WORLD. Diana Magnay, a reporter from British Sky News, challenged foreign minister Sergey Lavrov during a press conference in January 2023. The reporter asked what respect Lavrov was showing when Russia sent troops into Ukraine in 2022. Diana Magnay was then lectured by Lavrov on International Law.
Notice that this is not a 100% correct translated speech from Russian to English since it was translated by a simultaneous interpreter and then transcribed by an AI. NewsVoice did some clarifications. Video by: True Info
Diana Magnay: You talked about respect for the UN Charter. What respect for international law were you showing when you sent troops into Ukraine on February the 24th and then they claimed four Ukrainian territories, which you didn’t control then, and you still don’t control now?
Sergey Lavrov: To talk about the respect for the UN Charter, it’s not enough to ask such a simply sold question, maybe for the US regular people, but it requires a bit of a different approach at a more learned audience.
As you know, I started my statement when I mentioned the foundational principle of the UN charter. Sovereign equality of states is a principle that is the basis of the UN as an organization. If you take interest in that, it would take you very little time to read through some kind of literature and to go on the internet and to learn that every day and every hour, the US completely disregards the principle of sovereign equality.
If the US respected the sovereign equality of the states, then after, for example, the situation that happened in Ukraine, Russia has explained why it did it. The US condemned, together with their client states.
If you respect sovereign equality of states, and you must do that, you’re obliged to do that. Let everyone, according to the democratic principle, define their own position, whether they have an understanding with Russia, whether they are for Russia, whether they’re for the US.
No one lets them do that. The United States daily, through their multiple ambassadors and special representatives accumulating themselves, running around the world and demanding that everyone condemns Russia. Is that sovereign equality of states? There is blackmailing.
Someone doesn’t condemn Russia. Don’t forget that you have part of your assets at Manhattan Bank, and your child studies at Stanford. They say that directly, and I think this is humiliating for a great power.
Going back to the UN charter. The UN charter is rather short. If you have an interest in that, you can also read through it. It says that the main thing is the sovereign equality of states, the principle of self-determination of people, as well as the principle of territorial integrity of the state.
And these two principles are mentioned in the UN Charter at the same level, self-determination of peoples and territorial integrity of the state. From the very beginning of the founding of the UN, when the Charter was adopted and ratified, these two principles were a matter of question which has priority.
A special procedure was set up. All UN member states for several years held discussions of this issue, as well as other matters that have to do with the interpretation of the Charter.
The concept was born, and it still is enforced. It was a declaration of the United Nations General Assembly about progressive principles of international law and relations between the countries. It was a special chapter dedicated to self-determination.
And it is said in this chapter that this is a universal principle, that there is also a principle of respect for territorial integrity, and that everyone has to respect that principle of those states. And please listen carefully. Those states whose governments observe the principle of self-determination and give representation to the interests of all peoples living on that territory.
That means that according to the Charter, we respect the territorial integrity of those states whose governments represent the whole population, their whole population of the country.
When in 2014, a coup d’etat happened in Ukraine after Victoria Nuland fed the terrorists with cookies, and when the United States recognized the butchers right away, and Europe, which was completely disregarded, and their guarantees and agreements with the president were completely ignored.
Well, you remember Victoria Nuland gave advice to the US ambassador to Ukraine on how to treat the EU. She said that [a four-letter word], that’s what can be done with the EU.
After that, those who came to power said that they would banish Russians from Crimea, and when Crimea and the east of Ukraine said that they would not submit to those who illegally gained power through bloodshed and a coup d’etat, a war was declared on them and butchers started to fight against their own nation.
48 people were burned alive in Odessa at the Union’s building. There are videos of that. It’s available to everyone. You don’t even need a tribunal to prosecute that. There are even the names of people who shot at the people who were trying to escape the fire and jumped out of the windows. It’s all made public.
The Ukrainian authorities started criminal persecution of those who were burned alive. The world’s progressive public followed the US rules and showed no interest whatsoever in this situation. There were a lot of events that were actually war crimes.
Can we think that those who came to power, that they’re a government that represents the interest of the whole people, of all people of Ukraine in those borders?
Is Poroshenko’s government such a government? When he became the president, following the motto that he would find peace in Donbas in a week. He soon started saying that there were non-people living there that will finish them off. Ukrainians, our children will go to kindergarten schools and universities, and these kids in Donbas, said the president of the country whose Donbas was a part of, will live in cellars, in basements. Did he represent the interests of those people?
If anyone has hopes that Zelensky acts in a different way. He also came into power as a president of peace, and he was given different innuendos in his TV series as the servant of the nation when he toppled Oligarchs and represented real people, regular people; that was his motto when he received the presidential signs of authority.
But in September last year, quite recently, in one of the interviews, and I have already referenced that when he was asked by a journalist what does he think about the people who live in Donbas?
He said that there are people and there are specimens and if someone in Ukraine feels a part of Russian culture, and Russian language and feels Russian, then for the benefit of this person, for the benefit of his children and grandchildren, he should move to Russia.
And now, if you tell me that president Zelensky with this position, represents the interest of the whole of the population of Ukraine that he wants to see in the borders of 1999, then I guess it makes no sense to continue this conversation.
I think that this is the only interpretation that is recognized by the International Court of justice about the relation between the right to self-determination and respect for territorial integrity.
Naturally, I would like to ask what the US, I had already quoted, about the US journalists, what they thought about the aggression towards Yugoslavia when the Time Magazine published a cover [story] on mass bombings to democracy and peace, but I guess you have that in the archives, and you would be able to find what coverage was given to the war against Iraq, the war against Libya, the US invasion of Syria and to Afghanistan. How was that covered?
If someone even moved there, they used to shoot people that right away with cluster munitions. There were many weddings that were shot at.
I just gave you the foundation for our actions from the point of view of international law.
Donetsk and [unaudible] people’s republics could not live under a government that openly declared them to be terrorists, non-people subhumans who were bombed every day, [as well as] kindergartens and schools.
And right now, an accident happened in Metropitrophic. One of the Ukrainian experts responding to how that happened said and it was clear that the air defense system of Ukraine, contrary to all rules of war and contrary to humanitarian law, was positioned in residential areas, and that was the reason why [Russian?] defense missiles struck that building.
The same kind of videos of eight years of Ukrainian of Kievan aggressions against Donbas was plenty. Our journalists and war correspondents were broadcasting live the truth coming from there, and back in the day, even before the Minsk agreements, daily at the line of engagement from Donetsk, Donpass showed the bombings done by Ukrainian neo-Nazis and how the civil sector was bombed [such as] kindergartens, cafes, and schools.
On the other side, there were no journalists and regular coverage. Sometimes BBC traveled out there, and they gave quite a truthful report from there. But very soon, they understood that the coverage only supported the idea; on the Ukrainian side, there was a lot less damage to civilian infrastructure because the other side was only responding to shelling.
The OSCE noted this fact, but not right away. We demanded that the OSCE would not only take stock of how many civilian infrastructures have been destroyed and how many civilians died but for them to show on which side of the line of engagement that is happening, what kind of damages, and how many casualties.
As soon as we achieved a publishment of this report, it became clear right away there was five times more damage in Donbas, Donetsk, and Luhansk than on the Kyiv regime side.
Right now, when there is a major outcry about any kind of pictures that show damage to the Ukrainian regime, the same people [who saw those pictures] kept silent for a long eight years when they were shown terrible, heartbreaking pictures of what was happening to civilians, to women and children done by neo-nazis [in Donbas, Donetsk, and Luhansk].
History will judge it, but we should not forget about international law.