Saturday, October 1

Russia distributes nearly 100,000 passports in Ukraine’s two rebel provinces

Correspondent in Moscow



The American president, Joe Biden, spoke yesterday by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodímir Zelenski, for the second time in less than a month. As he did on December 9, Biden conveyed to Zelensky his support in the fight he maintains with Russia, whose troops in large numbers continue to be deployed along the border with Ukraine in five regions: Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don and Crimea.

According to the White House, the US president also informed the Ukrainian leader of the conversation he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, whom he once again threatened with strong economic measures if he attacks Ukraine. This, in turn, warned that more sanctions will cause the “definitive rupture” of relations between Moscow and Washington.

Putin and Biden spoke last week after having convened their respective representatives for January 10 in Geneva with the aim of negotiating the “security guarantees” demanded by the Russian authorities. The same matter will be discussed on the 12th with NATO and on the 13th with the OSCE.

But, judging by the tone of the interview that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, has conceded to the Russian agency RIA-Nóvosti, published on Friday, the telematic conversation of the presidents of Russia and the United States has not gone down very well in Moscow. Lavrov’s responses to RIA-Nóvosti show a clear distrust of the US and NATO and suggest a hardening of Russia’s position, if a compromise is not reached.

The head of Russian Diplomacy spoke first of the “security guarantees” that his country demands from Washington and the Atlantic Alliance to put an end to the tensions around Ukraine: absolute rejection of Kiev joining NATO, reduction of the allied military apparatus in the Eastern countries and prohibition of the deployment of medium-range missiles and nuclear weapons in Europe.

The content of this “package” of measures, according to the Kremlin, was the main issue that Putin and Biden discussed on Thursday and Lavrov explained to RIA-Novosti that “it is about exclude any further expansion of NATO to the east and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us near the Russian borders, especially from Ukraine. In his words, “our proposals are aimed at creating and legalizing a new system of agreements based on the principle of indivisibility of security and the rejection of attempts to achieve military superiority, something that was unanimously accepted by the leaders of all the Euro-Atlantic states in the 1990s. ‘ The Russian minister stressed that the guarantees “must be legally binding, since our Western colleagues systematically fail to fulfill the commitments made.”

Next, Lavrov warned that “if a constructive response is not given in a reasonable time and the West continues with its aggressive line, Russia will be forced to take all necessary measures to guarantee a strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our security.” . He also pointed out that Russia “will not allow” its initiatives to be buried “in endless discussions.”

An endless war

In the opinion of the Russian Foreign Minister, “the war in Ukraine, which has been going on for the eighth year in a row, is far from over. The authorities of the country will not take measures to resolve the conflict in Donbass on the basis of the Minsk agreements, ”the final draft of which was initialed in February 2015 in the capital of Belarus. Lavrov also accused NATO of “increasing the supply of arms to Ukraine by also sending military instructors there.” In his words, “NATO member states are converting Ukraine in a planned and planned way.n a platform for military action against Russia, installing their bases there and using their territory to carry out maneuvers. “As for the residents of Donbass, where hundreds of thousands of citizens of our country live, Russia will take all necessary measures to protect them,” he added.

The Russian Senator Konstantin KosachiovFor his part, he said on Tuesday that Russia “has the right to use its Armed Forces, if its citizens are attacked abroad.” Earlier, Putin issued a decree introducing a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to residents of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass). According to different calculations, almost 100,000 people received Russian passports through this process.

In his year-end speech, Zelensky said that his main concern is “to end hostilities in Donbass.” Precisely on Saturday, the Ukrainian Army reported the death of one of its soldiers in clashes with pro-Russian separatists in Donbass. Is the first violation of the truce agreed on December 22. So far, all the ceasefire agreements signed between Kiev and the Russian-backed rebels have failed.

On the night of the end of the year, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kulebawrote on Twitter that “Ukraine has been defending itself against the current Russian aggression for almost eight years. And, without being members of NATO, we have been able to defend ourselves. If the West hesitates and opts for appeasement, we will continue to defend our right to exist and to choose our own future.

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