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Russian top brass confirms Mariupol seaport cleared of mines and back in business

Russian top brass confirms Mariupol seaport cleared of mines and back in business

 

Dhaka May 26 2022 :

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News digest by Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on May 26 2022. 

 

INSIDE RUSSIA

 

Putin to speak at Eurasian Economic Forum on May 26 — Kremlin

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the plenary session of the Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek on May 26 via a videoconference link, the Kremlin’s press service said on Wednesday.

“On May 26, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin will speak in the remote mode at the plenary session of the first Eurasian Economic Forum on the topic of “Eurasian economic integration in the epoch of global changes. New investment activity opportunities,” the press service said.

The Russian leader will also take part in the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council chaired by Kyrgyzstan on May 27 in the videoconference format, the Kremlin added.

“Current aspects of operations of the Eurasian Economic Union, including strategic lines of integration development by 2025,” will be discussed there, the press service said. “Guidelines of the macroeconomic policy of Union member-states are to be approved. It is also meant to discuss matters of developing the EAEU trade and economic cooperation with foreign partners,” the Kremlin noted.

 

Putin eases Russian citizenship requirements for residents of Zaporozhye, Kherson Regions

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree relaxing rules for granting Russian citizenship to residents of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye and Kherson Region, according to the document published on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday.

The amendments are added to the decree that previously introduced a similar procedure for residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). Henceforth, the document reads as follows, “citizens of Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic who permanently reside in the DPR, the LPR, the Zaporozhye Region of Ukraine or the Kherson Region of Ukraine <…> enjoy the right to apply for citizenship of the Russian Federation under a simplified procedure in conformity with Part 8 of Article 14 of Federal Law № 62-FZ ‘On Citizenship of the Russian Federation’ of May 31, 2002.”

The article in the federal law cited in the decree says that foreigners can apply for citizenship in a simplified procedure, so they will be exempt from the requirements to live in Russia for five years, have a source of income and pass an exam in the Russian language.

Those applying for citizenship should be considered and either approved or refused within three months since the application is submitted and the required papers are presented.

More relaxed requirements for Russian citizenship were introduced by Putin’s decree in 2019 for residents of the DPR and LPR (when they were separate areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and after the republics’ independence was recognized by Russia, the decree was updated). The document stipulates that it was signed “to protect the rights and freedoms of each individual and citizen, proceeding from the generally recognized principles and norms of international law” and in accordance with the Law ‘On Citizenship of the Russian Federation.’

The new decree on residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of Ukraine was signed on May 25 and took effect on the same day.

 

Russia backs China’s proposal on BRICS enlargement, says diplomat

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Russia welcomes China’s proposition to enlarge the alliance of Brazil, Russia, India and China, known as BRICS, but believes it too early to name new possible members, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

China, which is presiding over BRICS this year, “has suggested we step up this effort, and we support this initiative,” Zakharova told a news briefing.

“The problem is not that simple” though, the diplomat added. “A consensus on standards and criteria, and the entry procedure” needs to be achieved within BRICS, Zakharova noted, adding that it was too earlier to divulge any details.

 

Putin visits wounded Russian servicemen in military hospital in Moscow

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Mandryk Central Military Clinical Hospital in Moscow on Wednesday, where he checked on Russian servicemen wounded in the special military operation in Ukraine.

Putin was accompanied by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. Footage of the visit was published on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel. It shows the president and the minister entering one of the wards in medical gowns. They talked to the servicemen undergoing treatment.

Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president “constantly takes interest in and keeps under his control the topic of conditions provided for those wounded in the course of the special military operation.” Peskov also pointed out that now the president’s schedule “made it possible for him to personally go and familiarize himself [with the conditions] and, most importantly, to talk to [Russian] servicemen.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.

