Table of contents
Answers to media questions:
On September 19 at 12:00 pm Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Moscow ahead of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.
During the event, we will present our priorities for the current session of the General Assembly and the main areas of the Russian delegation’s work in the UN activities in the coming year. The current international agenda will not be neglected either.
The meeting is aimed at explaining the approaches of the Russian Federation to the countries whose ambassadors are represented in our capital. We will update you on the outcome of this event. The meeting will take place behind closed doors.
On September 19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the opening ceremony of an exhibition prepared by our Ministry on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of reunification of the peoples of Russia and Belarus.
Among the exhibits are the crown jewels of the Russian Empire Foreign Policy Archive – originals of Russian-Prussian and Russian-Austrian conventions on the first division of Poland in 1772, the Warsaw Peace Treaty on the annexation of some Polish lands to Russia, notes to Catherine the Great on Polish affairs from member of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs Alexander Bezborodko, along with the Empress’s own handwritten resolution.
The event will be attended by Dmitry Krutoy, Ambassador of Belarus to Russia, Dmitry Mezentsev, State Secretary of the Union State, and representatives of the diplomatic corps in Moscow.
Copies of the historical documents will be donated to Belarus.
The 77th UN General Assembly session started its work on September 13 of this year. The Russian delegation at this session is headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
During the general debate on September 20-26, he will make a speech at the UN General Assembly session and take part in several bilateral meetings and multilateral events. At present, Mr Lavrov’s schedule is still being compiled. He is expected to attend about 20 bilateral meetings. These are just the requests we have received so far. As a rule, more meetings take place on the sidelines of the main events. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also proposed a meeting with the Russian delegation.
Russian representatives will uphold their positions of principle at this General Assembly session. We will continue advocating for the strengthening of the UN’s central coordinating role in world affairs and strict observance of its Charter, including the principles of the sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. We believe that the global organisation remains the nucleus of the multilateral system and the only truly universal forum for resolving urgent problems of our time. We do not underrate the importance of regional forums and international organisations dealing with regional security issues and other challenges but the United Nations still remains a truly universal platform.
Unfortunately, we see how Western representatives are shamelessly using the UN platform to push through counterproductive politicised decisions in the interests of a narrow group of countries. They are smearing the countries that pursue independent foreign policies and trying to exclude or limit their participation in UN bodies. They are doing this by inventing visa restrictions, creating logistics problems and making it difficult to get to the UN Headquarters in New York. They are using different methods and we talk about this on a regular basis.
One of the most striking examples is Washington’s large-scale practice to deny or overtly delay the issue of visas for entry into the United States to members of the delegations at the 77th General Assembly. By doing this the Americans commit a crude violation of their commitment under the Agreement Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations.
In this connection, Russia intends to focus on countering such attempts to undermine the authority of the global organisation and subdue it to the whims of the collective West.
By tradition, we are planning to promote many initiatives on key international issues notwithstanding this unfavourable backdrop during the session. This will be done, in part, by the Russian delegation. Our country will present new drafts of General Assembly resolutions in such important areas as strengthening arms control, promoting disarmament and non-proliferation, preventing the militarisation of outer space, establishing universal rules of conduct in the information space and countering the glorification of Nazism. We invite all responsible members of the international community to support Russia’s undertakings.
A more detailed account of Russia’s approaches to the agenda of the 77th General Assembly is published on the Ministry’s website.
A traditional meeting of the foreign ministers of the BRICS countries is planned on the sidelines of the session’s high-level week. According to the established practice, it will be organised by South Africa as the next chair of the five BRICS countries.
The ministers will discuss a broad range of urgent international issues, including the 77th UN General Assembly session’s agenda. They are also planning to review cooperation in the framework of BRICS strategic partnership, including the institutional development of the association.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Naledi Pandor, will describe to her colleagues the plans for the South African BRICS Chairmanship in 2023.
Alongside the BRICS Foreign Ministers Council, the five countries intend to hold a number of big high-level events – meetings of the ministers of tourism (September 19), energy (September 22), the heads of emergency response departments (September 23), and ministers of science, technology and innovations (September 27). The BRICS Chief Justices Forum will take place on September 21.
In pursuing strategic partnership, the BRICS countries are paying much attention to the humanitarian area. The forum of twin cities and municipalities of the BRICS countries will take place in the hybrid format on September 20. The 4th International Municipal BRICS+ Forum will be held in St Petersburg on November 24-26. Delegations from over 40 countries, representing regional authorities as well as business and research communities, are expected to attend it. The forum is aimed at establishing contacts between representatives of municipalities and business communities of the five BRICS states and attracting investment into the multi-industrial projects of their regions and cities.
This is a far from complete programme of the Russian delegation’s participation in the events of the 77th General Assembly session. The schedule is still work in process. Logistics issues have to be resolved. Will the Russian delegation reach the UN Headquarters, considering the Washington-created illegal barriers? The United States has a commitment to the UN to facilitate its work. This implies interaction with the delegations and those who are going to the UN Headquarters to work.
The special military operation underway in Ukraine and Donbass has convincingly proved the numerous statements made by the Russian authorities: we are fighting the “collective West” in Ukraine. The long-term goal of that Western-inspired “collectivism” is to “defeat Russian on the battlefield” at all costs, and until the last Ukrainian. Ukraine is not a hostage. I think the situation has changed. It is no longer used as an instrument. Ukraine is being consistently destroyed by its handlers, who promised it a bright future. Frankly, I never thought that Ukraine’s “bright future” would be so tragic and horrible.
Recent proof of this was provided by high-ranking US officials, including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, in the September 13 issue of The New York Times. They admitted that the US military had been planning the “counteroffensive” in the Kharkov Region for the past few months, including by providing intelligence information and strike weapons to the Kiev regime.
I wonder if it was the Ukrainian Armed Forces or the combined forces of Ukraine and the West? This is more than just advisory services or psychological and moral support. This is a direct large-scale involvement with predictable consequences. CNN has recently reported – I have to cite CNN because it is an American source reporting American information, which should be accepted as reliable proof in the United States. The Americans don’t believe other sources. CNN has not yet been declared a “foreign agent” in the United States, which is why I am citing it – CNN has written that, according to Pentagon officials, they were preparing detailed analysis and working out how to support Ukraine’s military in the medium- and long-term, not only during the special military operation, which the Americans expect to last a long time, but also for five years after it has ended. This is proof of US’s interest in drawing out the fighting in Ukraine for as long as possible and in controlling the situation. This is proof of the United States’ direct involvement in the hostilities.
A report and recommendations on security guarantees for Ukraine, which were presented the other day by a group of experts led by Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Andrey Yermak and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, serve the same purpose. They provide for the continued delivery of Western weapons to Ukraine and the training of its military to fight Russia. We remember former US President George W. Bush saying several months ago that Ukraine’s “mission is to destroy as many Russian troops as you can.” It appears that there is a highly unethical meaning to lofty words. It is not “security guarantees” for Ukraine, but a desire to kill us. In the past, the West didn’t say so openly. It said that we are unacceptably different, that we should be reformed, adjusted and straightened out, and that teaching us would take a long time. They have now changed the tone and say openly that Russians must be killed.
The fifth meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group held at the Ramstein Air Base on September 8 was held in the same spirit. They announced a new package of US military assistance to Ukraine worth $675 million, which will include ammunition for HIMARS artillery rocket systems.
Emboldened by the recent Western promises, the Zelensky regime is ready to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian lives (and the lives of numerous mercenaries) to receive large-scale military and financial assistance from the United States and its NATO allies, because Kiev knows that otherwise it won’t last long. This is part of a huge corruption scheme involving the transfer and laundering of Western funds via the Kiev regime.
Indicative against this backdrop is Kiev’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric on the importance of fighting Russia until its destruction. Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Alexey Danilov has openly declared Ukraine’s plans to return to the 1991 borders and ensure the surrender and demilitarisation of Russia, which must pay “huge reparations.”
