Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Ukrainian regions where referendums are being held for annexation to the Russian Federation will benefit from “full protection” by Moscow.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Ukrainian regions where referendums are being held for annexation to the Russian Federation will benefit from the “full protection” by Moscow in the event of a positive outcome of the vote.
The head of Russian diplomacy said this during a press conference organized in New York after his speech to the UN General Assembly, reiterating that those territories will be protected from any attempt to reconquer by Ukraine.
Moscow described the referendums in the self-proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk and in the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson an important step for the self-determination of the citizens who reside there, but Ukraine and almost the entire international community they consider that consultation a farce orchestrated by the Kremlin with a foregone conclusion.
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“Following those referendums, Russia will obviously respect the expression of the will of those citizens who have been abused by the Ukrainian neo-Nazi regime for many long years,” Lavrov told reporters. When asked if Russia would consider using nuclear weapons to defend annexed regions, the minister said that all of Russian territory “is under the full protection of the state”. “All the laws, doctrines, concepts and strategies of the Russian Federation apply to all of its territory,” she said, also referring specifically to the Russian doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons.
The warning from the head of Russian diplomacy follows the equally explicit one from former President Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of Vladimir Putin, that any weapon in Moscow’s arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend the incorporated territories in Russia. Putin had also previously promised to use “all means at our disposal”, including nuclear weapons, to protect the country if its territorial integrity were threatened.