 

Russia will pay debt in rubles due to US refusal to renew license — Finance Ministry

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Russia will continue to fulfill its obligations on external public debt, despite the refusal of the US Treasury to renew the license for servicing it, payments will be made in rubles, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Finance Ministry, as a responsible borrower, confirms its readiness to continue servicing and repaying all debt obligations. Taking into account that the refusal to renew the specified license makes it impossible to continue servicing the state external debt in US dollars, payments will be made in the currency of the Russian Federation with the possibility of their subsequent conversion into the original currency of the obligation through NCO JSC National Settlement Depository as a paying agent,” the ministry explains.

According to the ministry, the refusal to renew the license infringes on the rights of foreign investors and undermines confidence in Western financial infrastructure.

“Now we have money, and the willingness to pay is also there. This artificially created situation by an unfriendly country will not affect the quality of life of Russians,” Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said as quoted by the ministry press service.

According to the Finance Ministry, payments to holders of Russian Eurobonds within the Russian accounting infrastructure will be made to their accounts with National Settlement Depository (JSC NSD).

“Payments to holders of Eurobonds of the Russian Federation using foreign financial intermediaries will be made to type “C” accounts of these financial intermediaries in accordance with the provisions of Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated March 5, 2022 No. 95 “On the temporary procedure for fulfilling obligations to foreign creditors” with the possibility to restore access to these funds for investors who have provided JSC NSD with documents proving their rights to receive the relevant payments,” the ministry explains.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury did not extend the term of the general license allowing Russia to make payments to service its external debt, it expired on May 25 at 07:01 Moscow time. This license excluded payments for servicing a part of Russia’s sovereign debt from anti-Russian sanctions. The term of its validity was originally set until May 25, but there was an option to extend it.

Public debt payments

On May 20, Russia’s Finance Ministry announced that it had fully fulfilled its obligations to pay coupon income on Eurobonds maturing in 2026 in the amount of $71.25 mln, as well as with redemption in 2036 in the amount of 26.5 mln euros.

In late April, the Finance Ministry announced that it had made payments on Eurobonds Russia-2022 and Russia-2024 in dollars. Earlier, Russia was forced to make a payment in rubles after its correspondent bank blocked dollar funds in early April. As the head of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, said, the Finance Ministry has all the resources to fulfill its obligations and any default is ruled out.

According to the Russian Finance Ministry, as of April 1, 2022, the country’s external public debt amounted to $57.143 billion, including $37.26 billion of debt on external bonded loans. In total, Russia has 15 active bonded loans with maturities from 2022 to 2047.

Payments in rubles

In response to the sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 5 allowed to pay foreign currency debts to “unfriendly” countries in rubles. According to the decree, debtor companies or the state itself can open an account in Russian banks in the name of a foreign creditor and transfer payments to it in rubles at exchange rate of the Bank of Russia on the day of payment. Creditors from countries that have not imposed sanctions can receive payment in euros or dollars if the Russian debtor receives special permission for it.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

Tehran hands over to Moscow draft agreement on strategic cooperation for 20 years — Raisi

MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. The Iranian side has handed over to Moscow a draft agreement on strategic cooperation for a 20-year period, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Wednesday following talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

“We handed over to our Russian colleagues a document on strategic cooperation between our countries which can determine prospects for at least 20 years,” he said. According to the Iranian president, “the current level of trade and economic relations [between Iran and Russia] is not satisfactory.” “We can increase the level of our trade and economic cooperation by several times,” he added.

Raisi also noted “the very good experience of cooperation between Iran and Russia in Syria in combating terrorism.” “This experience can create the prerequisites for its expansion and exploitation in other fields. In the present circumstances, it is possible to develop cooperation in the fields of economy, politics, culture, science, technology, defense, and military spheres, as well as security and space issues,” the Iranian president pointed out.

“We would like our relations with Russia to be strengthened and comprehensive. These relations won’t be short-term or positional but long-term and strategic,” the Iranian head of state noted. In addition, he thanked his Russian counterpart “for facilitating Tehran’s entry into the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization)”.