We are especially alarmed by the numerous reports about the filtration activities of the Ukrainian security services and neo-Nazi units in the territories which the allied forces have left as part of their regrouping plans. Do you like the term “filtration activities?” It has to do with thousands of people. There is no telling what the Ukrainian military are doing to them. In fact, they are doing what they wish, in particular, murdering people. This is not a matter of justice, because there is no justice where the armed forces of Ukraine are. We know what they have done to prisoners of war. They are doing the same to the people in the course of “filtration.” This is absolute, outrageous lawlessness, which has nothing in common with humanitarian law. I would like to remind you that thousands of people, peaceful civilians are being subjected to “filtration processes.” The Kiev authorities have announced plans to identify those who support Russia or hold Russian passports and to punish them for “treason and collaboration” with Russia. They emphasise that all citizens will be subjected to forced Ukrainisation. And this is happening in the 21st century.
Ukrainian Telegram channels are full of the personal data and photographs of hundreds of people who the Ukrainian punitive forces are accusing of “treason.” They are people who refuse to declare loyalty to the Banderites and do not accept the nationalist logic. They have received death threats, as we know from Telegram. The Kiev regime is destroying them physically. According to witnesses, the Ukrainian military are guilty of looting, torture, beating and execution of civilians. They are videotaping the results of their crimes, probably so they can shift the blame onto Russia later. They need to invent new tricks that they can report to those who have set the task of killing as many Russians as they can. Since the bloody provocation in Bucha has shown what the Zelensky regime can do, we urge the international organisations concerned to use their influence on Kiev to stop it from butchering peaceful citizens. This must be done immediately, if you want to be regarded as humanitarian organisations.
We have taken note of the allegations made by Adviser to the Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Mikhail Podolyak on the Israeli Kan 11 television channel about Russia’s plans to attack Jewish pilgrims visiting the burial site of the Hasidic Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav in Uman, Cherkassy Region, during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year celebrated on September 25-27. Although it is an absurd thought, these allegations must be taken seriously because they are coming from the regime in Kiev, which has more than once attempted to play on the sentiments of ultrareligious Jews and is brutal enough to use this opportunity to create another anti-Russia provocation.
The actions of the “collective West” and its puppet regime in Kiev are proof of the urgent importance of achieving the goals and objectives of the special military operation. This importance is growing with every passing day. There is a deep political meaning in our efforts to protect people in Donbass, the goals of demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine declared by the Russian authorities, and the elimination of threats emanating from Ukraine to Russia and other neighbouring states. Together with like-minded people, we are fighting for the truth and against the rising Nazism and revisionism, the ultimate goal of which is, by and large, dehumanisation. We are fighting for a multipolar world and the right of sovereign states to live and develop without the never-ending pressure and threats from the United States and its Western allies.
Washington has thrown the Kiev regime to the slaughter. Ukrainian statehood has been destroyed. A vast number of people – the military and civilians of Ukraine and Russia, as well as mercenaries who have been brainwashed or are doing this for a large pay – have fallen victim to US ambitions. Who will be the next? In what other part of the world will Washington and its NATO satellites conduct such experiments based on hybrid technologies? I can answer this question: they will do this where there are natural resources, oil, gas, gold and fresh water, which they need to replenish their own reserves. They will do this in the countries where people refuse to surrender what belongs to them historically, where they tilled land, gathered in harvests, brought up children and protected their land for many generations. It is in these countries that attempts to spread democracy will be made. US-led NATO will do what they wish there under false flags, at the same time speaking about freedom and democracy and trying to impose their “liberal values” aimed at corrupting people.
Numerous cases of anti-personnel mine use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been documented in the course of the special military operation. This happens in violation of Kiev’s obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, an obligation Ukraine assumed as a state. This is apropos international law, and how its implementation is interpreted.
Anti-personnel mines were installed in numerous Donbass communities, particularly in public areas frequented by civilians. Vladimir Zelensky calls these people his compatriots. In effect, some people are herded into filtration camps, while others are driven onto minefields, so as not lose precious time in the camps. Every day, these mines kill civilians, including children. The use of butterfly anti-personnel mines against civilians is the most glaring example. Ukrainian service personnel actively plant these mines in cities, towns and villages. Yes, it’s not the same as a trolleybus fragment displayed by Petr Poroshenko all over the world, nor is it the same as passports that he showed at the Munich Conference, or a brick. The Kiev regime plants these mines and uses them against civilians. It plants them in public places, and not on battlefields.
These criminal actions of the Kiev regime also directly violate Amended Protocol II, which bans and restricts the use of mines and booby traps against civilians, their installation at non-military sites and in such a way that may cause accidental fatalities among civilians. People in Kiev will tell you that they are not doing this. Of course, they are not looking for chance victims, they hit civilians in a deliberate and vile manner.
These facts show that Ukrainian authorities’ complete disregard for international humanitarian law, including the Protocol Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. At the same time, we note that the collective West does not show any interest in an unbiased investigation or a search for those responsible for creating the current disastrous humanitarian situation. It turns a blind eye to Ukraine’s numerous violations of international conventions.
Just imagine if something of the kind happened in Syria. Imagine if the White Helmets planted such mines or their fragments using the money they got from the West. This would cause quite a stir: news conferences, roundtables, Hollywood stars presenting entire programmes in support of the victims and condemnation of the culprits. They would devote entire news reports to this issue. Posters with photos of innocent victims would be plastered everywhere. Films, video clips and songs on this subject would be released. I am sure that signs on this matter would decorate grandstands, and world leaders would address their audiences while posing in front of the victims’ photos. And what do we see here? The answer is simple: these people who are dying now belong to a different category. Western humanitarian law and simple human compassion do not apply to these people. This is what Nazism is all about, when they divide people into those who can be sympathised with and those seen as expendable.
We urge all UN member states, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other specialised international organisations to influence Kiev authorities and to force them to take effective action to prevent dire humanitarian consequences for the civilian population.
For a number of years, the lawless activities of the Ukrainian Mirotvorets (Peacemaker) website have been exacerbated by the inclusion in its so-called database of the personal data of children from Donbass, whose number grows virtually with each passing day. The website now targets children, and this is not surprising because its ideological sponsors are in the West, whose servers it has used for years. These children are not occasional victims; they have been picked out deliberately and designated as targets. If something happens to them, as to other people figuring on this website, will they also be crossed out or ticked off as eliminated?
Publishing data of this kind on an open internet resource is a direct threat to the lives and health of underage children and a criminal violation of their rights. Where is everyone? Where are the countries that for years imposed child protection laws upon all and sundry, including Russia, and telling everyone how to live in families and build relationships with children? They said that only their child protection laws could…and so on and so forth. Where are child protection laws in this case? This is not even barbarian. I am not sure that barbarians ever did this sort of things.
Since 2021, Russia has regularly attempted to draw the attention of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to this problem. But it has never responded in public to our appeals. Are these the wrong children again? Would they respond and work with these kids if they hailed from the US, the UK, France, Germany, or Spain? But no, they are Slavic children and so, as usual, the West has no use for them. Regrettably, the key positions at many international organisations are held by Western representatives, who hamper all this. It is not just a heartless and faceless international organisation. No, it is neither heartless, nor faceless. It employs people who perpetrate these lawless acts. I call them lawless acts for just one reason: the regulations adopted by all these organisations (I don’t even mention the UN Charter) stipulate all the steps to be taken in black and white. This is at odds with the commitments made by the personnel and their higher-ups who do not do what they must. The world’s largest international organisation specialising in child protection, UNICEF, is preferring to stay silent, as if it did not see these children or the harm inflicted on them.
We have the right to hope that UNICEF will publicly denounce the criminal actions perpetrated by those who deem themselves entitled to publish online the personal data of underage residents of Donbass. After all, for eight long years, it did find the courage to draw the international community’s attention to the plight of Donbass children.
We continue to make vigorous efforts to ensure the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal signed in Istanbul on July 22 this year on the export of Ukrainian grain from the ports of Odessa, Yuzhny and Chernomorsk, as well as the Russian-UN Memorandum on promoting Russian food products and fertilisers to the world markets. As you know, these interconnected agreements are integral parts of a single package of measures – this is the way they were proposed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to eliminate threats to global food security.
We note that the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative began immediately and is gaining momentum; this is evidenced by the figures.
