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.