Photo: Russian MFA
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with CBS TV channel, New York, January 22, 2024:
Question: As you know, there's a presidential election in Ukraine is on the agenda.
Is there a presidential candidate, either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump, who you believe would be easier to deal with on the Ukraine issues?
Sergey Lavrov: Well, it's not to my knowledge that the presidential election in Ukraine is coming. I hear every now and then that UK, the United States are advising them to hold an election and that at least President Vladimir Zelensky several times publicly said that he cannot do this because of the Constitution. We are not meddling with domestic affairs, you know. To advise somebody to have elections when the Constitution does not allow – it is for the Bigger brother.
Question: There is a US presidential election coming up. Former President Trump said that if he were elected president, that the issue with the war and the special military operation would be over in 24 hours.
Have you had any chance to discuss this with former President Trump, or do you believe that the US would have some kind of secret idea on this?
Sergey Lavrov: No. We didn't have any chance to discuss anything like this with President Trump or with anybody else in the United States.
We didn't have a chance to discuss anything with the Americans because the current administration is not interested in having any dialogue except from time to time on issues of the detainees, exchanges and functioning of the two embassies in Washington and Moscow and the mission in New York. But not on any policy matters.
I heard that President Vladimir Zelensky was reacting to the statement of President Donald Trump, which President Trump made repeatedly. It's not for the first time that he mentioned about 24 hours. But lately he said if I heard him right that even before inauguration he would be able to fix it.
Look, anybody who is sincerely interested in justice, including justice being established in the relations between Russia and Ukraine, which would involve, of course, stopping the Western policy of using Ukraine as an instrument of war against Russia, we would be ready to listen.
President Vladimir Putin repeatedly said that it is not true when somebody is saying that Russia is against negotiations. Actually, Anthony Blinken said this in Davos a few days ago. It is not true. Russia was always emphasizing that any serious proposal which would include the discussion of the situation on the ground of the origin of this situation and of reaching a solution which would guarantee legitimate national interests of Russia and Ukrainian people. We would be ready to discuss. Actually almost two years ago in April 2022, a few weeks after the operation started, the Ukrainian side proposed a meeting. The Russian side agreed. There were several encounters in Belarus and later in Istanbul. And in Istanbul, early April 2022, we reached a deal, an agreement which was initialed. And as a sign of goodwill, the Ukrainians asked us to withdraw troops from Kiev, which we did, and two days later the agreement which was initialed and ready for signature was torn apart.
Sergey Lavrov: By Ukrainians. And the leader of the Ukrainian delegation in April 2022 in Istanbul, who is now the chief whip of Zelenskyi party in the Rada, «the Servant to the people», Mr. Arakhamia. A couple of weeks ago, he gave an interview and he said «we were ready to sign», but then Boris Johnson came to Kiev and said «no, let's continue the military activities».
Question: What would, what does a peace plan look like? You've rejected the Ukrainian peace plan. What's the ultimate goal? Would Russia were to prevail?
Sergey Lavrov: We did not reject the Ukrainian peace plan because the plan which was initialed by both Russians and Ukrainians in April 2022 was proposed by Ukrainian delegation.
Roughly it was no NATO, no military blocs, no military bases on Ukrainian soil, no military games on Ukrainian soil, unless all garant countries agreed.
And these garant countries included P5, China, Turkey, Germany, and the list was open to anybody who would like to join the club. And the guaranties which were written in the paper, which I repeat again was initialed, the guaranties were drafted basically along the lines of Article 4 and Article 5 of the Washington Treaty of NATO.
And the main thing was that the Ukrainians themselves bluntly stated in that paper that those guaranties would not cover Crimea and the east of Ukraine. And that the two countries would continue discussing whatever issues might be related to this kind of a deal.
This was ready for signature. Boris Johnson, as the leader of the Mr. Zelensky party, stated recently, told them «no, don't sign it, let's continue to fight».
Question: Well, what is the ultimate goal of Russia? It's not a special military operation, it's been extended now for almost two years.