According to the UN, as of September 13 (quantitative indicators and data can change even in one day), 129 ships carrying 2,872,711 tonnes of food had left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports through the Istanbul Joint Coordination Centre’s facilitation effort involving representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and UN experts. The freight mainly included corn (53 percent), wheat (22 percent), and sunflower oil and seeds (8 percent). For some reason, it took three weeks to transport the first million tonnes of grain, but only one week to deliver another.
But other figures are no less revealing. There’s something the Russian side is airing while the West is refusing to recognise or comment on it, denying it in every possible way and spewing a new wave of fake stories about Russia. But we’ll continue. According to available information – and contrary to the UN Secretary-General’s initial assurances about the need to feed the poorer countries in Africa and Asia – the main recipients of the produce are well developed countries that are proud of their prosperity such as France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, South Korea and Spain. I just want to figure this out. Are these countries in distress now and do they consider themselves the poorest, and is that the reason that the food is going there? Then they should say this explicitly. Or is this ‘different’ again? Business is business, nothing personal, as they say. Western countries account for 44 percent of the food supplied. A significant part of it also went to Turkey for processing under its current commercial obligations (19 percent). Now the fun part. The food-insecure countries (which were the alleged reason for the initial hysteria in the West) account for a mere 8 percent – Sudan and Kenya received 2 percent each, and Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen and Lebanon, 1 percent each. I wonder if Europe’s ears aren’t ringing. Everything okay? Had a good lunch?
As for the implementation of the Russian-UN Memorandum on the export of Russian fertilisers and agricultural produce, there are no specific results yet. Russian economic operators and producers continue to struggle with transporting and insuring goods, and making bank payments. Who is hampering this? The West of course, which has been so worried and desperate to feed Asian and African countries. But we see where Ukrainian grain is going now – to countries that scream prosperity. The goods that the insecure countries really need – and which the Russian side is ready to dispatch – get blocked. This confirms the fact that the United States and the European Union excluding fertilisers and food from the universal sanctions isn’t actually working. Those were just words. One of the eloquent examples was the EU’s clarification about potash fertilisers issued on August 10. The way it is worded, only the importation of these fertilisers to EU countries is allowed, but not their further transit. Just think of it. It only adds to their prosperity, which they’ve been showing off at all those events, those summits of democracies, proudly announcing that they’re the top and the rest of the world just needs to catch up and reach the same level. They said the matter was not political, they were just arranging their states in such a way that people enjoyed life, rather than suffering. What are they doing this time? They can buy our produce now. They are even ready to relax the sanctions a bit. But this produce cannot go on to Africa and Asia – no. What’s this anyway? Don’t they know about this situation in Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Brussels? Don’t they? Of course, they do. A question for their journalists who provide that information background. Why don’t you address this issue? It is a shame to hush up this problem, to hold banquets, conferences and receptions dedicated to the fight against hunger in Africa and humanitarian aid to those in need. It is impossible not to notice the abominable behaviour of the Western countries towards those they are allegedly trying to protect.
This situation must be rectified without delay. It’s not a matter of commerce. That’s not what we’re talking about right now. It’s a matter of humanity. You can’t do this. This is not a matter of respect for international law. This is something everyone realised a long time ago – there is no international law for the West. They have openly stated this, stressing they are now preferring to live by some “rules.” We have long realised that there is no such thing as a liberal economy – self-regulatory and relying on the laws of economics (elasticity of supply and demand). But if food and fertilisers do not reach those who really need them, it can lead to bigger problems. Why can’t they reach them? Because they are impeded by the West with sanctions, threats, legally, physically, etc. What needs to be done to remedy the situation? We continue to cooperate with Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and her team on all issues concerning the implementation of the Memorandum. On September 7-9 this year, the first face-to-face Russian-UN consultations were held in Geneva, where representatives of relevant agencies and companies participated. The result of these efforts should be practical progress in normalising Russian exports. In this regard, we note the UN Secretary-General’s statements about unhindered access for our fertilisers and food to world markets being critical for ensuring global food security.
For our part, we reaffirm our readiness to export about 30 million tonnes of grain and over 20 million tonnes of fertiliser by the end of this year. I would like these amounts to be distributed among Asian and African countries. They should know that Russia is ready to supply them with food. This, of course, will help to achieve sustainable stabilisation of prices on world markets, which is of the essence for food-purchasing countries, and to guarantee a future harvest (we are referring to the fertilisers available today, as well as next year’s supplies, and the year after next, and so on) in agricultural producing countries, which depend on these fertilisers. We believe that issues such as the threat of hunger and the prevention of a global food crisis should not be politicised or made dependent on any preconditions.
We know that the West is not doing what was agreed. But there must be limits even to Western cynicism. We have to keep pointing that out to them. This is how cynicism, law and all that is happening are connected – after all, in order to commit these corrupt acts (planting mines that blow up civilians in Donbass or manipulating food), they primarily need information support. This is what makes the West feel they have licence to do anything here. They are desperate to prevent the dissemination of truthful, factual information (they clearly say this, we see it in their actions). They are doing everything to ensure that the world becomes monochromatic, that information is presented one-way, that the information landscape is a one-way road, with only one centre that provides information, without feedback or the possibility for other voices to be heard.
US IT monopoly-owned Western social media continue to obsequiously fulfil the will of their overseas masters, as they mop up the global digital space and remove all points of view that are alternative to the ones broadcast by Washington officialdom. Russian accounts and resources are mostly subjected to censorship. Everyone is well aware of the genocide of the Russian media resources and journalists perpetrated by Washington. Now, they are attacking official state resources, diplomatic accounts, Russian agencies’ accounts as well as of our foreign missions.
The Google-owned YouTube video hosting service is at the top of the anti-ranking of digital Russophobes.
Without providing any explanation, YouTube administrators removed two briefings by our ministry’s official spokesperson which, as always, highlighted our country and the Foreign Ministry’s position on a wide range of foreign policy priorities. Briefings are a platform for free communication with journalists. What is the official position of YouTube and Google on censorship? By the way, Western journalists ask questions during the briefings, and you cut them out, too.
One can assume that someone out there simply doesn’t want to see our standpoints freely available. It’s not even an assumption; it’s a fact. They are afraid that their own audiences will get familiar with our arguments in circumvention of the Western media and news agencies’ censorship, which regularly hush up or even deliberately distort many issues.
In the modern Western paradigm, the principle of freedom of information is a one-way street. They can spread information, and everyone else can only absorb it. You can’t even deny it.
Like it did a month earlier, without warning or explanation, YouTube removed several videos from the official channel run by the Russian Embassy to the UK. In line with the Western understanding of freedom of speech four videos have been removed and access has been restricted to one more, including Chargé d’Affaires of Russia in the UK Alexander Gusarov’s interview with Russian TV channels. Do you think that is okay? A Russian diplomat gives an interview to Russian TV channels, and the American YouTube removes it.
As always, Twitter is openly siding with the Kiev regime and its Western sponsors and turning a blind eye to the mayhem in its English-speaking segment caused by organised groups of Ukrainian trolls and bots. It’s a classic: I do not see, I do not hear, so it doesn’t exist. At the same time, our foreign missions, which honestly bring information to users, come under strict censorship. The Russian embassies’ posts are being increasingly blocked, and the accounts of the Russian embassies in Nepal and Romania have been suspended altogether. Our inquiries about the formal reasons behind these decisions have remained unanswered. Hence, a question: do you think we cannot provide an asymmetric response? We can and we will. We have already spoken about it and steps towards this end have been made.
We are witnessing gross attempts to limit the Russian foreign missions’ information activities and to deprive the global audience of reliable sources of information. This policy by US corporations violates the principles of freedom of speech and dissemination of information which they have always lobbied. It turns out that this is just rhetoric. In fact, it is all about tough control that is reminiscent of the worst totalitarian practices and an attempt to limit any points of view that are an alternative to the Western mainstream media.
There are other online platforms that we would like to mention to you. Go ahead and subscribe to the official resources operated by the Foreign Ministry and our embassies on other platforms. All posted information and videos are available on the Foreign Ministry’s official website and our Telegram, RuTube, VKontakte, and Odnoklassniki accounts and some other platforms. Come, subscribe, and follow us.
