Question: Minister Lavrov, there has been repeated speculation, particularly in Western media, that Russian troops could be deployed in Ukraine and even that they have already crossed the border into Ukrainian territory. Is such an action possible in your view?
S.V.Lavrov: Unfortunately, mass media continue to spread rumours, distorted information and even outright lies. Recently there were claims by Ukraine that its artillery destroyed an armoured column that had allegedly crossed from Russia into Ukraine, and two British newspapers even said they witnessed the incursion. No evidence, however, was presented, and even the US State Department could not confirm the incident.
We view all such stories as part of an information war.
The recent violation of the airspace of Sweden by a US reconnaissance aircraft RC-135 is quite an exemplary case. We are interested, why Sweden, which is known for its policy of “freedom from military unions”, decided to play along with the United States and undertook awkward attempts to hide this fact from Swedish and international communities. However, the version that the US pilots were escaping from Russian fighters in the Swedish skies looks as a challenge for common sense. We believe that sovereignty over national air space is not a topic, around which doubtful Hollywood scenarios can be created.
The build-up of military activities by NATO and “indigenous Balts” – the United States, the current events in the Baltics, which remained a zone of peace for all this time, indeed leads to such awkward situations as a sudden “friendly” intrusion into the skies of Sweden, which is not party to any military organisations. This line cannot be perceived in other way than an irresponsible and not far-sighted, which poisons the atmosphere in the North of Europe.
25 August 2014
The Libyan developments seem to be devolving from bad to worse. Amid the simultaneous escalation of fighting in eastern and western Libya, mainly in Benghazi and Tripoli, the very system of public authority created during the “post-revolutionary” period is being destroyed.
The new Libyan parliament, the House of Representatives, elected in a national vote in June, has not been recognised by the former legislative authority, the General National Congress (GNC), which ruled to restore its own former powers.
On 25 August, the GNC replaced Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani, who had sworn loyalty to the House of Representatives, with Islamist-backed Omar al-Hassi. This has led to a situation where two parliaments and two cabinets are active in Libya at the same time, neither of them having enough authority to effectively control the country.
25 August 2014
Good afternoon.
Today we have deemed it useful to meet and talk about the developments surrounding Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis, primarily in its southeastern regions. As you know, the humanitarian convoy that Russia sent to the Lugansk Region finally reached its destination after days of hardship, coordination, negotiation and re-negotiation. Today this relief will start to be distributed with the participation of representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They are consulting the local authorities on plans for its distribution. We hope that everything will go according to plan and that all those who need assistance (that is, practically all civilians of the Lugansk Region and part of the population of the Donetsk Region) will receive it.
It is absolutely clear that the situation concerning the aid convoy was not healthy. We strove to abide strictly by the norms and principles of international humanitarian law. Initially we received the agreement of the Ukrainian side, which was confirmed by an official message of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on 12 August of this year. We worked in close contact with Ukraine’s border and customs services. Many of their representatives were, and I think still are, at Russia’s Donetsk border checkpoint. All of them, along with media representatives, had an opportunity to see that the lorries contained nothing but humanitarian aid, and that all of them returned empty to Russia after delivering it.
23 August 2014
Among the multiple cock-and-bull stories we hear from western capitals regarding the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to the South-East of Ukraine, we noted the statement by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, that the entry of our humanitarian convoy is, allegedly, in violation of Moscow’s international commitments, “including those undertaken in Berlin and Geneva”.
We are all used to the aspirations of the current NATO Secretary General to show up in the media space for a good cause, or without any reason in the context of the Ukrainian crisis, including in respect of issues which have nothing to do with the competence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and pass comment. Normally there is no reason to comment on his statements.
Nevertheless, we would like to point out that Anders Fogh Rasmussen referred to the Geneva Statement by Russia, the EU, the United States and Ukraine of the 17 April and the Berlin Declaration by Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine of the 2 July, as international obligations. It should be noted that western politicians currently diligently try to avoid mentioning this. To that end, we deem it necessary make the following considerations.
18 August 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have had a busy day of talks at the level of the foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The meeting lasted about five hours. The talks were attended by the ministers alone. There were no assistants in the room. We have discussed the whole range of problems now facing Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and noted certain progress in a number of areas that we have been discussing for a while now.
This is primarily true of the recently achieved consensus favouring the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people in southeastern Ukraine. We stated that all the questions, largely artificial, that were posed with regard to the Russian initiative to send about 300 lorries with humanitarian aid, have been removed. All the issues have been agreed upon with the Ukrainian side and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I hope that in the near future humanitarian aid will come to those who need it. I will note parenthetically that as soon as the excitement around this Russian initiative subsided and all the trumped-up suspicions were dispelled, foreign media lost interest in it altogether. Since then, I have not seen once any report on humanitarian aid on any Western TV channel.
Permanent Representative
Alexander V. GRUSHKO
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