Sergey Lavrov: Well, for us, it's a special military operation. But we are encountering a real full-fledged war fought against us by the West with the hands and bodies of Ukrainian people.
The goal is very simple. We have been warning publicly since 2008, 2007 even that NATO expansion against all the promises given to Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev not to expand their lines, NATO expansion was going too far, five waves of expansion. And then NATO, I mean, the last moment at the end of 2020, found itself just on the borders of the Russian Federation.
Ukraine was pulled into North Atlantic Alliance. There were plans to build military bases on Ukrainian soil, including naval bases in the Sea of Azov, not to mention the Black Sea.
And the war against the east of Ukraine, which the Vladimir Zevenzky regime was fighting in violation of the Minsk agreements, was fueled by supply of weapons from the United States, from Britain, from Europe. And at the beginning of 2022, the fighting, the shelling and bombing by Ukrainian army of the east of their own country intensified ten times.
And this was the moment when we understood that the West rejected our proposals of December 2021 to sign the treaty on guaranties which would be ensuring everybody's security without expending any military bloc. This was rejected. We were told «none of your business».
Question: I have asked you, Mr. Minister, this question before, but since the war, the special military operation, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, NATO has practically doubled. And that is because many western countries...
Sergey Lavrov: Not doubled, I wouldn't say so.
Question: Well, Finland included.
Sergey Lavrov: Well, Finland.
Question: But it's much larger than it was, and therefore you have more NATO at your border than you had before. And much of the West believes that this is a violation, both 2014 and this intervention, of Ukrainian sovereignty.
Sergey Lavrov: The West has discredited itself completely. Frankly, if they believe in something, let them continue to live in these illusions.
We are fighting for our national legitimate interests, for the interests of the security of our country. It’s just on our borders, not as Iraq was announced a threat to the United States, it's 10,000 miles from American shores.
Not like Yugoslavia, another 10,000 miles from the United States, was declared a threat.
Not like Libya, not like Syria, which were all officially called clear and direct threat to the United States' security and the security of its allies.
In our case, it was not across the ocean, it was just on our borders that NATO military infrastructure was built, aimed at the Russian Federation.
It was just on Ukrainian territory when they were planning to deploy INF, intermediate nuclear force, on land which was prohibited by the INF Treaty, which the Americans dropped from, and they wanted their hands to be free to put these types of weapons.
Question: What is the end game?
Sergey Lavrov: You have not listened my answer to the first question. I understand that it is boring that you want the end game.
Question: No. I'm happy to let you finish.
Sergey Lavrov: And the second key reason is that Ukraine, after the coup in 2014, the source of power of all those who have been running Ukraine since February 2014, was anti-constitutional, bloody coup. The coup leaders at that time, you might remember, they burned about 50 people alive in Odessa because these people didn't want to accept the results of the coup.
And to those territories which did not accept the coup like Crimea, which went for a referendum and voted to convert to Russia, and Donbass, which also didn't accept the coup rulers, the Putschists declared a war, war against their own people. And they were fighting the war against the east of Ukraine, populated mostly by ethnic Russians, citizens of Ukraine, yes, but they have been ethnic Russians.
Those parts of Ukraine, they have been discovered, they have been inhabited, developed, built ports, roads for hundreds and hundreds of years by the ancestors of those people, who the regime of Petr Poroshenko first and then by Vladimir Zelensky declared «inhumans», «species» and the «substances» who must be destroyed. Legislation was adopted to prohibit Russian education, Russian media.
All Russian books have been thrown out of the libraries like Adolph Hitler did with his books in Germany. And they publicly announced that all Russians would be exterminated, either physically or legally.
The ambassadors of Ukraine abroad, officials of regime, like the one in Kazakhstan, Mr. Petr Vrublevsky said: our main goal is to exterminate as many Russians as we can so that our kids would have less work to do. And never ever all this racist, racist legislation was giving rise to any reaction in the West.
Question: But how do you justify violating Ukraine's sovereignty? And what do you want in the end, a satellite state or a re-upping of the USSR?
