foreign colleagues. By the way, we should pay tribute to the analysts of the Russian Foreign Ministry, our specialists and diplomats, who have repeatedly emphasized that behind all the noise and the public campaign, which, as always, unfolds in the Western mainstream media, one should see the real facts. They have consistently explained the etymology of what is happening around North Korea. They have explained how it is presented and what it actually is, and there's quite a difference. They have told the whole story of how the United States has been provoking for decades and preventing the two Koreas from reaching a normal agreement. I believe that without the US they would have reached an agreement long ago. I am confident of that.
By the way, they made a similar experiment with Beijing and Taipei: we have already seen how Beijing and Taipei held summits and meetings, and everything was going positively, peacefully, but once again, Washington intervened. Now we see that tensions are rising in this track as well. And it's not the only one. So, of course, it's one of the most important components of the picture that's emerging in the Asia-Pacific region at this stage.
– How much do you expect the practical bilateral interaction with Pyongyang, which was interrupted by the pandemic, to intensify?
– It is already being restored. Indeed, the Korean Peninsula went through a difficult time during the pandemic for a variety of reasons. Each country on the Korean Peninsula had its own way of dealing with the pandemic and its consequences. But life is gradually returning to normal. There are still issues that need to be addressed, but we expect that diplomats and leaders of various countries will meet to overcome and resolve these issues in a mutually respectful manner, as we usually do.
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– During the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, President Putin revealed that captured Ukrainian saboteurs had testified about the preparation of sabotage groups planning terrorist acts against power transmission lines and nuclear facilities in Russian territory. He also mentioned that British instructors had trained these saboteurs. Will Moscow take any action against London in this regard, such as formal protests?
– Absolutely, as we have done in the past, we will continue to raise this issue persistently, both through public channels, making it a matter of public record, and through diplomatic means, emphasizing the unacceptability of participating in such activities.
I would like to remind you that the so-called "grain deal" in the West, known to us as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the comprehensive agreement reached almost a year ago, has been suspended. As you may recall, the reason for this suspension was precisely the same diversions and acts of terror against Russian ships in which Britain was involved. The involvement of British intelligence and trainers may be a matter of detail, but Britain was directly involved. That is why we call this a hybrid war against our nation. That is why we see Ukraine only as a tool, without any illusions.
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Once again, our objections, not only our arguments, but our absolute condemnation and demand to stop such activities will be conveyed to the British capital. The question lies elsewhere. They have chosen this path; it's their primary path - the path of hybrid warfare, the path of total destruction. It is a subversive, essentially extremist and globally unsanctioned sponsorship of terrorism and support for the terrorist regime in Kiev. However, they will reap what they sow, in part because the monster they've nurtured and fed is beginning to turn on them, it's beginning to blackmail them.
Zelensky's statements, as quoted by The Economist, bear this out. He said that if at some point they decide not to pay for all the assassinations they've ordered - in my own words, this is how it really is - then Ukrainian citizens, refugees on European territory, will be cornered and Europe will have problems. In simpler terms, the representatives of their Kiev regime are present on the territory of the countries of the European Union and NATO. Technically, they may have the status of refugees or displaced persons. In reality, as Zelensky puts it, they are nothing more than combat cells, combat units, lying dormant and existing there in a kind of narcotic stupor, ready to be activated at any moment when it becomes advantageous, necessary or required.
– It is blackmailing?
– It is worse. Blackmailing is, you know, a bygone era. Blackmailing is when Zelensky used to say, "Give us money," at Oscar ceremonies, at Cannes festivals, or at San Remo - that was blackmail. It is when a person in disguise would burst in and demand money and political support. Now this is a clear declaration of the beginning of terrorist activities. Terrorism is not just explosions and distractions through arson and so on. Terrorism involves information warfare. It is psychological manipulation of the target. And even when it comes to the use of violence in committing a terrorist act, the psychological component is crucial.