I was delighted to watch Russia-haters in Lithuania and Ukraine blow out of proportion and glorify an episode in a war between the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, an episode known as the Battle of Orsha, on an annual basis. Why was I so delighted? Because you could hardly expect them to show so much cynical and self-disparaging stupidity.
On the occasion of this anniversary (508 years), Vilnius hosted an international conference titled “Together in the Fight against Moscow Imperialism: Then and Now.” When is this “then?” In the 16th century? Imperialism? Are you sure? Was it perhaps the heyday of Marxism and Communism? A pseudo-historical swing of this sort could not be expected even from Lithuania. But they have done it. An impossible task is not out of their depth. I want to remind them of something. What empire was there in the 16th century? Peter I proclaimed Russia an empire only two hundred years later. Did you hear anything about Peter I? He opened a window to Europe. This is a case of atrocious anti-culture and anti-history, a move to disrupt everything related to common sense.
But who was the headliner at this “historical” conference dedicated to the Battle of Orsha? What international experts and world-famous historians needed to be invited to explain clearly what had happened 508 years ago? Your imagination will fail you. But Lithuania was undaunted.
Of course, they invited Adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine Alexey Arestovich. A prominent historian though he is, he would not have managed on his own, and a sidekick, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, was chosen to aid him. A fine duo! Can you imagine all the “historical parallels” they drew ever since 1514, if both said that there was an empire in the 16th century? One used the rostrum to beg for more supplies of Western weapons for the Kiev regime, and the other openly glorified “volunteers from Belarus, who were fighting for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” OK. Be it even so. Let’s assume they did all that in a fit of stupidity. But why not at least recall how it all ended in the 16th century? The conference was meant to convince the participants that a “new Battle of Orsha” is underway in Ukraine. If so, we will contribute a story of our own.
Let me give you some historical context so that the absurdity of this gathering would be utterly clear to you and you could share my delight. From 1487 to 1522, the two grand duchies fought four wars. There were several reasons for that, including Moscow’s wish to recapture the lands that the Lithuanian dukes had taken from the Russian Rurikids and Lithuania’s active meddling in Moscow affairs. Gradually, Moscow established its control over the Chernigov lands, the Seversk principalities, and other domains. In late July 1514, Smolensk was captured after a siege. In honour of this event, the foundation of the famous Novodevichy Convent was laid in Moscow. On September 8, 1514, a battle was fought by roughly equal forces, with the Moscow army suffering a defeat. But the Russians managed to keep their hold on Smolensk.
The Chancellery of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund was blowing the battle’s scale and consequences out of all proportion in Europe, but its foreign policy and propaganda effect failed to change the course of the war. I must thank Arestovich and Tikhanovskaya for their role as useful idiots. The ten-year war resulted in Smolensk and its surrounding area becoming part of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Sigismund could do nothing but recognise that these lands were owned by Vasily III of Moscow, a fact sealed by a treaty signed in Moscow on September 14, 1522, 500 years ago. This was an undoubted success for Russian diplomacy. Will Lithuania mark the milestone date – 500 years of the treaty? We would be glad to attend the celebrations, or could participate online. We have many historians who are ready to discuss this subject, although, in my view, it would be interesting to hear what Arestovich and Tikhanovskaya have to say on this score.
It is impossible not to understand the main point. You can engage in historical appliqué work all you want, but it will not help you. History is a process, it cannot be reduced to just one page torn out from a complete book. History is about documents and facts, not your politicised approaches, even though they are lavishly funded and technologically supported affairs. What’s important lies elsewhere. You are stupid, ladies and gentlemen. Everyone realised this long ago. You are not just unable to learn or perceive reality, you are silly, and this is all there is to it. I am saying this to all those who organise anti-historic masquerades of this sort.
The conclusion or history lesson is this. Russophobes can relish certain historical episodes all they want, manipulating, falsifying, and drawing false parallels. But in the end, it all comes down to peace treaties, which sealed Moscow achieving its goals.
Media reports about the hospitalisation of Ratko Mladic due to rapidly declining health have come to our attention.
We consistently pointed out that the trial of Ratko Mladic in The Hague went hand-in-hand with disregard for his basic rights as an accused person, including the right to health and proper medical help. For many years, the general’s legal representatives have not been provided with complete and updated medical information about his health. Independent doctors – in reality, not on paper – were not allowed to see Mladic. Requests for the temporary release of the defendant for treatment in Russia or Serbia were turned down.
Given these circumstances, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which is in charge of completing the cases of the notorious International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, bears full responsibility for the possible consequences of these actions.
We believe that the right thing to do for the Residual Mechanism would be to release Ratko Mladic on humanitarian grounds.
Our principled position on this issue is well known.
Pakistan has been impacted by unprecedented and devastating seasonal rains that have killed about 1,400 people since June 2022 leaving tens of thousands homeless.
We express our deepest condolences in connection with the tragic loss of life and share the pain and sorrow of the Pakistani people.
We will soon provide humanitarian aid to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to help deal with the aftermath of this natural disaster.
A monument to the Soviet soldiers who liberated Ivangorod and Narva, among whom representatives of many Soviet peoples, including Estonians and Ukrainians, fought Nazi invaders opened on the Russian bank of the border Narva River in Ivangorod, Leningrad Region, on September 11. More than 1,000 people attended the ceremony. The guests included Deputy Defence Minister General of the Army Dmitry Bulgakov, Governor of the Leningrad Region Alexander Drozdenko, Russian Ambassador to Estonia Vladimir Lipayev, veterans and community and youth leaders.
The T-34 battle tank was made available by the Defence Ministry. The tank took part in the Great Patriotic War, as well as parades on Red Square, and is the centrepiece of the monument. Its pedestal has plates that carry the inscriptions that were on a similar monument destroyed by the Estonian authorities on August 16. It was the main symbol of courage along with the Bronze Soldier that the authorities of the Republic of Estonia relocated from central Tallinn in 2007. A separate inscription says that the monument was temporarily erected in this place in response to “an act of state vandalism by the Estonian government.”
The fact that a large group of residents of Narva and other Estonian cities took part in the unveiling ceremony clearly shows that the sacred historical memory cannot be erased by barbaric actions of the nationalist rulers of Estonia. The people in attendance laid a wreath with a red ribbon “We remember, with pride. From the grateful people of Estonia.” Have Estonian politicians started thinking about building filtration camps yet? I’m sure they have these thoughts in the back of their minds. What is there to say? Hasn’t the language policy in the Baltic countries been a policy of filtration for three decades now? Just as non-citizenship institutions and oblivion of the rights of “ethnic minorities?”
Our compatriots noted that this action was received with patriotism by all Russians on the other bank of the river and came as a dignified response to Estonia’s ongoing acts of aggression against the Soviet memorial heritage.
The US administration has announced plans to establish an Afghan trust fund. It looks like a good idea, considering what the United States owes Afghanistan for 20 years of arbitrary activity there. Apparently, $3.5 billion is to be provided to the fund, which looks good as well. Have the Americans chipped in, allocated budgetary funds or printed more dollars for this purpose? They can certainly do it, needless to say. But no, it won’t be American money; it will be Afghan central bank assets on deposit at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. This is impressive. First seize the money, and then establish a trust fund. It will be established as an Afghanistan fund, but who will control it? Who will approve disbursements to meet the “right” needs of the people in Afghanistan?
According to information that has been made public, the funds will be used to pay for the import of electricity, Afghanistan’s arrears with international financial institutions and essential central banking services. Washington has not announced the terms of returning the money to Kabul. It is not American or NATO money. It is not the money collected in these countries for Afghanistan. The $3.5 billion belongs to the Afghan people; it was frozen in the West, as they like to do, and which it can control. How would you describe this in legal terms? Misappropriation? This is exactly what it is, the misappropriation of others’ money. The new fund is to be managed by “independent experts,” which probably means the corrupt officials of the former Afghan puppet government. But of course, it will be independent experts. Are there any other experts in the United States?
