Russia, Ukraine, the UN and NATO

(Some recent developments; I dunno what all’s been covered here..)

Earlier via tass news, and this fukkery may have been just bridge too far):

MOSCOW, February 23. /TASS/. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made several statements on the situation in eastern Ukraine that are not compatible with his status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, opening talks with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen on Wednesday.

"To our great regret, the UN Secretary General whom you are representing turned out to be susceptible to pressure by the West and recently made several statements incompatible with his status and his authority under the UN Charter," he said.

The Russian top diplomat noted that Moscow conveyed to Guterres its assessment of his statements. According to Lavrov, the UN Secretary General has never expressed support for the necessity to implement the Minsk Accords and the UN Security Council resolution on the same matter.

"With regards to the situation in Ukraine, the [UN] secretary general has not raised his voice even once to support the necessity of complying with the requirements of the Minsk Package of Measures and Resolution 2202 of the [UN] Security Council which directly demand to resolve all issues by coordination between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. Nobody mentioned this in the West. And, unfortunately, the secretary general followed this sad example," the Russian foreign minister said.

Earlier, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres made a number of statements with regards to the situation in eastern Ukraine, criticizing the recognition of the DPR and LPR by Russia as well as asserting that he wouldn’t consider Russian servicemen in Donbass as peacekeepers.

From the Peoples Dispatch, Feb. 22, ‘What are the Minsk agreements and what are their role in the Russia-Ukraine crisis?

Under pressure from ultra-nationalists and Russophobes, successive governments in Ukraine have failed to address the grievances of the Russian speaking majority in the Donbass region. Ukraine has also not implemented the provisions of the Minsk agreement signed in 2015 to end the conflict in the region
by Abdul Rahman

War in Ukraine started 8 years ago, Russia is now ending it, Moscow claims
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it wants to end the 8-year bloodbath in Donbass that both Ukraine and the West turned a blind eye to’, Feb. 24, 2022

“The West spent eight years ignoring the “sea of blood” in Donbass while arming Ukraine, and now claims Moscow is the aggressor when it stepped in to end the conflict, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RT on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, claiming it was necessary to “demilitarize and de-nazify” the neighbor. Kiev accused Russia of aggression, while the US, EU and NATO have called it an “unprovoked” invasion. Moscow insists this is not the case.

In announcing the operation, Putin said the “main objective is to stop the escalation of the war that’s been going on for eight years, and to stop the war,” Zakharova told RT in an exclusive interview.

“Russia did not commit aggression of any kind,” Zakharova insisted. “This did not start yesterday. There’s a sea of blood that’s appeared over the past 8 years,” she added, referring to the conflict in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which Russia on Monday recognized as independent states.

(The EU had leveled sanctions against her on the 23rd):
Maria Zakharova, the director of the Russian foreign ministry's Information and Press Department, was placed on the sanctions list due to her being deemed "the central figure of state propaganda." The EU also accuses her of "promoting the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine."

I'd have hoped it might not come too this, but he makes his case well:

Putin Authorises Special Military Operation in Donbass, Vows Immediate Response to External Threats, sputnik news

Russian President Vladimir Putin has addressed the nation early Thursday, directing Russian forces to conduct a special operation in the Donbass region to protect people who have been facing genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime for eight years now.
Read the full text of his speech:

Dear citizens of Russia, friends,

I consider it necessary today to speak again about the tragic events in Donbass and the key aspects of ensuring the security of Russia.
I will begin with what I said in my address on February 21, 2022. I spoke about our biggest concerns and worries, and about the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe.

In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands.

The answer is simple. Everything is clear and obvious. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union grew weaker and subsequently broke apart. That experience should serve as a good lesson for us, because it has shown us that the paralysis of power and will is the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion. We lost confidence for only one moment, but it was enough to disrupt the balance of forces in the world.

As a result, the old treaties and agreements are no longer effective. Entreaties and requests do not help. Anything that does not suit the dominant state, the powers that be, is denounced as archaic, obsolete and useless. At the same time, everything it regards as useful is presented as the ultimate truth and forced on others regardless of the cost, abusively and by any means available. Those who refuse to comply are subjected to strong-arm tactics.

Of course, practice, international relations and the rules regulating them had to take into account the changes that took place in the world and in the balance of forces. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states and one’s own responsibility. Instead, we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves. The situation took a different turn.

There are many examples of this. First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasising the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq. It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.
Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism. I have only mentioned the most glaring but far from only examples of disregard for international law.

This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics. Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.

Incidentally, US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable "empire of lies" has been created inside the United States in recent years. It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same "empire of lies".

As for our country, after the disintegration of the USSR, given the entire unprecedented openness of the new, modern Russia, its readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and its practically unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us. This is how it was in the 1990s and the early 2000s, when the so-called collective West was actively supporting separatism and gangs of mercenaries in southern Russia. What victims, what losses we had to sustain and what trials we had to go through at that time before we broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus! We remember this and will never forget.

Properly speaking, the attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.

Despite all that, in December 2021, we made yet another attempt to reach agreement with the