Remarks by Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

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22 January 2024

Mr President, thank you for the opportunity to speak.

We are following up on the situation in Ukraine today in the context of the continuing supplies of Western weapons and the sending of Western mercenaries to that country, which we know from our recent measures to destroy French mercenaries in Kharkov. We have just heard an update from the UN Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Adedeji Ebo. We thank him for the information and his recommendations to the Security Council.

The vast majority of unbiased experts clearly see that the West’s continuing support for the Kiev regime is the key factor that is preventing a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis. Support is provided despite its obvious agony and inability to fulfil the goal of inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia that was dictated to it by its higher ups, or, as they started saying recently, of at least degrading my country.

The truth is that, despite the complete failure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the battlefield, the Western patrons of the Kiev regime continue to push it, like maniacs, to continue this meaningless military confrontation. This is done under the false banners that the collapse of Zelensky’s regime supposedly poses an “existential threat” to the Ukrainians whom Russia wants to “enslave.” Those who have delved deep into the Ukraine crisis know well that there is not a kernel of truth in these assertions. Russia launched the special military operation in February 2022 not against Ukraine or the Ukrainian people with whom we are still bound by fraternal ties. It is no coincidence that almost 7 million Ukrainians found a safe haven in Russia after 2014.

We were forced to start the military operation against a criminal regime that went too far, emboldened by impunity, and was unwilling, despite our numerous efforts over many years, to say no to the war against its own citizens in southern and southeastern Ukraine and its policy of total discrimination against Russian-speaking Ukrainians, who are still the majority in that country.

The Zelensky regime did this in violation of not only the Minsk agreements approved by the UN Security Council, but also of the elementary principles of civilised society and in flagrant violation of fundamental human rights, including the rights of ethnic minorities that are enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine. The Western curators of the Kiev regime, who were behind the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev ten years ago, not only failed to rein in the leaders of the Kiev clique during all this time, but also took advantage of the Minsk Package of Measures to arm Ukraine and to prepare it for war against Russia. We know this for a fact from the confessions of the individuals who were directly involved in this, who drafted and signed the Minsk agreements and submitted them to the UN Security Council for approval.

The reason for the West’s cynical and criminal behaviour is obvious. Washington and other capitals have recently been clear that the West is waging a war with Russia, which must be “put in its place” by the hands of the Ukrainians without losing the lives of its own soldiers. President Biden even called this situation a great investment. Similar thoughts have been expressed by other US officials and their counterparts in the UK.

In the attempts to get their opponents in Congress to agree to a new aid package for Ukraine, the representatives of the current administration sound even more cynical. From their speeches we have learned, in particular, that 90 percent of the military budget allocated by the Americans to the Kiev regime remains in the United States and is used to expand the country’s defence sector and to upgrade weapons. The obsolete equipment is sent to Ukraine. Most major Ukrainian plants and companies, including lithium facilities, have been sold to the Americans. Fertile land has been leased to them on an indefinite lease for very little. One of the striking examples is the acquisition by Soros-controlled entities of black earth soils to bury the waste of the Western chemical industry. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasises that continued aid to Ukraine guarantees the creation of new jobs in the United States as if he is talking not about financing a war which has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Ukraine, but a lucrative business project.

It is surely time for Europeans – I am addressing sane Europeans – to wake up and understand that with the help of Vladimir Zelensky’s regime, the United States is not only waging a war against Russia, but also pursuing the strategic objective of sharply weakening Europe as an economic rival. Washington has undermined the EU’s energy security, thus provoking dangerous crises in the European economy and social sector. I will not focus on the terrorist attack on the Nord Stream pipelines. The United States kills any attempt to carry out an honest international investigation, and the current European leaders, primarily in Germany, submissively remain silent, reconciled to the public humiliation.

At the same time, the majority of EU members continue to obediently follow Washington’s orders to supply more and more arms to Kiev, depleting their arsenals, which, of course, will be replenished with products purchased from the US defence industry. Europeans will be forced to come up with the money for this.

The merchants of death are completely unbothered by the fact that their weapons, including cluster munitions and depleted uranium shells, methodically, mercilessly, deliberately and intentionally hit civilian targets, as was the case during attacks on the residential areas of Belgorod on December 30, 2023, and yesterday, on January 21, on the markets and shops of Donetsk. The blood of dozens of dead civilians is on the hands and conscience of those who arm the regime of Vladimir Zelensky while at the same time officially declaring that the Kiev authorities have the right to choose targets for strikes. We remember how the Anglo-Saxons bombed Dresden in February 1945 without the least military necessity, and how they razed Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa to the ground not that long ago. Now they have nurtured “worthy successors” to continue their barbaric terrorist methods.

The years of recklessly pumping Vladimir Zelensky’s completely corrupt regime full of weapons has one more dangerous dimension. In a bid to profit as much as possible off the conflict, officials in Kiev are simply reselling part of the weapons supplied by the West on the black market. There are plenty of such offers on the darknet. It is hard to imagine that this is happening without the knowledge and participation of Western dealers because “one hand washes the other.” One of the latest examples are the American M-16 rifles given to Kiev. Whoever wants can buy them with crypto currency through an ad posted on the internet. Terrorist groups are certainly exploiting this situation. Weapons are getting into their hands and spreading throughout Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. This is further destabilising the already unstable regions of the world.