It is notable that only about half of the seized Afghan assets will be transferred to the fund. The Americans remain silent about the other half. This reminds me of The Three Fat Men (a fairy tale by Yuri Olesha) or the Tale of Cipollino. But those were fairy-tales, and their authors could hardly imagine this happening in real life. We are living this life. This was unimaginable in the 20th century, but it is happening now despite international investigations and investigative and independent journalism. How could this happen?
We regard the US’s intention as questionable. It is unlikely to improve the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in any way. Resolute measures to restore an Afghan economy that was destroyed by the US-NATO occupation are long overdue.
A news conference by candidate from the Russian Federation for the post of Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union Rashid Ismailov will be held at the Foreign Ministry’s press centre on September 20 at noon.
The voting will take place during an ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Bucharest on September 26 – October 14.
As an UN specialised agency, the International Telecommunication Union plays a crucial role in global cooperation in modern digital technologies. At the behest of a number of countries, the union has come under threat of seeing this UN organisation’s activities politicised, which would adversely impact cooperation in this area. It is important for the organisation to continue to advance its development programmes and international cooperation, to expand telecommunications networks, to improve technical means and their efficient operation, as well as to ensure equal access to the distribution of global radio frequencies and satellite orbits and to develop technical standards to ensure smooth interaction between networks and technologies.
Electing a Secretary-General who will operate on the premise of unconditional preservation of a balance of interests of the member countries and rely on the Charter and the ITU Convention in its decisions is the only path forward if we don’t want to see the ITU become a tool to pander to the “club interests” of a small group of countries. Relying on obscure rules or newly introduced regulations, not to mention dictates, will not be acceptable.
Russia nominated Rashid Ismailov as a candidate for the position of ITU Secretary-General. He has extensive experience in telecommunications (including senior executive positions at Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson), a sense for the interests of developing countries, and is able to stand up for their equal status with the developed world. In 2014-2018, he served as Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media. He has been president of PJSC VimpelCom since 2020.
At the news conference Mr Ismailov will lay out his view on the future of the International Telecommunication Union, information and communications technology, and cooperation in the interests of the international community.
On September 21-22, Ufa will host the Radio Without Borders International Festival made possible by the Russian Academy of Radio with support from the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media.
The Radio Without Borders festival is held for the purpose of exchanging experience and discussing important professional matters by representatives of the leading radio companies in Russia and foreign countries.
The Festival will be attended by executives and editors-in-chief, programme and music directors, information services editors, columnists, correspondents, producers, art editors, camera operators and directors, authors and presenters of radio programmes from radio stations in Russia, the CIS countries (the Republic of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan) and other foreign countries. I can count myself as a radio presenter since I was invited to work at Sputnik radio in this capacity. There will also be experts from the radio industry and academicians from the Russian Academy of Radio.
Guests and participants will have the chance to familiarise themselves with the most successful projects. Roundtable discussions and workshops will be held as part of the festival as well.
Answers to media questions:
Maria Zakharova: As a provocation.
Question: Can you comment on recent reports about the recommendations on Ukraine’s security guarantees drafted by an expert group co-chaired by Andrey Yermark, the Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen? Do they have any significance for further developments in Ukraine?
Maria Zakharova: We have already commented on this briefly. I am ready to speak in more detail. It is in fact too early to give a thorough assessment of this document. It is just a draft titled The Kiev Security Compact – International Security Guarantees for Ukraine: Recommendations. It exists in theory and represents an array of private opinions. It is detached from political reality, from what is happening in the world. Drafted by a group of “political scientists” led by the Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Andrey Yermak and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, this paper has no official status. It’s food for thought, only, I suspect it’s poisonous.
What the Kiev regime to trying to obtain is not “security” guarantees, but at least some guarantee that the Western countries will continue to finance the current Ukrainian elite and supply the Ukrainian army with weapons regardless of the progress of the special military operation and even when Europeans and other Westerners have other things on their plate besides the pointless spending of huge money which just disappears without a trace in Ukraine.
This fits in with the plan that representatives of the elite in the West have conceived – to formalise or ideologically justify and preserve this opportunity to continue participating in this brutal and corrupt deal. In fact, this document does not offer Kiev any “security guarantees.” It contains a promise of financial and military support in exchange for its protracted struggle against Russia. To put it even more bluntly, one of the most important components here is the extreme corruption in the West. Ukraine and the Kiev regime have become “a black hole” where colossal amounts of money are dumped only to be redistributed later. There is no audit, no attempt to account for the funds that Washington and Brussels have laundered through Kiev. Billions go there, while no one actually knows where it ends up. All we see is showy grandstanding in front of journalists, beautiful reports on the work done. The amounts of money squandered this way could be enough to build another planet. This is a manifestation of corruption, and the Western elite has been involved in deals like this in many parts of the world.
They have been laundering money in Afghanistan for 20 years. Huge funds went to that country for unknown purposes. Before America’s pullout, many official US agencies admitted there were American soldiers in Afghanistan allegedly for security reasons, which they would explain later. The truth that came out “later” is as follows: it was a corrupt scheme to launder huge funds over 20 years, which led to the collapse of Afghan statehood, society and security.
Ukraine is their new project. Before that, didn’t Washington try similar experiments in Latin America? They have perfected this scheme in many parts of the world.
What would give Ukraine true security guarantees is not Western financial support or technical assistance; it’s the country’s return to its neutral non-aligned status, as spelled out in the Declaration of State Sovereignty of 1991, the rejection of Nazi ideology by the current Kiev regime, the country’s demilitarisation and respect for the legitimate rights of all citizens, including ethnic Russians, Russian-speaking people and representatives of ethnic minorities.
Maria Zakharova: In the first place, it should be assessed by citizens of Moldova, who have families, business ventures, or jobs in Russia. They should ask their leaders what they are doing and whose interests they are catering to, leaders, who are forcing on them “liberal” values, and advertising freedom and democracy.
Last week, to meet numerous requests, national air carrier, AirMoldova, decided to resume Chisinau-Moscow flights starting October 1, 2022. I would like to stress that the decision was based on people’s requests and on necessity, not on a signal from outer space. I remember 2020, when the worldwide lockdown, due to the Covid19 pandemic, immobilised global logistics. The Russian Foreign Ministry was involved in the effort to evacuate Russian nationals and citizens of post-Soviet countries who got stranded abroad. We assisted many people from the post-Soviet states, including Moldova.
That said, in response to numerous requests from citizens of Moldova (not Russia), it was decided to resume air flights from Chisinau to Moscow. AirMoldova obtained the necessary authorisation from the Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya). Russia in no way obstructed this process. On the contrary, it was eager to help. But right after this, the Moldovan leaders roundly condemned this initiative and the civil aviation authority banned these flights, claiming there were “no proper guarantees for passenger safety.” What is this if not an attempt to impose its political will despite economic expedience and the true desires and interests of their own citizens? Where is democracy? Where is freedom? This is diktat. This sort of behavior characterises people professing dictatorial and totalitarian methods.
Of course, regulating national airline operations is the internal affair of each country. It is obvious that the above decision affected primarily Moldovan citizens. As is common knowledge, over 220,000 residents of the Republic of Moldova have Russian citizenship, while the Moldovan diaspora in Russia numbers nearly 500,000. Does anyone in Chisinau think, remember, or know about this? Probably they remember and know, but they don’t want to think, including about the consequences. Their capacity to maintain business, humanitarian and family contacts, limited as it is, has fallen hostage to the Moldovan authorities’ unwillingness – under a far-fetched and politicised pretext – to resume direct air service between Moldova and Russia. Who stands to gain from all this? Is it the people of Moldova? Of course not! Is it the people of Russia? Certainly not! This means that there is a beneficiary. Who is it? Let’s be clear. Who lobbied for this decision? All of this is happening against the background of Chisinau increasing passenger service on other routes. Do they offer any particular safety guarantees for these routes?
We regret that the Moldovan leadership conducts a policy aimed at politicising purely practical matters related to bilateral cooperation, which is done in order to please outside forces seeking to impose upon the republic an anti-Russia agenda to the detriment of the true interests of its own citizens.
Question: It was reported recently that talks are in progress at the UN about the possible launch of a pipeline to export ammonia from Russia via Ukraine. Are these conditions that Russia demanded from the UN as part of the food deal? Or is it only part of what Russia wants the UN to do? If the pipeline is launched, will Russia agree to extend the food deal in late November?