Sergey Lavrov: The Ukrainian sovereignty was violated by the coup leaders who spat into the face of Germany, France, and Poland in February 2014, who tore apart the deal between the opposition and the president, which was witnessed and guaranteed by Germany, France, and Poland.
They spat into their face, they staged the bloody coup, they started hunting the president, they started hunting people from the opposition, and they declared immediately in February 2014 that their first act is to cancel the status of the Russian language in Ukraine. And the task number two was to throw military groups to storm the parliament in Crimea.
Question: Let me interrupt. Why is this West? Over 140 countries in the General Assembly voted to condemn this invasion as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty? It's not just the West.
Sergey Lavrov: It is not important for us who was voting what way. I know how the Americans and the Brits and some Europeans are getting those votes. I have many friends in New York. When these resolutions were voted, I asked, why did they vote this way. And they told me, you know, being a bit ashamed, «you understand that I have worked here for ten years, my kids are in Stanford, and before the vote they came to me and said: don't forget about that your kids are studying, don't forget that your bank account is in such and such a bank».
Question: Your attention is that most of these countries were pressured by the United States?
Sergey Lavrov: Not most, all of them. Whenever you talk to the United States and they mention democracy, you tell them, okay, democracy as you understand is that you dictate to each and every country what kind of political system they must have inside.
What about democracy in international relations? They're not interested at all. We remind them that the United Nations Charter said that the United Nations is based on sovereign equality of states.
Ukraine. For long years, we have been warning NATO that if you go that way, it will end not in a very good development. President Vladimir Putin was explaining many years before the operation started. During the night before the operation, he, I think, took half an hour to sum up the reasons why we were doing this.
Fine, the entire world heard. Next morning, the West condemned and said that this was invasion, annexation, violation of the United Nations charter, territorial integrity.
The rest of the world listened to President Vladimir Putin and listened to the West. And since they are sovereign countries and the UN is about respect for sovereign equality of states, all of them should have been left alone as grown-ups to decide what they heard from Vladimir Putin.
Question: I think you get pushback from most of these countries that they only wanted to vote against Russia's invasion because of pressure...
Sergey Lavrov: This time you didn't even apologize that you are interrupting me because I am answering your question.
Sergey Lavrov: For us, what is of crucial importance, that there is no single country in what we call Global South or World Majority except the Bahamas, which joined the anti-Russian sanctions. Not a single country from the Global South.
So when their hands are twisted, they might be inclined just to raise their hands during the vote, which does not have any legal meaning because General Assembly resolutions are recommendations. But my point is slightly more complicated.
Can you imagine that Switzerland prohibits the French language or German language?
Question: Yes, I can. But if it happens, under international law it still does not justify an invasion and a violation of sovereignty.
Sergey Lavrov: It's not about justifying the invasion. It's about how you treat yourself and how you are prepared to be treated. Are you ready to live through many years of humiliation? Everything Russian had been humiliated after the coup in 2014.
If Ireland, for example, prohibited English, you think London would say, well, we are angry, but this does not violate international law.
By the way, it does violate international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law. It says bluntly, there are several conventions on the rights of national minorities.
The funny thing is that the constitution of Ukraine, with all the laws cancelling everything Russian, having been already enforced. Take a look at it. It's on internet. Just read it. The state solely guarantees speaking and cultural, religious rights of the Russian and other national minorities living in Ukraine.
Question: This time I do apologize for interrupting, but I know your time is limited. Let me just ask you some specific questions. Right now there are reports that Russia is sharing rocket and nuclear technology with North Korea in exchange for munitions for the Ukraine war. Is that true?
Sergey Lavrov: Reports we have been hearing during all these years. We prefer to operate on the basis of facts. And the facts, which nobody can hide, is that the American, British and European military arsenals are busy on a daily basis pumping weapons in Ukraine.
Several months ago there were reports that Iran is selling some missiles to Russia and that these missiles were already noticed in Ukraine after they were fired, the remnants of those missiles were found.