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We can see how similar this is to the activities of organizations like Al-Qaeda or ISIS (organizations recognized as terrorist and outlawed in Russia), banned organizations, (Osama) bin Laden or those who followed in his footsteps - it's all very similar. I don't know about the Ukrainian refugees, as Zelensky mentioned, who are stuck in this situation. Who are they, these refugees? Who are they, these displaced persons? Refugees are people who are forced to leave their homes because it's not safe. But they, excuse me, have chosen the path of eliminating everything Russian and promoting hatred. They associate their homeland only with food, where they can get a free meal.
Now they are called refugees. They are not refugees; Zelensky has clearly defined them as units that can be activated. How will they be activated? Some of them will commit acts of terror. They will. Unfortunately, that is the prediction that awaits the European Union. These terrorist acts will happen. Some will march solemnly around government offices, public institutions in EU countries, shouting, singing nationalist songs.
Some of them will be involved in domestic politics, some of them have already received residence permits and some of them have connections there. They will actively participate in the domestic political life of the EU countries, using the logic of both blackmail and direct terrorist action. The West has been teaching them this for ten years. And now the whole story has shifted to the European Union. That's what Zelensky is saying. We understand it, but ordinary people in the European Union do not. They don't understand what he's saying or what he's implying.
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But those to whom this message is addressed also understand it, because they provided funds for the "Maidans," they trained Ukrainian militants of the Kiev regime in the Baltic states and in Poland. They provided equipment, entrenchment tools, tents; they taught how to make incendiary mixtures, Molotov cocktails, and they provided political cover. They understand what he means.
– So this is a re-export of "Maidan"?
– Exactly, thank you for that excellent comparison. That's exactly what it is. He's just telling them that the ones they've been praising and teaching and nurturing are now with them. And with the desire, they can be activated. Where it all leads to, well, who knows.
There have already been terrorist attacks in Europe. Remember how they targeted New Year's celebrations or mass events. All this has happened. Who did all this? Who was behind it? These are their so-called "moderate terrorists" whom they also nurtured and sent to regions, and then they came back.
But the situation here is even worse. Now the Ukrainian so-called refugees will have weapons supplied by Western countries, mainly the European Union, in violation of their own export commitments on arms transfers. They already have them in their hands because all of this has flooded the "black" markets over the last year and a half. These are people who will have real weapons. Not homemade ones, not Molotov cocktails, not makeshift suicide belts, but real weapons. And not to mention unlimited one, because so much has been stolen or never made it into Ukraine that I believe no one even has a clue about the caches where they are stored. This is what Zelensky is hinting at between the lines.
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I say this without malice, without a sense of triumph that they will get what's coming to them. Yes, they will get it, that's a fact. They will get it, just like, and please, for all of you who are doubting these words right now, wait, no, they won't. I'm going to give you an example from the North Caucasus. First of all, the same international terrorists who recruited people in the North Caucasus, where some were dissatisfied with the authorities, some were dissatisfied with the economic situation, moved them and turned them into militants. Then they provided them with weapons, money and communications. At the time, these were sporadic, pinpoint deliveries. But the militants in the North Caucasus, the international terrorists, had an abundance of resources. They had satellite phones; they had cell phones, computers, everything. They provided them with information for targeting. They gave them all the support, political and otherwise, just as Zelensky is doing now. The same terrorists like Zakayev and Basayev were the main guests on Western TV channels. How did it all end? It ended with Northern Europe, Great Britain, Central Europe also taking them in as so-called refugees when Russia restored order in the North Caucasus and overcame this terrible affliction that they had imposed on us in this way.
And a few years later, I was a witness, a participant in those negotiations, not as an active participant, but as someone who was present at the negotiating table, when Western foreign ministers, foreign ministers from Northern and Central Europe, looked into Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov's eyes and, excuse me, bleated. When and how can we get in touch with one of your specialists who will help us sort out these newly formed diasporas that are behaving badly? Do you know what they have done in our democratic countries? Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov replied, "I know, because they did the same in our country with your money."