On January 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Moscow on his official visit. The meeting with Putin was the first since the Iranian politician took office. On January 20, Raisi is expected to speak at Russia’s State Duma and at the Moscow Cathedral Mosque.

 

Soros says ‘defeat Putin ASAP to preserve our civilization’

George Soros told WEF a quick victory over Russia is needed to save open society and civilization itself

Unless Moscow is defeated in Ukraine quickly, the collective West won’t be able to address climate change in time to save civilization, billionaire financier George Soros told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. He also called Russia and China the greatest threats to his concept of open society.

Russia sending troops into Ukraine “may have been the beginning of the Third World War and our civilization may not survive it,” Soros told the WEF, and even when the fighting there stops, “the situation will never revert to what it was before.”

In his telling the “invasion” came amid a struggle between “two systems of governance that are diametrically opposed to each other: open society and closed society,” the former embodied by the West and the latter by Russia and China.

Soros, 91, reminisced about the “exciting days” of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, when his wealth increased to the point where he could spend $300 million a year in 1987, and his foundations in Eastern Europe “turned out to be more successful than I expected.”

He argued that the tide began to turn after the 9/11 attacks of 2001, and “repressive regimes are now in the ascendant and open societies are under siege,” with China and Russia representing “the greatest threat.”

Soros was optimistic about how that fight was going, however. According to him, Russian troops expected to be greeted as liberators and emerge victorious within days or weeks, but Ukraine was able to “defeat” them with the help of the US and NATO. Meanwhile, he claimed that Chinese leader Xi Jinping has damaged his legitimacy with Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere.

What had Soros really worried, however, was that the conflict in Ukraine interfered with the environmental agenda, meaning that climate change might become irreversible.

“That could be the end of our civilization,” he said, insisting that “we must mobilize all our resources to bring the war to an early end.”

“The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible,” he added.

On Monday, former US top diplomat Henry Kissinger urged the WEF to broker a peace in Ukraine in the next two months, before Russia is driven into “a permanent alliance with China” that would destabilize Europe.

“Russia has for 400 years been an essential part of Europe,” noted the 98-year-old Kissinger, warning those who seek Moscow’s “defeat.”

 

RT & Sputnik Ban: EU Turned Into NATO Branch, Limits Public’s Access to Information, Activists Say

The Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ), along with several other organisations, has filed a petition with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg seeking to unblock Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik.

“I welcome this initiative and would like to see even more human rights organisations take a strong stand in favour of freedom of information and challenge the EU’s ban on RT and Sputnik”, says Taylor Hudak, journalist and editor at AcTVism Munich. “The public is not free and informed if entities like the EU ban news organisations it does not like simply because those organisations provide a different perspective”.

In early March, the European Union suspended the broadcasting of several Russian media outlets as part of the sanctions over Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, which was launched on 24 February. Sputnik, RT, and their subsidiaries came under the ban. Simultaneously, Meta*, Twitter, and some other Big Tech giants suspended Sputnik and RT’s accounts and content on their platforms across the EU.

A Dutch coalition of press- and Internet freedom advocates, which includes the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) and civil rights organisation Bits of Freedom, signalled this week that it would challenge the EU’s decision. “This was a political decision, without judicial review”, argues Rejo Zenger of Bits of Freedom. “The decision to make information inaccessible should not rest with our heads of government but with independent judges”.

“As a member of the European Federation of Journalists, I find it extremely reassuring to learn that the Dutch journalists’ union intends to take decisive action against the European undermining of free speech and defend media diversity on an international scale”, says Andy Vermaut, a Belgian human rights activist from the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Liberties (AIDL). “Indeed, it is inexcusable that we condemn the suppression of freedom of expression everywhere in the world but fail to defend the values that we ourselves promote”.

According to Vermaut, Europe must set an example and adhere to the fundamental rights outlined in the Treaty of Lisbon of 2007, which expresses the three fundamental principles of democratic equality, representative democracy, and participatory democracy.

