Dragging Ukraine into NATO was a criminal act: Lavrov


Moscow, June 17 : In an interview regarding the ongoing war in Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country "didn't invade Ukraine, but declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the West that dragging Ukraine into NATO was a criminal act". He made the remarks on Thursday while speaking to the BBC, one of the very interactions that he has had with the Western media since Russia launched its ongoing invasion of Kiev on February 24. As the Minister reiterated Russia's repeated claim that there were Nazis in Ukraine, he was asked about an official UN report about Yahidne village in Ukraine's Chernihiv region, where "360 residents, including 74 children and five persons with disabilities, were forced by Russian armed forces to stay for 28 days in the basement of a school" and if that was "fighting Nazis?" In reply, Lavrov told the BBC: "It's a great pity, but international diplomats, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General and other UN representatives, are being put under pressure by the West. And very often they're being used to amplify fake news spread by the West. "Russia is not squeaky clean. Russia is what it is. And we are not ashamed of showing who we are." Regarding UK-Russia ties, Lavrov said he did not think "there's even room for manoeuvre any more". "Both (UK Prime Minister Boris) Johnson and (Foreign Secretary Liz) Truss say openly that we should defeat Russia, we should force Russia to its knees. Go on, then, do it," he told the BBC. Last month, Truss had said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was humiliating himself on the world stage and that "we must ensure he faces a defeat in Ukraine". /IANS


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