Liberation of Donbas ‘unconditional priority’ for Moscow, says FM Lavrov

  May 30, 2022   News ID 6674
Liberation of Donbas ‘unconditional priority’ for Moscow, says FM Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called the liberation of Ukraine's breakaway Donbas region an “unconditional priority” for Moscow, while other Ukrainian territories should decide their future.

The top Russian diplomat made the remarks in an interview with French television on Sunday as Russia scaled up its military operation to seize control of key towns in Donbas.

“The liberation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, recognized by the Russian Federation as independent states, is an unconditional priority,” Lavrov said, according to a text released by his ministry.

For other territories, he added, they will not be willing to “return to the authority of a neo-Nazi regime that has proven it is Russophobic in essence”, and “must decide for themselves.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s intentions of its ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, which is to “denazify” and demilitarize its neighbor after waves of NATO’s eastward expansion.

According to Lavrov, Russia’s military operation became “inevitable” after Western governments ignored Russia’s warnings about Ukraine’s military attacks on its Russian-speaking citizens.

His remarks came after the two sides exchanged intense fire in the east Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk as Russian soldiers attempted to gain a strategic foothold to conquer the region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was paying a rare frontline visit to Kharkiv, depicted the situation as “indescribably difficult,” with a relentless Russian artillery barrage destroying critical infrastructure and damaging 90 percent of the buildings.

Zelensky claimed that Russians don’t care about casualties in their attacks. However, Lavrov hit back saying that Russian soldiers were “under strict orders categorically to avoid attacks and strikes on civilian infrastructure.”

Sievierodonetsk is a strategic city located 143 kilometers south of the Russian border, which has emerged as the epicenter of Moscow’s quest to capture Ukraine’s entire eastern industrial Donbas region.