“There is no way that the EU will begin to prohibit everything that does not comply with their agenda”, the activist emphasises, insisting that “the international federation union of journalists should also join this cause, as it is crucial that we all fight for our fundamental basic rights”.

Press Freedom & Russia’s Ukraine Op

Freedom of information is becoming something of the past, according to Taylor Hudak. She bemoans the fact that Western governments within Europe are “taking draconian policies to limit the public’s access to information”.

What’s worse, Western news networks are at the same time spreading uncorroborated information, sheer disinformation, and fake news, according to the AcTVism Munich editor.

“For example, the attempts to depict Ukrainian President [Volodymyr] Zelensky as a hero and the Azov Battalion as freedom fighters, when they have a deep-rooted affiliation with Nazism, is just the latest example of fake news coming from Western media”, Hudak highlights.

This happens because the EU has become nothing short of the “political branch of NATO,” according to her. As a result, a majority of EU member states’ governments have taken up the foreign policy interests of Washington and not their own people by placing sanctions on Russia and censoring the media, she says.

“I think the efforts to ban and censor RT and Sputnik were politically motivated decisions to control the narrative and thus control the public”, argues Hudak. “When the diversity of information the public has access to becomes more concentrated, the public will be easier to control. I think the EU and NATO-aligned countries, including the US, are fearful of the information that RT and Sputnik provide because these outlets have reported accurately on the special military operation in Ukraine”.

Hudak believes that if a majority of Americans and EU citizens knew the truth about Ukraine and how the Ukrainian government has been shelling the region of Donbass for the past eight years, “they would certainly not support military aid to Ukraine nor would they support sanctions on Russia”.

*Meta is banned in Russia over extremist activities.

 

Russian Envoy to UN Says US Expanding Its Smuggling Trade of Syria’s Oil, Grain

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – The United States is expanding its smuggling trade of oil and grain from Syria, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said on Tuesday.

“Establishing fully fledged peace and stability in the country is hindered by the illegal occupation by the United States,” Nebenzia said. “The occupying power blatantly plundered natural and agricultural resources that belong to the people of Syria. The US is expanding its smuggling trade of oil and grain.”

On 9 May, the sixth European Union Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region kicked off in Brussels. The EU said the goal of the gathering is to harness international support for Syrians who continue to face dire humanitarian crisis in their country and abroad. A core pledging event took place on 10 May during the EU ministerial meeting.

An estimated 14 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, including the 5.6 million Syrians in neighbouring countries, as well as 6.9 million internally displaced people, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

Russian top brass confirms Mariupol seaport cleared of mines and back in business

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. The port of Mariupol has been completely cleared of mines and has fully returned to its normal operations, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

“Measures to clear mines and to demilitarize the seaport of Mariupol – liberated from Ukrainian militants – in the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR], have been completed and the port has gone back to its regular operational activities,” he informed.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday that specialists from the Black Sea Fleet and field engineers had wrapped up their work to clear the Mariupol seaport zone of mines. Over 12,000 explosive devices and weapons abandoned by Ukrainian militants were uncovered and immobilized.

Russian personnel have also cleared approach canals and internal water areas of sunken vessels and other navigational obstacles, in addition to demilitarizing the port. Russia’s field engineers have also thoroughly demined the coastline of the Sea of Azov adjacent to the Mariupol seaport.

Russia’s military operation in Donbass

The situation at the line of engagement in Donbass escalated on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian military in recent months, which damaged civilian infrastructure and caused civilian casualties.

On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.

Russian President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.

 

‘Crimes Won’t Go Unpunished’: Azovstal Fighters Who Engaged in War Crimes Will Be Prosecuted: Moscow

The territory of Azovstal – a massive Soviet-built metal and steelworks in the Azov Sea coastal city of Mariupol, was completely cleared of Ukrainian Army troops, neo-Nazi battalion fighters, and foreign mercenaries at the end of last week, with its remaining defenders surrendering to Russian and Donbass militia forces.

