Russian foreign minister says new phase of Ukraine operation beginning

NEWS 19.04.2022 17:18
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Source: Sergej Lavrov (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that a new phase of the fighting in Ukraine has started, and it will be "a very important moment of this entire special operation."

“This operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed as it was announced from the very beginning to fully liberate the Donetsk and Luhansk republics,” Lavrov said in an exclusive video interview to India Today. “Another stage of this operation is beginning and I'm sure this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation.”

When asked repeatedly if Russia plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Lavrov said those allegations are coming from the Ukrainian side and specifically Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and that Russia historically has been against the use of nuclear weapons.

“We never mentioned about this,” Lavrov said, referencing comments made by Zelensky alleging Russia may use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

When asked the same question again, Lavrov said: “When the Soviet Union and the US in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan decided that they have a special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed a solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.

Responding to a question about civilian deaths in Ukraine and holding Russian military forces accountable for possible violations, Lavrov said, “We have our law, which prohibits the military to do anything which is not allowed under international humanitarian law,” adding “Any violations are absolutely registered and investigated.”

He also said reports about atrocities committed by Russian forces in Bucha are “staged and played.”

When asked about what exactly happed to the Russian cruiser Moskva, Lavrov directed the answer to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

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