The Russian foreign minister has called on all big five nuclear powers to commit to ruling out nuclear war.
Russia is not threatening anyone with nuclear war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Al Arabiya in an interview on Friday.
According to him, it is the West, along with Ukraine, which flirts with the rhetoric of “nuclear war”.
“We never play with concepts this dangerous. Never. We must all be committed to the statements of the “nuclear five” – a nuclear war can never be triggered,” Lavrov stressed.
He noted that it was Russia that had repeatedly push for the adoption of statements on behalf of all nuclear countries confirming commitments to no first-use of nuclear weapons. While the Trump administration refused to accept such statements, they were adopted following the first meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden in Geneva.
Lavrov went on to say that Moscow does not consider itself at war with NATO, since it “would be a step that would increase the risks of what we just discussed [nuclear war]”.
“Unfortunately, there is a feeling that NATO believes that it is at war with Russia. NATO, the US, European leaders, many of which, in particular in the UK, the US, Poland, France, Germany and, of course, the head of European diplomacy [Josep] Borrell directly say that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin must lose, Russia must be defeated.” the minister explained.
Lavrov also highlighted that Russia does not use foreign mercenaries, including those from Syria, in Ukraine.
“I can assure you that the Syrians have their own concerns,” the minister told Al Arabiya.
The foreign minister then turned to the activities of US biological laboratories in Ukraine, saying Moscow believes they must be investigated. He underlined that Russia wants “clarity, and will insist on getting answers.”
He also delved into how the Western sanctions, imposed following the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, have impacted the food chains, effectively becoming one of the causes of global food crisis.
“For example, dozens of foreign ships are blocked in the Black and Azov Seas on the territory of Ukraine because they are under sanctions. We are ready to release them, but the Ukrainian government is not cooperating with us on this issue,” Lavrov said.
Commenting on the gas payments scheme proposed by Russia, the minister noted that the majority of Russia’s partners have agreed to pay for gas in rubles.
Under the new rules, Gazprombank will open special currency and ruble accounts for foreign buyers to pay for gas. The buyer will be able to transfer money to the currency account, with the bank selling it on the Moscow Exchange. Then it will transfer the rubles to the account of the gas buyer, who can then finalise the payment with the supplier — Gazprom.
The main conclusion Russia has drawn, according to Lavrov, is that Moscow cannot rely on the West when it comes to strategic issues like food supplies, technology, the economy and others.
And while it is possible that ties between Russia and the West will be renewed, Lavrov stressed that Russia has to “be self-sufficient in key areas of the country’s life”.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an hour-long interview with Al Arabiya amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.