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– President Putin, referring to Secretary Blinken's statement, said that if the US speaks for Ukraine, then they should cancel the decree signed by Zelensky prohibiting negotiations with Russia. Do you think they will?
– No one can discuss this without a tragic, sarcastic smile. You see, it is an absolute dichotomy of American diplomacy, and it is shameful and indecent behavior. I don't even know how they can look their own people in the eye. After all, they literally screamed and yelled for a year and a half that it was only the battlefield, no negotiations, Ukraine was not ready, or the world was not ready, or the circumstances were not ready for the negotiation process. Didn't Blinken say that? In response to your specific question, and I see that it is formulated very precisely, can they cancel the decree - I think they will come up with casuistic phrases to create the appearance of a desire for peace in the absence of practical steps in that direction. In other words, they will come up with absurd formulations consisting of contradictions - Zelensky's peace formula, for example, which says nothing about peace, only about military scenarios and so on, but they call it the "peace formula". They will come up with formulations like Ukraine is ready for peace, but Russia must tell them and make an offer.
Let me give you an example. It was impossible to imagine a more serious task and an unrealistic goal than chemical disarmament in Syria: the absence of international legal mechanisms, the absence of practical tools, the absolute disagreement of global players on the regional agenda, international conflicts, in addition to everything else, active combat operations, endless provocations - all this made it impossible. But there was a common will. The right words were found, the means of implementation were found, you remember the ships that were used to neutralize the chemical weapons, the right article in the right document was found and it was used correctly - all because there was a political will among the global players to make a reality out of an absolutely unworkable project. And everything was done, and then an international organization awarded a peace prize to those involved in the process.
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The situation here is not at the level of chemical disarmament in Syria, where there was no understanding of how to do it and, moreover, no experience in carrying out such operations. Here, everything is clear: what led to the current situation, what could be a lifesaver - it's the Minsk agreements, the cause-and-effect relationship, the logic of events, who's behind what. But the words are getting more and more complicated, the formulations more and more cumbersome.
There was a meeting in Jeddah under Zelensky's supposed peace initiative. You know, the participants didn't understand what was being done to them. It's a case where they seemed to have done something and participated in something, but no one knows what. Moreover, many of the participants did not know that they were included in some working groups, and even these working groups held meetings with their supposed participation. Can you imagine that? It was hard for me to imagine. But it was like that. Nobody knew how these working groups worked - in a virtual format, in a kind of online conference, but the participants didn't know who else was in these conferences with them.
In other words, they were sitting in front of the camera without understanding who else was in this online space with them. What it was, why it was being done, what the end result was - nobody even told them. We know that this is an attempt to include as many countries or individuals as possible in Zelensky's so-called "peace initiative" in any format. Even if it's just one item, even if it's just sitting in front of a camera or signing a participant's name on a piece of work - it doesn't matter, as long as it shows that this initiative has the support of such a number of countries. It's a mystification of a certain level, I think it's even beyond Golohvastov [fictional hapless and opportunist character from a 1961 Ukrainian comedy film Chasing Two Hares], it's not even Woland [fictional character in the novel The Master and Margarita by the Soviet author Mikhail Bulgakov depicting the Devil], it's a one-act play, you know.
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– What category does this story belong to, and should we react to it, like the European Commission's ban on the import of personal belongings of Russians? Should we react to it or is it beneath us?
– This is some kind of a new reinterpretation and creative reimagining of the sanctions imposed on our country, and in this case, it goes far beyond the limits of absurdity. These are the notes of someone with a fever. On the other hand, as we understand it, this is a subjective view of the world held by some individuals, but it is documented nonetheless. Two points I have mentioned before and would like to emphasize again: this is another manifestation of racism. I have said it before and I will say it again: this is another form of racism.
Someone might argue that racism is only when people of a different race are beaten or lynched. No. Racism manifested or realized through the domination of one race over another: slavery, human trafficking, imperialism, resource extraction, Nazism, fascism, covert racism, and so on. At its core, it is the ideology of the superiority of one group over another for non-objective reasons, just because they want to, and then specific goals and tasks follow - to steal, to take, to exploit, or simply to mock. It is not just segregation based on skin color or country of origin. It is a deep, unhealthy philosophy that has a painful manifestation at its core, which, by the way, quickly multiplies and reproduces when you consider that there are people who consider themselves "superior" while everyone else should fall in line to serve them. That's it.