Iran publicly and bluntly asked Ukrainians: can we come and take a look at those remnants and those debries of these missiles? It was several months ago. Nobody even remembers about those accusations.
Question: They provided some pictures. You're avoiding because there was Iran and there was North Korea.
Sergey Lavrov: There is no single proof in spite of the fact that in case of Iran there were demands from Tehran: please show to us what did you find. And I have no slightest doubt that the similar inability to prove anything would be in other cases.
Question: Well, they did have an exhibition of some of these drones here at the US mission to the UN.
Sergey Lavrov: Wait a second. Are you speaking about drones?
Question: Iranian drones in Ukraine.
Sergey Lavrov: Well, the Iranian drones near the United Missions in New York. I don't care about those Iranian drones. What we were accused of is that we used those drones to attack Ukraine. And there are elements of those drones which can prove it. And this was a lie. And if our friends from various countries who announced the strategic goal of defeating Russia in the battlefield, if they are so scrupulous about implementing resolutions of these two countries, where would they when in 2016 the Donald Trump administration said: «Resolution 2231 on Iranian nuclear program - go to hell». I don't want to implement this. What about resolutions on the Golan Heights?
Question: Okay, we'll switch to Israel.
Sergey Lavrov: No. We can switch anywhere. You either defend the law including meticulous implementation of faulty Security Council resolutions, or you start pick and choose.
Question: All right. But can we go back to the question. Is North Korea sharing technology in exchange for relations?
Sergey Lavrov: In our relations with North Korea we don't violate any path of international law. And those who ask such question must answer our question first. If you have a proof, show it to us. We're not going to defend ourselves when we are without any proof are being accused of everything.
«We are ruining the Ukrainian sovereignty». «We are violating resolutions of the Security Council on Korea and Iran». «We are doing some other terrible things».
A version was already floated that we have blown up the North Stream. This is a good thing. Terrorist attacks are prohibited by many international conventions.
North Stream pipelines having been blown up a year and a half ago. A few months after President Joe Biden publicly said: we will stop this project. And then you are not interested in this. You are interested in North Korea.
Question: Well, that's the most recent technology transfer that we've seen. Can you answer that question about North Korea?
Sergey Lavrov: The North Stream case is technology elimination. Destruction. If you are interested in technology, be interested in all parts of modern technology. Especially since the United States blown up these pipelines, European economy went down.
Question: Is there any chance, speaking of deals that have not continued, the Black Sea Grain Initiative? Any chance of getting that back on?
Sergey Lavrov: Again it's about being honest. I understand that the Western politicians are not giving you much chance in having these criteria in your interviews. But the original deal by Secretary General of the United Nations was a package. Ukrainian grain goes to the world markets and the route used by the Ukrainian grain is safe and secure. And parallel to this, Russian grain and fertilizers also go freely to the countries who need them.
The Ukrainian part of the deal was functioning very well. But even that, the Ukrainians tried to use for their benefit.
And the route which was identified for the ships, for these bulkers to go and which was announced secure was used to attack by sea drones, against the Russian naval and civilian ships. And this is well known. They used the peaceful waters which they declared peaceful, which the United Nations declared peaceful.
In the meantime, nothing happened to the Russian exports, including some 260 thousand tons of fertilizers who were stuck.
Question: The U.S. doesn't have sanctions on the fertilizers. It's just the incidental companies, the insurance companies, the shipping companies did not want to renew their agreement because Russia was attacking ships in the Red Sea.
Sergey Lavrov: The Red Sea? Russia attacking ships in the Red Sea?
Question: I'm sorry. In the Black Sea during the grain deal.
Sergey Lavrov: Russia was never attacking any Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. There was a mechanism, including U.N., Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, for inspections. And yes, every ship was inspected. They were boarding the ship, they were seeing where it was moving and going back ashore.
Question: So why are you not continuing the deal?
