NEW DELHI, March 3 (PTI): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday hit out at western nations, accusing them of raking up the Ukraine issue during G20 meetings and claiming that nobody “gave a damn” over the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia in previous deliberations of the grouping.
Participating in the Raisina Dialogue here, a combative Lavrov also wondered why everyone was asking Russia whether it was ready to negotiate to end the war when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had signed a decree making negotiations with Moscow under President Vladimir Putin a “criminal offence”.
Lavrov said US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have publicly stated that Russia must be defeated on the battlefield.
“They say Russia must suffer a strategic defeat and this they say is existentialist for the west in the context of global domination. This is a blunt admission,” he said.
Referring to the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Thursday, the Russian minister said the western leaders had raised the Ukraine issue, but wondered whether previous declarations of the grouping ever discussed the situation in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan or Yugoslavia.
“Nobody was giving a damn about anything but finances and macroeconomic policies which the G20 was formed for… when Russia has started to defend itself, there is nothing except Ukraine that is of interest to the G20,” he said.
“It is a shame. If they say it is existentialist for them, it is existentialist for us,” he said, adding that Moscow had been warning the West for decades against the expansion of NATO and pushing arms into Ukraine to prepare them for war against Russia.
Lavrov said the countries in Europe were not affected by what Russia was doing in Ukraine, but by the reaction of the West on Moscow’s actions in the region after ample warnings.
“They do not remember when Serbia was bombed. Joe Biden, a senator at that time, bragged that he promoted that approach. When Iraq was ruined as a state, a few years later Tony Blair said it was a mistake. You think the United States has the right to declare a threat just like they did to other countries, but no one questions it for that,” the minister added.