– Will we respond?
– We have to address it. And any response, if there is one, will only come after interagency coordination. But we need to understand if all of this is going to be implemented. What "depths" are we talking about? We always assume that common sense has not completely left them. There have been situations where they have retracted their actions or claimed that they were misunderstood.
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– You recently stood up for our journalists after the situation where RIA Novosti correspondents and other Russian journalists were not allowed to attend a press conference by French President Emmanuel Macron during the G20 summit. Today, there was a reaction from the French Foreign Ministry. They called your words an exaggeration.
– I used to say that France was a great power. Perhaps I was exaggerating. But regarding this absolutely strange statement from the French Foreign Ministry, I really wish them creative inspiration. I sincerely wish them that from the bottom of my heart, because they have to come up with something more interesting. However, in response to this, the Russian Union of Journalists issued a statement expressing extreme surprise at the position of the French Foreign Ministry. They said that the French Foreign Ministry must recognize the facts; this is not a matter of our assessment. We drew attention to the facts of many years of disrespectful treatment of the Russian media. You represent a holding company that includes, among others, Russia Today, Sputnik, and in one way or another, you have fraternal, kinship connections within a large information association, you know this firsthand. I am talking about what happened.
There was a years-long practice of not allowing Russian journalists to attend the press conferences of both Macron and others. What do you mean, not allowed in? They would send out invitations, journalists would go through accreditation, get there, but then they wouldn't be physically allowed in. How much did they abuse Sputnik, which they finally shut down? How many personal "conversations" took place with representatives of Sputnik and Russia Today, pointing out their personal circumstances and their interest in not being too professional in their reporting? All this happened. And when Russian journalists, or those working there in Paris, refused to compromise in any way, they began to be mistreated. But there were cases beyond good and evil, where RIA Novosti correspondent Victoria Ivanova, while covering the "yellow vest" protest, doing nothing other than her journalistic routine, was hit on the head with a baton. She filed complaints and documents, and several months later, she was told that her case had been rejected because they couldn't establish the circumstances of what happened.
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– Despite the presence of video footage, and there is no doubt about who did it, that it was a member of the French law enforcement.
– That is why I am confident that Russia Today journalists will have something to say to the French Foreign Ministry because in reality this is cynicism. But it is also 100% racism. What's the evidence that this is racism? Because sometimes people apologize not because they were wrong, or they offended intentionally or unintentionally.
Sometimes people are offended because someone else has been offended by them. Do you see the difference? Not when there was an intentional or unintentional desire, or it just happened, and someone offended another person, and they apologize, ask for forgiveness, and so on. But sometimes a person is right and circumstances unfold in a certain way. But another person is offended and feels hurt. This is the very occasion when through apology you extend the hand of friendship, of help, of mutual understanding. You show human qualities and say, “Forgive me, forgive us, it probably happened this way. It's not our fault, and we don't feel guilty because we didn't mean to. But we can see that it was unpleasant for you. And it caused problems, and you probably think we did it on purpose. But we didn't.” So after we apologize or express our regret for what happened, we should move on and not hold grudges and anger against each other.
– And don't do it again.
– What prevented the French Foreign Ministry from saying just that? Just to express regret for what happened. That's it. I think that would have shown not only wisdom but also something that they obviously lack. Instead, they went down this strange, wild road of making up these phrases. There's a journalist, there's documentary evidence that she was not allowed into the event. There's documentary evidence of how the Élysée Palace and French officials have behaved toward the Russian media for many years. This, among other things, has a cumulative effect, documentary evidence. It gives a sense of absolute, total discrimination on the basis of nationality. Why can't they even find the word "regret"? Because, again, it's racism. This internal racism that manifests itself in different ways.
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