Maria Zakharova: The way you phrased this question is complicated and far from reality. Is it what Russia wants as part of the deal or is it only part of the deal? As if what Russia wants from the deal is not part of the deal. But phrasing aside, I will cover the main points of your question.
The deal is recorded in the respective documents in its entirety. I have mentioned these documents. And another thing: the fact that every document elaborates on specific aspects is what makes it a package deal. It is important to proceed from the premise that every party that contributed to the drafting of these documents assumes that the entire scope of these agreements must be fulfilled. Clearly, there is an order of priorities and planning. If documents are drafted, approved and constitute a package deal, they must be adhered to in full by all parties. This is in line with Russia’s interests.
You asked me if working on specific aspects of the deal benefits Russia and serves its interests. The answer is yes, if all the other aspects of the agreements receive equal attention.
I commented on the package grain deal with all its components in detail in my main statement. I can only reiterate what concerns fulfilling the Russia-UN Memorandum of Understanding on Russian exports of fertilisers and agricultural products but, unfortunately, there are no specific results yet.
We are maintaining contact and see how our partners under these agreements are keeping them. There is no progress. Russian businesses and manufacturers continue to face difficulties that impede transport and insurance for freight as well as bank transactions. This state of affairs must change. I have already explained how this can be done.
As concerns the ammonia pipeline, ammonia was included in these agreements. (I hope that Reuters will mention this in its report, citing me or simply stating this as a fact). For many months, this pipeline has been blocked by Ukraine. The West is so concerned about agricultural supplies. We understand that for farmers to have a harvest next year, fertilisers must be delivered no later than this year. So the curators of the Kiev regime should probably insist that their people in Vladimir Zelensky’s administration hold up their end of the bargain, including unblocking ammonia exports. There is no problem on our side. We are interested in these exports.
Maria Zakharova: I will note that the job duties of the IAEA staff, the distribution and supervision of such duties is the prerogative and responsibility of IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. The IAEA should be able to give you a specific answer to this question.
I can say that two IAEA employees are currently working at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, one representing the Department of Safeguards and the other the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. In his report to the IAEA Board of Governors, Director General Grossi described their functions as helping to stabilise nuclear safety and security at the Zaporozhye NPP. The experts will rotate monthly.
I want to point out once again that the IAEA employees’ duties have not been agreed upon with Russia and are fully overseen by Mr Grossi. Their presence at the station was his initiative. It also sets a precedent. Never before have IAEA inspectors remained at a nuclear power station permanently. We believe it would be reasonable to inquire with the IAEA Secretariat if you would like more details.
Question: US Department of State Coordinator for Sanctions Policy James O’Brien said two thirds of all Ukrainian grain has been sent to needy countries. So, it turns out that the parties to the grain deal are being groundlessly accused of sending grain to the wrong place. He cited figures, according to which 22 of 102 ships went to developing countries. Why is there a discrepancy between the US and Russian figures?
Maria Zakharova: Russia and the United States have differing information on many issues. So, 22 ships went to developing countries. Overall, there were 129 ships. Who is to say that some of them did not go to developing countries? What about the more than one hundred others?
We must agree on definitions. Probably, in referring to “needy countries” they are talking about EU countries. A substitution of concepts. There are statistics and we cited them, not ours – they were published on the UN website. The Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul is updating it. I published this information on my telegram channel and even attached a translation in Russian. These are UN figures, not ours.
The grain probably went to EU countries first and then was redistributed. Let’s assume our opponents mean that these shipments are eventually sent to the Asian and African countries that the West calls the poorest and the neediest. If so, then the West has a clear way out of this embarrassing situation. Let it publish a table that lists the details – how much grain was unloaded from a ship that went to Italy and how much was sent to other countries. What could be easier? It would be interesting to know this information (I don’t see any reasons why not).
In addition to these logistics they could also publish a table showing the profits of American companies who deliver the grain to different countries. It would be interesting to know how much they make on the delivery of food for the poorest and the neediest. This is a trivial case. If you are claiming that grain was supplied to the needy countries, show the routes. We have long lived in a world where anyone can track a flight via an app. What’s the secret here? You can track ships in real time – to see what is sent and where, with photos and video. But they are not doing this for some reason. We strongly advise them to do this since they are calling into doubt our questions, which are piling up.
Nothing is easier than publishing this information. Say, they unload a shipment in an EU country (for instance, the Netherlands, a global hub for import/export and navigation) Publish what was left there, to what other EU countries this shipment was sent and what was dispatched to other states. Then everyone will know. No secrets if this is not a fraud (including financial fraud). These is not radioactive waste that could become a target for terrorists. This is grain and fertilisers. What’s the problem? All the more so since they have already been delivered. There is no threat to the tracking of shipments – monitoring arrivals and departures worldwide – from one country to another, or in the same country – you can see that a shipment was recorded, unloaded and left at a depot, arrived at another depot and so on until it reaches its destination, from which you receive a message “The shipment has arrived. Pick it up.” Can you do the same with grain? Nobody would have any questions. But the Western countries cannot do this because they have taken most it themselves.
Question: The UN General Assembly opened on September 13. It is expected that there will be attempts to create a mechanism that would make it possible to deprive Russia of its status as a permanent Security Council member. Is Moscow prepared for this eventuality?
Maria Zakharova: If a mechanism like this is created, the author will receive a Nobel Prize in mathematics for depriving us of permanent Security Council member status. I will tell you a secret. This scenario is unfeasible under international law.
To deprive the Russian Federation of this status they would have to introduce the relevant amendments to the UN Charter. Two thirds of UN General Assembly members would have to vote for them. Then these amendments would have to be ratified by two thirds of UN member states, including all Security Council permanent members. Russia is one of the latter. There is no legal way to carry out this plan.
This is a question of history. You can endlessly engage in a search for loopholes, make amendments or invent non-existent notions. But every time, you end in a deadlock. It is necessary to understand the reasons for founding the United Nations rather than deal with someone’s fantasies of expelling Russia from the Security Council. It is important to recall why the UN was created. It was founded to prevent wars and conflicts on a global scale, minimise the damage from aggressive scenarios or exclude them altogether. This was the purpose of creating this big body that was called the United Nations. It was based on the best historical practices, including domestic ones. It has its own general assembly. There are different views on this, but I consider it to be a legislative body. The Security Council embodies the functions of executive government. The UN also has a secretariat, an enormous family of various agencies.
The UN was established to enable every country to have a law-based equal opportunity (theoretical and political) to implement its interests, to uphold it, to guarantee its security and peacefully settle arising problems with other states. We are now seeing what has come of it. Attempts to distort its initial system and turn it into a unilateral instrument are suicidal – not for the UN (it is merely a reflection of us) but for those who devised this instrument. A unilateral world will end up in a deadlock. This is already happening. Only a world of harmonious existence has a chance to survive.
Question: There is a precedent for voting at the UNHRC. No matter the methods they used, what matters is they got the number of votes they needed.
Maria Zakharova: You can close the doors, place the guards at the entrances and let no one in except the voters you want. You can come up with other extreme ways to address domestic issues. Let’s not be apocalyptic about it. It will not be the UN any more, but something different.
Why do we need this organisation? There are hosts of entities around the world that were created at the initiative of just one country. For various reasons, others sought to join them as members. These organisations were created on a collective basis, but then some country or a group of countries began to dominate them. Some didn’t have any problems with that, other did. Some left, others stayed. There are lots of variations and groupings within the existing mechanisms.
But there is a universal organisation. It was created for specific goals and objectives. Such experiments, even in theory, are damaging for the rationale of the UN. Based on the Western logic about the difference between a man and a woman (we are told that you can experiment with that, and there are more sexes than two and 80 genders on top of it), we can assume that a permanent member of the UN Security Council may, in someone’s head, terminate its membership in such a perverted manner. This logic is morbid. We are having this discussion within existing legal models, not someone’s fantasies.
Question: We have recently witnessed an escalation of tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani track. The ceasefire regime on the border gets violated and people die on both sides of the border. According to Moscow, what caused the escalation in the South Caucasus? What mechanisms is Russia proposing to use to reconcile Baku and Yerevan?
