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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview with The International Affairs journal, August 19, 2023

Question: The world has entered a period of confrontation between various global development concepts: Russia's, China's views and, in general, the non-Western approach as opposed to the policy of Western domination. Was this inevitable, given their civilisational differences, different approaches to the use of force and international law, and different understanding of the role of international institutions? What do you think is Russia's role and mission in the context of current challenges?

Sergey Lavrov: I certainly agree that the concept of Western domination promoted by the United States and its subordinate countries does not provide for the harmonious development of all of humanity. On the contrary, we must deal the Western minority's never-ending striving for military, political, financial and economic expansion. Their slogans change: they promote globalisation, then Westernisation, Americanisation, universalisation, liberalisation, etc. But the essence remains the same - they strive to subordinate every independent player and force them to play by the rules that are beneficial to the West.

Today, one can hardly deny that the Americans and their satellites are trying to slow down the natural evolution of international relations and the formation of a multipolar system, or even reverse the process. They are not averse to using inappropriate and illegal methods, including the use of force or unilateral sanctions (not approved by the UN Security Council), information and psychological warfare, etc, in order to bend the world to suit their needs.

Today's West is steered by people like Josep Borrell who divide the world into a blooming "garden" and "the jungle," where the latter clearly applies to most of humanity. I dare say, this racist worldview certainly prevents them from accepting the onset of multipolarity. The political and economic establishment in Europe and the United States reasonably fear that the transition to a multipolar system will entail serious geopolitical and economic losses, the final dismantling of globalisation in its current form tailored according to Western templates. They are primarily spooked by the prospect of losing the opportunity to exploit the rest of the world, fuelling their own fast-track economic growth at the expense of others.

The current generation of Western leaders has made no secret of their refusal to accept the logic of historical development, which is evidence of their professional degradation and loss of the ability to correctly analyse current events and anticipate future trends. The ill-conceived policy pursued by the United States and its followers has made the current aggravation of the international situation inevitable despite our many years of attempts to prevent it, which is another manifestation of that degradation. I am referring to the full-scale crisis of European security, the blame for which lies entirely with our former partners.

In this context, modern Russia sees its mission in maintaining a global balance of interests and building a fairer architecture of international relations. Russia's updated Foreign Policy Concept approved by President Vladimir Putin on March 31, 2023, spells out our views in a systematic manner. We believe that creating favourable conditions for the peaceful and steady development of humanity on the basis of a unifying agenda should be a universal priority. One of our key objectives in this respect is to revive the UN's ability to play a central role in coordinating the interests of its member states.

We are not alone in this endeavour. More and more countries in the Global South and East are becoming conscious of their national interests. They are beginning to spell them out and pursuing policies focused on asserting these interests in the spirit of international cooperation. These states are increasingly advocating the formation of a more equitable world order through the reform of the existing formats of interaction or the creation of new ones to address specific problems concerning security and development. We support this trend because we have a clear understanding that it is the future.

Question: While on a visit to Moscow in 1987, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said: "The nuclear deterrent is a deterrent. It has been the best peace policy for 40 years." Today, the possibility of using nuclear weapons is widely discussed in the public domain. Some participants in the debate believe that the employment threshold has been lowered in the face of threats to the very existence of Russia. Others regard this approach as absolutely unacceptable. What is your opinion on this point?

Sergey Lavrov: Indeed, a lot has been said recently about the role of nuclear weapons in Russia's foreign policy. Let me remind you that the terms of their possible use by Russia have been set out in doctrinal documents. What is important to understand is that Russia's nuclear deterrence policy is strictly defensive. It is aimed at maintaining the nuclear weapons capabilities at a minimal level needed to ensure the guaranteed protection of this country's sovereignty and territorial integrity and prevent an aggression against Russia and its allies.

In the context of deterrence, possessing nuclear weapons is for today the only possible response to certain significant external national security threats. The developments in and around Ukraine have confirmed that our concerns are well-grounded. Let me remind you that NATO - an organisation that has proclaimed itself a nuclear alliance - has grossly violated the principle of indivisibility of security and is focusing on a "strategic defeat" of Russia. The collective West has used our forced retaliatory actions designed to protect our external security contour as a pretext for switching to a fierce confrontation involving a range of means of hybrid warfare.

A great danger in the context of the Ukrainian conflict is linked with the fact that the United States and NATO countries, while gearing up for confrontation, run the risk of becoming involved in a direct armed clash between nuclear powers. We think that this course of events can and must be prevented. This is why we must remind everyone about the existence of enormous military and political risks and send sobering signals to our opponents.

I want to stress that our country is fully committed to the principle that a nuclear war would be unacceptable and proceeds from the premise that there can be no winners in such a war. Therefore, it must never be fought. The leaders of five nuclear powers reaffirmed this message in a joint statement of January 3, 2022. In the present environment, this document has acquired added importance: it follows from its logic that it is imperative to prevent any military confrontation between the nuclear powers since it risks escalating into a nuclear conflict. At this stage, therefore, the crucial task is for every nuclear state to remain committed to these understandings and exercise maximum restraint.

Last part was published by TASS and copied in media across the globe today  ...China Global Times

Russia Sees Nuclear Weapons as Only Possible Response to Some Threats: FM

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 20th, 2023 at 05:33:32 AM EST
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