Lavrov blamed the West for the war in Ukraine: "They've been planning it for years"
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday blamed the West for the ongoing war in Ukraine and said that they had been "planning for many years."
Responding to a draft declaration by leaders of the G20, he said, "Indeed, there's a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war that the West unleashed and had been planning for many years now from the time it supported the power grab in the wake of the coup by openly racist neo-Nazi forces. Since then, NATO has been intensively developing Ukrainian territory, conducting military exercises and supplying weapons. You are aware of what happened next: the sabotage of the Minsk agreements and early phases of preparations for a military operation against Donbas." Lavrov said that Western countries had tried to "politicize" a joint declaration at the Group of 20 (G20) summit, accusing them of pushing to include a line condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine on behalf of all participating countries.
"Yes, our Western colleagues tried in every way to make that declaration politicized and tried to push through language that implied condemning the actions of the Russian Federation on behalf of the entire G20, which includes us," Lavrov said.
"But let's do this in a fair way and let's make it clear that, on this topic, we have differences," Lavrov said.
Lavrov, who was representing President Vladimir Putin, left Bali on Wednesday, a day ahead of the scheduled conclusion of the G20 Summit held amid the economic challenges triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war.
Lavrov took the flight home apparently hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy virtually addressed the leaders on Tuesday, repeatedly referring to them as the G19 and calling for the war to end "justly".
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "today's era isn't of war" message to Russian president Vladimir Putin in the backdrop of the Ukraine-Russia conflict has become part of the outcome statement of the G20 joint declaration at Bali in Indonesia.
Modi, in his statement to Putin in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand in September this year in the backdrop of the Ukraine-Russian conflict, had said, "today's era not of war".
"It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and infrastructure in armed conflicts. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible The peaceful resolution of conflicts, and efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue are vital. Today's era must not be of war," according to the G20 joint declaration adopted on Wednesday.
Responding to the US for having succeeded in turning the G20 into an exclusively anti-Russia platform, Lavrov said, "As for Ukraine, the United States and all its allies spoke quite aggressively during the discussions held today, accusing Russia of unprovoked aggression against Ukraine."
"The more often they speak about unprovoked aggression, the more clearly everybody can see that it has been provoked by them, and that it is not an aggression, but an operation to protect the legitimate interests of our country given the military threats against Russia created on its borders. It is an operation to protect the Russian people of Donbas".
Regarding his talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the future of the grain deal, he said, "The conditions are simple. They are all spelled out in the initial agreement, which included two parts approved as a package deal."
Lavrov said that the first part concerns the export of Ukrainian grain that being exported.
"However, after the Ukrainian armed forces used the humanitarian corridor to export grain for military purposes, we suspended this operation. Later, the Ukrainians reaffirmed that they would not do this again."
The second part of the deal was to remove any obstacles to the export of Russian grain.
"Here we must give credit to the UN Secretariat and personally to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for trying as hard as they can. It has been five months, but no practical result has been achieved so far. Antonio Guterres spoke at today's meeting about the promises that he was given by the US and the EU, including by sending them on paper. They constitute certain 'good intentions.' If the promises are fulfilled, the obstacles to the export of our fertilizers and grain will be removed. However, what matters is not what they promise on paper, but how these promises will be translated into practice," said Lavrov.
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