The tensions around Ukraine have been escalating over the past several weeks, as the US and the UK keep flaming up the situation accusing Russia of the alleged “invasion”. Russia has repeatedly denied all the accusations saying it poses no threat to anyone. Amidst the growing tensions, the country’s diplomat warned the West it should not count on provoking Russia for self-defence and calling it an attack afterwards.
The Russian Permanent Representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, stated on Tuesday, February 15, that his country won’t be taking any action against Ukraine unless Kiev provokes a response. This was told by the Russian diplomat in an interview with The Guardian.
“We will not invade Ukraine unless we are provoked to do that […] If the Ukrainians launch an attack against Russia, you shouldn’t be surprised if we counterattack,” he warned.
He also stressed that Moscow won’t allow the “blatant killing of Russian citizens anywhere,” including in Donbass.
According to the diplomat, the number of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, which is usually referred to as a Russian “military buildup”, equals the number of servicemen engaged in the recent Zapad 2021 (“West 2021”) military exercises, which caused no major concerns.
NATO failed to provide Russia with adequate response on security guarantees
The situation around Ukraine has worsened in recent weeks, with NATO constantly accusing Russia of planning an “invasion” of Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied those accusations as fake, saying such claims are just a pretext to deploy more NATO military equipment near the Russian border, as well as to cover Kiev’s aggressive actions in Donbass.
In the security guarantees passed to the NATO alliance by Russia, it was required to avoid making Ukraine a member as it threatens directly the Russian security. The drafters of the NATO response, however, noted that they are not ready for compromises on issues of principle for the alliance, such as the policy of “open doors”.
Chizhov pointed to the fact that the West had a “selective type of memory” about previous commitments on NATO enlargement. He added that the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, had written to EU and NATO countries on February 1 citing the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November 1999 where it was agreed that all were obliged “not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of other states”.
The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, has responded in a letter that the EU is prepared to “continue dialogue with Russia on ways to strengthen the security of all.”
The Russian side found such response “unsatisfactory”, adding that it was also surprising, given that Borrell had not been a recipient of Lavrov’s communication.
“We wanted to sound out each and every country,” Chizhov specified. “Well, they were too timid to reply in their national capacity”.