Sergey Lavrov: Because the Ukrainians used these free secure passages to launch their weapons in the form of naval drones, which physically attacked and damaged several Russian ships and several parts of the Russian port.
Question: We will follow up on those allegations, but let's...
Sergey Lavrov: No. On this one, unlike on Iranian drones or North Korean drones, there are pictures and there are confirmations from independent experts.
And the second reason was that Secretary General Antonio Guterres was campaigning for this deal, saying that otherwise the needy countries would be in a disastrous situation, people would be dying.
So out of the entire amount of Ukrainian grain, which was shipped during the functioning of this scheme, only 3% went to the countries on the list of the World Food Program.
Question: Well, it was always supposed to be a commercial deal. Russia also had an upper crop of wheat that year, the first year of the deal.
Sergey Lavrov: You said that that always was supposed to be a commercial deal. I don't know to whom you were talking. We were talking to the author of the deal, Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was telling us this is necessary for the neediest countries. And then, of course, when the bulk of this Ukrainian grain went to Europe, you know how the farmers in Europe revolted.
Sergey Lavrov: Because the Ukrainian grain was undercutting the competition and their competitive advantages.
Question: Yes, but they worked that part out.
Sergey Lavrov: But on the Russian part of the deal, of course, everybody knew that various companies were refusing to cooperate with Russia. Lloyd's quadrupled the insurance rates and so on and so forth.
But this was exactly the reason why Antonio Guterres volunteered to have a package. He said, help me with Ukraine and I will resolve these issues.
He was not able to do anything. It's only now some very unreliable mechanisms are being discussed.
My point, which you must hear, is about something which did not require anything. 190 thousand tons of Russian fertilizers were stuck in European Union ports. And when the owner of these fertilizers, the Russian company, learned about this, they said, look, I don't want this. I renounce my rights. This is now for the poor countries, for the UN World Food Programme to determine which countries must receive this for free. It was more than a year and a half ago. Only half of these tons of fertilizers managed to get to two or three African countries.
The World Food Programme was administering this exercise, but we were paying for deliveries. And the rest of this grain is still not able to reach the destination point.
Question: And so is there any way back to the deal?
Sergey Lavrov: Well, we insist that this deal must go through.
But the attitude of those who control various companies mentioned by you, the companies who are not really very eager to help the owners of these companies are key western countries, and everybody knows about this.
And the World Food Programme is led by an American citizen, a respectful American citizen, an influential American person. And she either cannot or doesn't want to do anything to resolve this very specific and not very difficult problem.
Question: All right. I'd like to talk about the Middle East quickly and about the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Sergey Lavrov: No, we're not interfering in the U.S. domestic affairs.
Question: Right. But are there better relations with former President Donald Trump than they have been with President Joe Biden? Do you think there is a shift that would come if President Donald Trump would be elected?
Sergey Lavrov: It's not for me. It's for the American people to decide. And I believe they're becoming more and more busy with the choice.
As for who is more promising for Russia. I don't believe that there is any difference, because the drive to ruin the Russian-American relations, the foundation of these relations, including all agreements on strategic stability, parity, mutual trust, inspections, transparency, and so on and so forth, confidence-building, all these started to be ruined by President George Bush Jr.
When he told President Vladimir Putin, that he is dropping from the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty because of Iran, and Korea. He said: «We need to really concentrate on not allowing them to get the bomb. This is not against Russia».
President Vladimir Putin said if it was not against us, then please understand that we still have to analyze what shape your missile defense program is going to take.
Question: Is all of this coming to a conclusion?
Sergey Lavrov: I always thought that the CBS correspondents are polite people.
Question: Well, I'm trying to... but I get a lot of questions.
Sergey Lavrov: But when President George Bush Jr. was dropping from ABM treaty, he told President Vladimir Putin: this is not against you, so whatever you do in return, I will not consider as being against us.
Very soon it was very obvious and became clear that Iran and North Korea had nothing to do with this missile defense being deployed in Europe and even in Asia. The deployment structure was clearly aimed at Russia and China, which brought this issue already in the global context, in the global strategic stability concept.