Maria Zakharova: We operate on the premise that trilateral agreements between the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan dated November 9, 2020, January 11 and November 26, 2021 remain the basis for a settlement in the region. With regard to the most recent aggravation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the Russian position is set out in detail in the Foreign Ministry’s statement dated September 13. More detailed assessments on the entire range of issues entailed in normalisation between Yerevan and Baku can be found in Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Fourth CIS Department Denis Gonchar’s interview with Rossiya Segodnya posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website on September 14.
The first ceasefire agreement was followed by exchanges of fire. A new agreement was reached yesterday which we hope will be complied with. Again, we call on the parties to show restraint and address all problems through political and diplomatic means, including within the bilateral commission on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with the advisory assistance of Russia.
Question: Where does the process for concluding a peace treaty stand at this point? How is Moscow contributing to it?
Maria Zakharova: Efforts to draft a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have continued despite the ongoing escalation of tensions. This is a top priority. Russia is providing the necessary assistance. Foreign Minister’s Special Representative for Normalising Armenian-Azerbaijani Relations Igor Khovayev was in Baku on September 8-9 and in Yerevan on September 13-14. The talks that were held in both capitals focused on the draft peace treaty. We are doing our best to bring the parties’ positions closer and will continue our efforts.
Question: Which part of the Russian delegation to the UN General Assembly was denied visas by the United States and why? Will Moscow respond to that? Will there be any travel restrictions for the Russian delegation while in New York?
Maria Zakharova: With the visa issued to Sergey Lavrov, I can say that the best part of the delegation obtained a visa alright. Many members of the Russian delegation have not been issued visas. Many visa applications are still being processed by the US Embassy in Moscow. We count on a timely and unhindered issuance of US visas to all Russian delegates and accompanying persons. They are not a jolly bunch of buddies, but experts, diplomats, specialists, and technical staff. In fact, they support the official delegation in a variety of ways.
So far, there have been no official visa denials. The American side has not returned the passports of the delegates who remain without visas to date. We continue to advance Russia’s position on the visa issue at the UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country.
I don’t have anything to share with you regarding travel restrictions while in New York.
The question of logistics remains unclear and the question of how the delegation will get there given the restrictions illegally imposed by the United States on Russian transport companies remains without answer.
Question: On September 13, 2022, Azerbaijan launched a military aggression against sovereign territories of Armenia, attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure. Currently, there is a ceasefire on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border but the situation may be derailed. As per existing bilateral agreements, Russia received a request for assistance with settling the crisis from Yerevan. What mechanisms are involved as part of bilateral cooperation? What military aid is Russia planning to provide to Armenia?
Maria Zakharova: I would like to point out that this is a briefing held by the Official Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, not by journalists. Please ask questions instead of reciting statements.
We can confirm that we have received a request for assistance from Yerevan in accordance with the existing bilateral documents and within the framework of the CSTO. As you know, on September 13, 2022, the CSTO Collective Security Council held an extraordinary session and issued a resolution to send a mission to Armenia headed by CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas and involving Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff Anatoly Sidorov.
The Russian Federation is also doing everything it can to defuse tensions. This recent escalation in the region was discussed in a telephone conversation between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s conversation with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, as well as between the defence ministers Sergey Shoigu and Suren Papikyan. We expect that this matter will be the centre of attention during Vladimir Putin’s meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Samarkand on September 15-16.
The Defence Ministry and the Federal Security Service’s Border Service are taking significant efforts. Our troops are maintaining close contact with both sides to secure a sustainable ceasefire and return the Azerbaijani and Armenian military to their starting positions.
Question: In the early hours of September 13, Azerbaijan launched artillery strikes at the sites where border troops of the Russian Federal Security Service are stationed in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia. The attack damaged barracks of the Russian border troops and military equipment. Azerbaijan also attacked Federal Security Service vehicles involved in a humanitarian mission in the area of military activity.
Maria Zakharova: I asked you not to make declarations but to ask questions. I understand you very well and respect you. But I hope that you will hear me and I will not have to ask you again.
Ask me a question if you have it. If not, we can wait until you come up with one.
Question: Every time there is an escalation at the border, a significant part of society starts asking a question: there is military activity on the territory of Armenia, a member state of the CSTO. There are multiple casualties. Armenia has requested military assistance from the CSTO but the organisation has only sent an inspection group so far. The public wonders how far the escalation has to go for the CSTO to intervene in a significant way? How far does the situation have to escalate for the CSTO to intervene and come to the defence of its strategic ally?
Maria Zakharova: I believe that by sending a mission led by Secretary-General Stanislav Zas and Chief of the Joint Staff Anatoly Sidorov, the CSTO is in fact significantly engaging the organisation’s capabilities.
I am confident that this question should not be addressed to Russia alone, for one simple reason: in the past two years, our country has made tremendous efforts to resolve this years-long simmering crisis. This was not just done on paper, not only with political declarations and statements (which are also important because you always ask for clarity on a range of issues). It was fulfilled on the ground, by involving our border troops and our country’s economic opportunities in cooperation with the two countries, Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is a comprehensive strategy.
I understand that when there are difficult, explosive situations and when they, unfortunately, have tragic consequences, everybody wants to have a magic wand they can wave and just fix everything. But this only happens in fairy tales. Our job is to work in a whole number of areas. This work must bring about a consolidated outcome. We have identified those areas and all capabilities on Russia’s side are engaged.
Question: Russia asked the UN Secretary-General to launch the arbitration procedure over the US failure to issue visas. Is this process advancing? Is Russia planning to take any measures should its delegation be prevented from participating in the General Assembly?
Maria Zakharova: We addressed many questions to the Secretariat in the context of the US obstruction of Russia’s work at the UN.
This concerns Russia’s real estate, the refusal to grant access to Russian diplomats and creation of artificial obstacles to their activities, and procrastination with the issuance of visas. These problems emerged even before 2022. We have faced them for the past five or six years, and the situation has only become worse. The line of legality (not to mention elementary propriety) was crossed by President Barak Obama, when in a destructive move and in a totally illegal manner they expropriated Russia’s real estate. Let me remind you that part of it was used by Russian diplomats accredited at the UN. This was followed by a whole series of unlawful actions.
We called for arbitration. I think we will comment on this additionally in a short while.
Question: As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Kiev intends to request longer-range missiles to continue its offensive in 2023. Earlier, the Biden Administration refused to provide this system for fear that Ukraine may use it to deliver strikes at Russia’s territory. How do you assess this threat? Can this attest to the fact that the conflict is escalating even further?
Maria Zakharova: As I said earlier, the statements and actions by the Kiev regime and Washington are evidence of the fact that we are dealing with the collective West in Ukraine, whose long-term goal is to destroy our country. Earlier they said the case in point was a political impact, but now they are talking about a physical one.
We have repeatedly said that pumping Ukraine with Western weapons will only protract the hostilities and lead to new casualties among peaceful civilians. Moreover, this is bringing the situation to a dangerous line where a direct clash between Russia and NATO countries is possible. We would like to stress that the United States and its allies that supply weapons to the Kiev regime are actually becoming accomplices in its war crimes. If Washington decides on supplying longer-range missiles, it will cross the red line and become a party to the conflict. We reserve the right to protect the Russian territory by all available means.
The potential delivery of missiles to the Kiev regime is comparable to the situation where US-made surface missiles capable of reaching Russia’s territory, which were formerly banned under the INF Treaty, would be deployed in European countries. Given this scenario, we will have to respond in kind. This irresponsible step will have an extremely destabilising effect. It will contribute to a new surge of tensions and provoke an arms race.
We understand that Washington has set course for global destabilisation. We can see this in various regions of Asia, Europe, Africa, and just everywhere. We also understand why this is happening. Washington lacks internal and legitimate external resources for its own development and to overcome its economic and political crisis. So, they have turned to unlawful actions.
Question: Citing the US Department of Energy, Reuters reported that US oil stockpiles currently stand at 434 million barrels, which is the lowest level since 1984. As directed by President Biden, the US authorities have been tapping strategic oil reserves since the spring. Still, the United States and the G7 continue to lobby for the idea of capping prices for Russian oil followed by Russian gas. What’s your take on these moves? How realistic is the price cap scenario? What consequences could it have?
