To: 07/24/2022 11:32 p.m.
The Russian Foreign Minister has further sharpened his rhetoric. The Kremlin “definitely” wants to achieve “regime change” in Ukraine, Lavrov said – contradicting his own April statements.
Contrary to previous statements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia wants to overthrow the Ukrainian government. “We are definitely helping the Ukrainian people to free themselves from the regime which is absolutely hostile to the people and to history,” Lavrov said during a visit to Cairo. The Russian and Ukrainian people would now live together.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky indirectly reacted to Lavrov’s statement in his evening video address. “Only those who don’t know the real story and don’t feel its importance could choose to attack us,” Zelenskyy said. Ukrainians have been oppressed for centuries and will never give up their independence, the Ukrainian president assured.
Zelenskyy: Maintaining independence from Russia
“Preserving unity now, working together for victory, is the most important national task that we must master together,” Zelenskyj said. If the Ukrainians succeed in this, they will achieve what previous generations failed: to maintain their independence from Russia, to turn into one of the most modern states in the world and at the same time to follow their own path towards Europe, which according to Zelenskyj with full membership will end in the EU.
Russian leaders had publicly tightened their stance on the Ukraine war in recent days. On Wednesday, Lavrov threatened to occupy other areas outside Donbass. Given Western arms deliveries and their greater range, it is necessary to move Ukrainian troops further away from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, which Moscow has recognized as independent.
Lavrov contradicts his own April statements
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called Russia’s justification for possible new territorial gains in Ukraine propaganda. “Russia uses a different argument each time. This time they say it’s because of military support,” the green politician said in an interview with Deutsche Welle published on Thursday. Baerbock pointed out that Russia has previously attacked targets outside currently occupied territories – such as Kyiv. “So this is just new propaganda from the Russian side,” Baerbock said.
The Kremlin’s stated goals are for Ukraine to cede Donetsk and Luhansk regions and recognize Crimea, which Russia had already annexed in 2014, as Russian. With his announcement that he wants to change the political direction in Kyiv, Lavrov also contradicts his own statements from April. “We have no intention of changing the regime in Ukraine,” said the head of Russian diplomacy in an interview with India Today television. It was up to the Ukrainians to decide under which leadership they wanted to live, Lavrov said at the time.