Fighters from the Azovstal plant who are proven to have engaged in war crimes will face legal consequences for their actions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has indicated.

“Crimes will not go unpunished. The leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic plans to create an international tribunal on the territory of the republic to try nationalists from Azovstal. Its charter is currently being worked on. We welcome this initiative”, Zakharova said in a briefing Wednesday.

On Tuesday, DPR head Denis Pushilin said that Donetsk’s “main task for the tribunal” was for it “to be held with maximum publicity, for it to be as transparent as possible. It is very important that as many people as possible are made aware of the unacceptable war crimes of the neo-Nazis”.

Pushilin indicated that the tribunal’s charter was being created by relevant government departments, including the DPR prosecutor general’s office, and that Russian officials were providing assistance in the matter.

The Russian military announced last Friday that the territory of Azovstal had been completely liberated, and that some 2,439 fighters from the Ukrainian Army and the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment surrendered over the preceding four days, on top of hundreds more who laid down their arms in the days and weeks prior.

Thousands of fighters, including crack troops from Ukraine’s elite 35th Marine Brigade, the Azov Regiment, and foreign mercenaries, were trapped in Mariupol in early March as Russian and DPR forces encircled the city in dual offensives from the east and southwest. In late April, after weeks of bitter house-to-house fighting which left much of the city in ruins, Ukrainian forces retreated into Azovstal, a massive 11 square km steel complex, where neo-Nazi commanders promised to make a dramatic last stand.

The authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and their counterparts in Russia have spent reams of paper and gallons of ink recording suspected war crimes by the Ukrainian military and neo-Nazi militias, not just since the start of Russia’s military operation earlier this year, but going back to early 2014, when Ukraine kicked off its “anti-terrorist operation” against Donbass in the aftermath of the February 2014 Western-backed coup in Kiev. The alleged war crimes include everything from the deliberate shelling of civilian areas to the operation of undisclosed prisons where Donbass civilians and militia fighters were systematically abused and tortured.

 

Ukrainian weapons grade nuclear materials prompt alarm

The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant stores tons of enriched uranium and plutonium, the IAEA director said

The UN’s nuclear watchdog is worried that fissile materials that could potentially be used to produce a nuclear weapon may go missing in Ukraine. The nightmare scenario was shared on Wednesday by Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Grossi sounded the alarm over the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in the south of the country, which was captured by Russian troops in February, but is operated by Ukrainian nuclear specialists. The IAEA is concerned about the challenges it faces in monitoring Europe’s largest civilian nuclear site due to the ongoing conflict, he said.

“Six nuclear reactors, 30,000 kilograms of plutonium, 40,000 kilograms of enriched uranium. And my inspectors do not have access to that,” he said, describing the situation, which he called “unprecedented” and “unsustainable.”

The biggest concern, he added, is that when inspectors are eventually able to take inventory of the stock, “we end up finding out that there are a few hundred kilograms of nuclear weapon-grade material going missing. This is what keeps us awake at night at the moment.”

Commercial nuclear power plants generate plutonium from uranium isotopes as part of the normal operation. Both fuel rods in the reactor core and spent fuel rods contain some of the fissile material. According to various estimates, a ton of spent fuel may contain up to 10kg of plutonium. Theoretically, it can be extracted at a reprocessing plant and used in a nuclear device by a party possessing the necessary technology.

Responding to media coverage of Grossi’s words, Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator rushed to explain that the IAEA chief did not reveal some previously undeclared stockpile of ready-to-be-weaponized materials in Kiev’s possession.

Energoatom accused Wall Street Journal correspondent Laurence Norman of making false statements about the issue, without clarifying which. The journalist tweeted that the amount of nuclear fuel disclosed by Grossi was “striking” and reported that the agency wanted “to be sure no stocks [had] gone missing.”

Striking numbers from @rafaelmgrossi on nuclear fuel stocks at Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine, where he said @iaeaorg seeking access. Grossi said the site contains 30,000 kilograms of plutonium and 40,000 kilograms of enriched uranium. Agency wants to be sure no stocks gone missing.

