Sergey Lavrov on NATO, Ukraine, and Compatriots Returning to Russia

Sergey Lavrov on NATO, Ukraine, and Compatriots Returning to Russia

Photo: http://www.kommersant.ru

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a press conference on January 28, attended by the heads of four Russian radio stations such as Komsomolskaya Pravda (Vladimir Sungorkin), Sputnik (Margarita Simonyan), Echo of Moscow (Alexei Venediktov) and Govorit Moskva (Roman Babayan).

Lavrov said that he did not consider the talks between Russia and the United States and NATO regarding possible security guarantees to be over. According to him, some of the answers received were “misleading,” but they do have some “rational arguments.”

The Russian Foreign Minister once again underlined that Russia had no intention to start a war with Ukraine and wanted to resolve the conflict with the U.S. and NATO using only diplomatic methods.

In response to questions from the editors-in-chief, Lavrov recalled that he had discussed security guarantees with the U.S. secretary of state Anthony Blinken. Incidentally, during this discussion, the Russian foreign minister spoke about the “absolutely unacceptable” situation with Russian diplomatic missions and also suggested holding a meeting of specialists from the two countries.

Lavrov also gave his assessment to the U.S. and NATO's written replies to Moscow's proposals and the “possible severance of diplomatic relations” if Russia is disconnected from the SWIFT financial and economic systems and personal sanctions against the Russian President Vladimir Putin are imposed.

As for the content of the written responses, “given the paper” that was sent from NATO, the U.S. response is almost a perfect example of diplomatic courtesy, he said.

“The response from NATO is ideologized and it is so much filled with the exclusivity of the North Atlantic Alliance, its special mission and special purpose that I felt a bit ashamed of those who wrote these texts,” said the Foreign Minister.

Commenting on the decision of the USA, the UK, Australia, and Germany to withdraw their diplomats from Ukraine, Lavrov said that this fact seemed “bizarre” to Russia. He added that since the Americans and “other Anglo-Saxons, Canadians and Brits” were evacuating their diplomats, they knew something “that the rest of us do not know.”

“Following the example of these countries,” Russia will think about precautionary measures concerning its diplomats working in Ukraine in connection with possible provocations by the West, said Lavrov.

The press conference also touched upon the return of compatriots to Russia. Lavrov noted that Moscow stands for simplifying conditions for those compatriots who currently reside in the CIS countries to move back to Russia.

“Ideally, I would prefer that Russians live peacefully and prosper in Kazakhstan and all other former Soviet republics,” Lavrov said. “Well, of course, the most favorable conditions should be given to those who want to come back.”

Lavrov also drew attention to the fact that “many people want to move” now, among other reasons, because they want “to improve a little” their living conditions. According to him, the interests and positions of many departments “intersect,” and as for the main Russian diplomatic agency, it votes for “the highest level of liberalization” of this issue.

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