Then other treaties were destroyed, including intermediate nuclear force treaty. The land-based short-range and longer-range missiles were now allowed, because the Americans said they are not bound by this treaty. We said: if you deploy, we will have to do the same.
Now they started deploying this. And they treaty on the Open sky, allowing transparency, inspections by aircrafts over the territory of each other. It’s no more.
And of course, START treaty has been suspended. It is expiring actually in two years.
It's impossible to understand how the Americans still try to tell us «okay we're enemies, we called you enemy, we said that you must be strategically defeated, but we still need to visit your strategic nuclear bases». Because this treaty provides for the inspections. And then we said: Guys, read the treaty. It says that we are not enemies anymore. That transparency, confidence building, indivisible, security, mutual respect, when all this is back to your American narrative and behavior, come to us and we'll think about it.
Question: And before that, there's no return to these treaties?
Sergey Lavrov: Look. We have self-respect. When people bluntly say we have to defeat Russia, we have to humiliate Russia, we have to ignite the Russian people to throw President Putin out. And then they come: «please let us visit your nuclear base». Are these people sane?
Question: You think it's not sane?
Sergey Lavrov: Well, I think this superiority complex, impunity complex is getting too deep into their minds.
Question: Well, US and Russia have one of the most difficult relations in post-war history right now. How can you improve it?
Sergey Lavrov: We never spoiled these relations. We're not going to take any initiative, and going to run to Washington. «Uncle Sam, please forgive us. We were bad boys». We have nothing to complain about.
Those who invented the Russian threat, those who ignored, huge amount of goodwill shown by President Vladimir Putin during his first two terms. They just said, okay, this guy is so nice – we will keep him in our pocket. Those who miscalculated everything, they must rethink.
Instead, we see the current generation of politicians in the United States having drawn just no single lesson from that unacceptable policies which the United States started to promote after the demise of the Soviet Union.
Question: And right now, there been an increase of Russian attacks on civilian targets in Kiev and around Ukraine. How do you explain that?
Sergey Lavrov: This was explained many times. From the very beginning of this conflict, we have been drawing the attention to the absolutely blind and deaf democratic community of nations called NATO, European Union, drawing their attention to the fact that Ukrainian Army, in violation of all norms of international humanitarian law, in violation of all rules of war, was deploying missile defense just in the living quarters, next to schools, kindergartens, libraries, restaurants, and ordinary buildings. And the facts about the consequences of such reckless behavior have been presented many times.
Ukrainian Army with American, French, British, Czech Republic weapons, in the past few weeks continued to deliberately target civilian aims, destroyed dozens of civilian sites, and killed dozens of civilians, including kids and women.
The latest, on the 30th of December 2023, the city of Belgorod was attacked deliberately in the downtown area where no single site with any military installation has been located. And yesterday there was a civil attack against the city of Donetsk when the farmers’ market and a series of stores, shops, were attacked. At least 25 people (because they're still looking for corpses) dead, dozens wounded. Kids, women. Any military expert, any honest observer, has confirmed already that this was a deliberate attack on non-military target.
I am sure that objective media outlets like CBS would not just leave this unnoticed and would ask questions about who and why was applying these barbarian methods of war.
It looks like when the U.S. and U.K. in February 1945 were bombing the city of Dresden with no military purpose, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no military purpose, just level to the ground, so that they are frightened.
In Syria, the city of Raqqa was leveled by the Brits, Americans, and the French. In Iraq, the city of Mosul the same. So these barbarian methods of fighting your enemy is being now applied by the barbarians in Kiev. They have been well trained.
Question: Well, they are denying it.
Sergey Lavrov: Wait a second. it's impossible to deny. All the satelite images, all the eyewitnesses on the ground, the civilian part of the city, in Belgorod and the same in Donetsk. Farmers’ market and food stores. Dozens of people. Sunday. People go shopping. And they strike.
Question: Well, we'll follow up.
Sergey Lavrov: Please don't forget.
