‘Russia does not consider itself to be at war with NATO, but NATO does,’ Lavrov


Lavrov said the problem with humanitarian corridors is that “they are being ignored by Ukrainian ultranationalists”
Moscow does not consider itself to be at war with NATO, but NATO does, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told Al-Arabiya in an exclusive interview.
He brushed aside UN chief Antonio Guterres’ proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians, saying: “There is no need for anybody to provide help to open humanitarian corridors. There is only one problem … humanitarian corridors are being ignored by Ukrainian ultranationalists.
“We appreciate the interest of the secretary-general to be helpful … (We have) explained … what is the mechanism for them to monitor how the humanitarian corridors are announced.”
Asked about the risks of war spilling into Moldova after a series of explosions rattled a breakaway border region within the country, Lavrov said: “Moldova should worry about its own future … because they are being pulled into NATO.”
In an hour-long interview with Talal Al-Haj, Al-Arabiya news channel’s New York/UN bureau chief, which aired on Friday night, Lavrov offered the Russian government’s perspective of the Ukraine conflict, which is now into its third month, having already claimed tens of thousands of lives, civilians as well as soldiers, on both sides.
“Unfortunately, NATO, it seems, considers itself to be at war with Russia,” he said. “NATO and EU leaders, many of them, in England, in the US, Poland, France, Germany and of course EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell, they bluntly, publicly and consistently say, ‘Putin must fail, Russia must be defeated.’ When you use this terminology, I believe you think that you are at war with the person who you want to be defeated.”
The Russian government has said its “special military operation” in Ukraine is aimed at protecting Russia’s security and that of Russian-speaking people in the eastern Donbas region. Western nations have accused Russia of invading a sovereign country and of committing war crimes.
Since the invasion began on February 24, the US, UK and EU have sanctioned more than 1,000 Russian individuals and businesses and wealthy businessmen, with the US banning all Russian oil and gas imports.
The financial measures are designed to damage Russia’s economy and penalize President Vladimir Putin, high-ranking officials, and people who have benefited from his rule.
Lavrov said: “To believe that this latest outrage and the wave of sanctions, which eventually showed the real face of West which, as far as I now understand, has always been Russian-phobic, to believe that this latest wave of sanctions is going to make Russia cry uncle and to beg for being pardoned, those planners are lousy and of course they don’t know anything about foreign policy of Russia and they don’t know anything about how to deal with Russia.”