This scandalous state of affairs has reached a scale at which it is no longer possible to hush up. Even the United States had to officially acknowledge the problem. According to a recent Pentagon report, over $1 billion (and I am sure this is a conservative estimate) in weapons intended for the Armed Forces of Ukraine were siphoned off. There was simply “no time to inventory” 40,000 units of arms, including drones and grenade launchers, so none was performed. As I understand, American inspectors have now gone to Kiev to see for themselves what is happening on the ground. We wish them success.

Mr Chairman,

We have heard more than once and will probably hear from our Western colleagues today an underhanded argument that boils down to the following: “If Russia stops fighting, the war will end but if Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine will end.” Officials at the highest levels of the US government have even gone so far as to say that next Russia will attack Poland, the Baltic states and Finland. They will say anything to squeeze more money out of Congress and European parliaments and persuade them of the need to continue endlessly helping Ukraine to the last dollar and euro, to the detriment of their own citizens. When they demand that Russia end its special military operation, they know full well that having licked its wounds, the Kiev regime would resume its efforts to annihilate everything Russian and the centuries-old Russian cultural, historical and religious identity that exists in that land. The Zelensky regime would continue promoting the same rabid misanthropic nationalism that is foreign to the majority of the population and glorifying those who exterminated hundreds of thousands of Jews, Roma, Russians, Poles and Ukrainians in collaboration with the Nazis during the years of World War II. The dictatorship would be strengthened, the war on the opposition and any dissent would continue, and the ranks of political prisoners would swell.

In the meantime, Western democracies would go on pretending to look away in horror, though actually in silent approval. Just like they are doing now, even after American citizen Gonzalo Lira was tortured to death behind bars by the Security Service of Ukraine for publishing objective articles that were critical of the Zelensky regime. Has anyone in the West, especially in the US (I am referring to officials) said anything about this? No. Today, Western delegations and representatives of the Kiev regime are unlikely to muster the courage to comment at least in some way on the latest heinous crime of Zelensky and his clique. Instead, we are again hearing voices talking about “Russian aggression” and assurances of invariable support for the Kiev regime. The falsity and cowardice of its patrons were graphically illustrated by the despicable staging of the crime in Bucha in April 2022. Our numerous demands to provide at least the names of those who were supposedly killed by Russian military have remained unanswered. I have personally spoken with the UN Secretary-General on this issue but to no avail. Judging by everything, he is simply not allowed even to try to establish the truth, as it would expose the Western puppeteers.

In fact, what will happen if Ukraine stops fighting? Hundreds of thousands of people who are being pursued by the Kiev authorities like cattle in the streets, in bars, or churches and sent to die as cannon fodder for Western geopolitical interests and what they call “democratic values,” will undoubtedly survive. Ukrainian people did not have any interest in waging a war against Russia, and do not have it now. The interests at play are those of the Anglo-Saxons, their accomplices, and the criminal, rotten upper echelons of Kiev who share joint responsibility with the West. They are afraid that they will be swept away the day after the war ends. Together, they sabotaged the implementation of the Minsk agreements and destroyed the chance for peace in April 2022, when the US and the UK prohibited Kiev from signing a peace agreement [with Russia]. They still don’t want peace today, even though the Kiev regime survives solely on Western handouts. This is acknowledged by their talking heads.

The majority of people in Ukraine are beginning to realise who their real enemy is and who has been misleading them for years by demonising Russia, spreading lies about it, and “cancelling” our shared history.

There are changes in attitude among Ukrainians, as can be clearly seen on social media.  Despite heavy censorship, true information about life in Crimea and other territories that have recently reunited with Russia is getting through. Contrary to Kiev’s propaganda predictions, Russians, Ukrainians, and other ethnic groups live in peace and harmony there.  The new authorities address people’s problems, improve their lives, and develop infrastructure, instead of thinking about lining their own pockets. The contrast is so stark and undeniable that Ukraine and the West are trying to suppress this information, this truth, using all means at their disposal. It is extremely dangerous for them because it reveals how Russians and Ukrainians can and should live when the West is prevented from meddling in the relationship between the two fraternal peoples and pitting them against each other using its old colonial playbook.

And it is in this way, as befits brothers and good neighbours, that they will live once Russia achieves the objectives of the special military operation, whether it be through military means or peaceful resolution.

Let me remind you that we have never renounced peaceful methods and have always been ready for negotiations. However, these talks should focus on how to overcome the destructive legacy of the past decade, which was dedicated to pillaging Ukraine and inflicting violence on its people. The talks should be about eliminating the root causes of the Ukrainian tragedy, rather than keeping the heads of the Ukrainian regime in power or indulging their delusions.  All other so-called peace plans, platforms and “formulas” that the Kiev regime and its masters are still futilely pursuing have no connection to peace whatsoever and only serve as a cover for the effort to perpetuate the war and bleed Western taxpayers for money. Unfortunately, the UN Secretariat is risking its reputation by participating in the utterly surreal “Copenhagen format.”

All these “formulas” lead nowhere. The sooner Washington, London, Paris and Brussels realise this, the better it will be for Ukraine and the West, whose crusade against Russia has already exposed evident reputational and existential risks. I suggest they listen carefully to this, while there is still time.

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