Question: We'll follow. Can you answer a few questions on the Middle East. What do you think is, what can happen next? What is your opinion of what should happen with Israel and the Hamas?
Sergey Lavrov: If in response to terrorist attacks, which we strongly condemn, like we condemn the attack on Israel civilians on the 7th of October 2023, if in response to these terrorist attacks, the international humanitarian norms would be ignored and the collective punishment means would be applied, then I am afraid, this is an invitation to more barbarian methods of fighting on both sides. On all sides. We are convinced.
You know, Mr. Antonio Guterres, when these unacceptable terrorist attacks happened on the 7th of October 2023, condemned them, but he said, but this happened not in a vacuum.
And he was chastised immediately by Israeli officials that he is supporting terrorists, terrorist methods, that the United Nations is a terrorist organization.
But he was right. Because for 75 years you have been, the General Assembly decided to have two states: Jewish state and Arab state in Palestine.
Question: Yes. But you are saying there is a context, as Secretary General Gutierres said, of the October 7th. I mean, there is no context, is there, for some barbarity like that?
Sergey Lavrov: There is no excuse for barbarity of the 7th of October 2023. But I don't think the fact that there is no excuse for this is an excuse for a carte blanche with no less barbarian means of fighting.
Question: Well, what would you propose? There used to be the Quartet of the US, EU, UN, and Russia.
Sergey Lavrov: The United States closed it. They didn't like any competition. They like monopolism. They monopolized, they usurped the political process. They were not a fair broker. And they were not promoting the creation of the Palestinian state.
After the 7th of October 2023 Israeli military commanders, some of the most radical people in the current government, were saying that Palestinians are all extremists. When in Gaza each of them reaches the age of three, by that time they are already extremists and terrorists. They were also called «animals».
By the way Ukrainian government officials also have the same «nicknames» for the people in Ukraine who live in the East and speak Russian.
Unless we insist on the creation of the Palestinian state on the basis of the United Nations decisions, this anger which has been present in Palestinian lives for decades and generation after generation, would reproduce more generations who would feel that they have been abandoned and they have been cheated upon, that the United Nations, everybody, unanimously. It's not a prediction. I am convinced that unless this injustice is corrected and the Palestinian state is created, the more violence would pop up every now and then in Palestine or in other parts of the Arab and Muslim world because the Arab and Muslim «street» is much more radical than the Arab and Muslim governments.
Question: And how worried are you that this conflict will expand? I mean, we now see the Red Sea and the Houthis, we see it all.
Sergey Lavrov: Ask the Americans. It's them who are expanding the conflict to the Red Sea, who started aggression against Yemen. We strongly call upon Israelis to stop attacking Syria, including airports of Damascus and Aleppo, which interrupts the delivery of humanitarian assistance, by the way, we call on them to stop political killings.
In Damascus, several officers of the Iranian Corps of Islamic revolution were hit by a missile, apparently Israeli. We certainly have to raise our voice not to allow pushing out Palestinians from their land and of course not to allow this land to turn into unlivable space. Like many environmental scientists are warning over it.
Question: Will you be meeting with the Iranian foreign minister when he's here?
Sergey Lavrov: Yes. We met with him not long ago.
Question: But he'll be here at the UN?
Sergey Lavrov: I will meet with him. So you believe it depends entirely on him or Iran?
Question: There appear to be a lot of Iranian attacks and support around the world.
Sergey Lavrov: I noticed also some Israeli attacks.
Question: Yes. So what would be your advice to the US president to resolve the crisis in the Middle East?
Sergey Lavrov: Stop the fighting. Don't use veto when a resolution is proposed to declare humanitarian ceasefire. You used vetoes twice. There is no reaction from the Security Council as regards to demand a ceasefire. And of course, don't drag on like your predecessors did for decades on creating the Palestinian state. Join others as an honest participant. Don't try to monopolize the process thinking only about how you can guarantee your own interests and not the interests of the Palestinian people.
read more in our Telegram-channel https://t.me/The_International_Affairs