— laurence norman (@laurnorman) May 25, 2022

Among the reasons that Moscow listed to justify its attack against Ukraine were statements made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the Munich Security Council in mid-February, when he lamented Ukraine’s consent to relinquishing the nuclear weapons that the USSR had maintained on its territory, and indicated that his country may seek to become a nuclear power. Russia said it could not afford the luxury of dismissing his speech as mere rhetoric, considering Kiev’s hostility and nuclear expertise.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russia won’t just ‘grasp’ any proposal on Ukraine – Moscow

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Italy’s peace settlement plan for Ukraine an example of “armchair theorizing”

Those who think Russia “will grasp any Western proposal” for a peace settlement do not understand anything about the current situation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday, commenting on reports of an Italian plan to end the fighting.

The existence of the proposal was revealed by the newspaper La Repubblica last week, regarding Moscow’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine. The four-step roadmap to peace reportedly includes a ceasefire, the demilitarization of the frontline in Ukraine, a diplomatic settlement of the status of Crimea and the Donbass republics, and an overarching agreement on security in Europe.

During a press briefing, Zakharova said, “it is impossible to believe,” but Moscow has so far not received any proposals from Rome.

Therefore, she could only discuss the media reports about the supposed plan.

Looking at these reports, she added, the proposals seem “so divorced from reality that it is difficult to take them seriously.”

“It is a curious idea that Moscow could be interested in peace initiatives that prioritize the logic of further tightening sanctions against the Russian Federation and continuing military support for the Kiev regime.”

Describing the reported proposals as an example of “armchair theorizing,” she said, “it is impossible to supply neo-Nazis in Ukraine with weapons with one hand, and come up with plans to save the situation with the other hand.”

The alleged Italian proposals, Zakharova claimed, show a lack of understanding of the “real events in Ukraine.”

“But, perhaps, they assume that the Russian side will grab any Western proposal, no matter how absurd it may be. But in this case, they basically do not understand anything at all about the current situation,” she added.

However, she noted that the appearance of proposals such as this could show that Rome is perhaps “beginning to think about the depressing consequences of the military psychosis that was caused by the reaction of the West to the special military operation of Russia in Ukraine” – and the supposed plan could be an attempt “to offer some alternatives to the current escalation, which threatens to develop into a full-scale military conflict between Russia and NATO.”

Zakharova said Russia will officially respond to Italy’s proposals if they are sent to Moscow, “after many days of pure PR in the media space.”

Her remarks came one day after the deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said that “any peace proposal built purely in the interest of NATO and the Western world order should simply be ignored.”

“Or rather, their authors should be told to go in a certain direction,” Medvedev said.

According to La Repubblica, the Italian government shared its proposals with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and leading Western powers.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed that Italy had shared “its vision” with Kiev and that the government was studying it. However, Ukraine reiterated that it would not agree to any settlement that does not respect its pre-2014 borders, casting doubt on the plan’s viability.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.

Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russian diplomat warns Poland hatching ‘mission creep’ scheme into Ukraine

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Recent developments indicate that Warsaw is seeking to mount a “mission creep” scheme into Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday.

“It cannot be ruled out that Warsaw is, of course, hatching plans for some sort of mission creep into the territory of the neighboring state. In any case, the fact speaks for themselves. In this instance, the reference to Russia’s special military operation is nothing more than a pretext,” she noted.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) that an agreement had been struck with Poland to relax border crossing rules for both countries. He added that the current situation “has involuntarily made Ukraine and Poland forget the disputes about their shared past.” Zelensky had announced earlier that a bill on expanded opportunities for Polish citizens in Ukraine would be adopted.

Meanwhile, Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel that by proclaiming the special status of Polish citizens in Ukraine, the Kiev regime would grant them rights within Ukraine, thus de facto formalizing the country’s takeover.

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