Maria Zakharova: If we sit on our hands, they will be setting prices for Russian resources. The West’s biggest dream is to set prices for the resources they don’t own. They’ve been doing this for centuries. They took things from other people for free and had those other people pay them for doing so, thus making independent countries and nations their colonies, satellites, semi-colonies, and vassals. People who are not familiar with history will find this absurd, but this is how things were. For centuries on end, they siphoned off resources of all kinds from countries and continents that they didn’t even have common borders with. The Western countries did this. Now, they have moved to plan B, which is wrapped in economic terms such as “oil price caps” and is referred to as “control over resources.” We shouldn’t use words borrowed from the English language because this draws a veil over actual financial and economic policies. In fact, what we are witnessing is theft, when someone who is not entitled to dispose of other people’s resources is dictating prices for these resources.
Second, is this something that is happening just to us? Look, they are pumping Syrian oil. Who is doing this? The Americans, who occupied Syria’s oil-bearing regions. They are there without any legal foundation or mandate issued by any kind of authority. It’s just what the Americans have decided to do and so they are now pumping oil there. They are exporting and selling it. Whenever they get a chance, they dispose of resources without intermediaries. When they get a rebuff, they come up with all kinds of schemes like “oil prices,” “price caps,” restrictions, etc.
Third, there is a generally accepted legal arrangement in which countries endowed with resources participate in order to collectively regulate oil prices in the common interest. Not in the interest of an individual group of countries, but in the interest of the entire world based on the political and economic market situation, and the like. Such international organisations and entities have a legal basis underlying their activities. They do not engage in theft or collusion. The premises underlying energy price discussions and the decision-making process are clear and multiple factors are at play.
What the G7 is doing is playing out their eternal desire to colonise others with one goal in mind: take away resources or control them.
On the one hand, the G7 initiative to create an arbitrary price cap for oil and a discussion within the EU of the potential introduction of a similar mechanism on the gas market mean, on the one hand, that anti-Russian sanctions have failed. On the other hand, this goes to show that market economy principles are alien to Brussels and Washington. This is absolutely in line with what I said at the start. This is about breaking down their core problem. The ideology underlying the liberal economy has collapsed. It no longer exists. It transpired that certain groups of elites were operating under the guise of the liberal economy and a liberal model of development and they influenced the situation. This is how they managed it. The liberal model was imposed on others for them to rely on market self-regulation.
That way, the liberal dictatorship would get the chance to control other people’s resources. The purely geopolitical goal of weakening Russia (in this particular case) is their top priority. This does not concern only us. We will respond by redirecting our oil and gas exports to countries that are willing to cooperate with us based on law and order, on international law rather than someone’s beliefs about all things beautiful. Order means international law and multiple arrangements and agreements that were developed by consensus and meet everyone’s interests.
It is not hard to predict the consequences of an attempt to form a cartel of buyers and keep an artificial price cap. Prices will shoot up in the wake of reduced supply (which has already been discussed on many occasions), which will put additional pressure on the economy, primarily the EU economy, which is a net energy importer.
There’s another angle to that issue. Why do we talk about the EU’s suicidal policy? Because as they yield to pressure from the United States, these countries are making decisions that annihilate their own economic future. The issue is not about today’s fleeting needs, but their development plans for decades ahead. The EU will not make it by relying on self-regulation of the economy. What kind of self-regulation are we talking about with the West resorting to force in its politics?
Question: How would you explain that, despite the openly hostile actions and statements by the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, Russia has resumed gas deliveries to those countries, and is not blocking freight traffic or electricity supply? Do we need full-fledged diplomatic relations in this situation?
Maria Zakharova: Diplomatic contacts are based on reciprocity. Multi-level relations with other countries are based on pragmatism, meaning how we identify potential benefits and how we see the medium- and long-term perspective. President of Russia Vladimir Putin spoke about this. We will operate in various areas as we deem expedient, as we see it. Where necessary, we will respond economically, financially, and pick the best deal. When we talk about mirroring, or symmetry, we should not mix diplomacy with other spheres of life. If we are talking about visas denied to diplomats, yes, the principle of reciprocity applies here. There are no other options.
When it comes to taking other measures with regard other states, we look at what is beneficial for us and consider responding in such a way as to protect our own interests.
Maria Zakharova: I will not speak at length about it, because President of Russia Vladimir Putin already gave an assessment of their report, and the Foreign Ministry has published many additional materials.
There are definite positive sides. One way or another, international law works in this area. The IAEA did not cave in under pressure, despite intimidation and intrigues. The inspectors arrived at the plant. During the visit, they thoroughly assessed the situation at the plant and the state of its nuclear and physical security, and accounted for the nuclear material stocked there under IAEA safeguards. What’s most important is that IAEA representatives had a chance to see with their own eyes the devastating consequences of the Ukrainian strikes at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and make sure that the information regularly provided by Russia to the UN and the IAEA on this matter is completely objective.
Unfortunately, the report presented by the IAEA Director General failed to indicate the guilty party. We have expressed our bewilderment about this. It is obvious who has been committing those criminal acts, contributing to the precarious situation around the nuclear facility, which can lead to a breach of the nuclear and physical security regime at the plant. Russia and the IAEA leadership are aware that Kiev is behind the regular shelling of the plant and the adjacent territory; but he leading Western countries, which encourage such provocations by the Zelensky regime, certainly know it too. They encourage it in different ways: by tacit consent, by inaction. We can be understanding about Rafael Grossi’s position as the head of an international organisation, but in the current situation, it is time to call a spade a spade. They can’t remain silent any longer. It is not just counterproductive; it is dangerous.
The Agency’s mission has not been completed: two IAEA staff members are permanently stationed at the plant to carry out the verification functions mandated by the IAEA. We hope that their presence will help the agency objectively assess the situation. The Russian side is ready to provide any necessary assistance to the agency or individual experts. We pursue a common goal, which is to reliably ensure the safety of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and its normal operation. The only way to do this is to completely stop the shelling and attacks on the power plant by the Kiev regime.
Maria Zakharova: Consular services to the local population have been suspended until the situation normalises. All information will be additionally published on the website and social media accounts of our embassy in Afghanistan as well as the Foreign Ministry resources.
Question: According to recent reports, nine EU countries (the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands) no longer accept tourist visa applications from Russian citizens. What is the reason for this and will there be a response?
Maria Zakharova: We have already commented on this anti-Russian move, which manifests its initiators’ utter lack of culture. We consider it as yet another hostile attack on Russia and its people. It is no secret that political actors in the Baltic States and Poland are choking with spite when it comes to Russia. This has been observed for a long time. I don’t know what their reasons are: phobias, money, some other secret motives maybe? That’s a question for them.
The fact is that the European Union and the collective West have replaced a visa policy with a visa regime. Instead of adjusting visa procedures to accommodate the recent political developments and people’s needs, they came up with a real regime. It is linked with the ideas of certain politicians in the West, and it affects people’s lives. This was done contrary to existing agreements, which are binding for the countries concerned. This applies to everything, not only to visas, but also transportation services between Russia and most EU countries. We are witnessing a consistent torpedoing of relations with our country, cancelling everything we have done together on the continent of Eurasia. Why? This is the dictatorship of liberalism, of American imperial thinking. It’s their lust for sole control over everything, an urge to punish everyone as they see fit for disloyalty. All this has led to their self-isolation from our country.
The European Union is damaging its own tourism industry, its own companies’ incomes, and its own citizens’ prosperity. Across the board. The energy industry means heating in their homes, a vital thing. Tourism affects incomes. And not just personal incomes – that money should go into development, from cities to various sectors of the economy. Colossal financial costs are incurred because of the situation around Ukraine. What did Europe get? A disaster. And it’s their own doing. Did the people of the European Union want this? No. Have they been forced to do it? Yes. Who forced them? Their own politicians. And Washington plays a leading role in this.
As to your question about our response, we have already commented on this. We will not blindly copycat such self-destructive moves. We will consider what would be best for us, what can minimise the damage.