by Stephen Lendman
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov stands out. He shames his US and EU counterparts.
He's a true peace champion. His efforts in Syria and Ukraine alone represent the best of peaceful conflict resolution efforts.
He tirelessly pursues them. He's done it despite continuing US-led Western imperial adventurism.
He most of all deserves Nobel Peace Prize recognition. War criminals most often get it. Obama is Exhibit A. Nobel committee members believe war is peace.
Lavrov's career is long, outstanding and meritorious. He's a 1972 Moscow State Institute of International Relations graduate.
He's fluent in Russian, English, French and Sinhalese. His mother worked for the Soviet Ministry for Foreign Trade.
His diplomatic career began as a Sri Lankan advisor, analyst, translator and attache. From 1976 - 1981, he was third and second Section of International Economic Relations of the USSR secretary.
At the time, he worked with various UN organizations. In 1981, he was appointed New York-based senior Soviet UN mission advisor. Through 1988, he was USSR UN first secretary, counselor and senior counselor.
In 1988, he was Moscow-based Section of International Economic Relations deputy chief. From 1990 - 1992, he was Foreign Ministry Department of International Organizations and Global Problems director.
From 1992 - 1994, he was Russian Federation International Organization Foreign Ministry director and Deputy Foreign Minister.
His responsibilities included overseeing human rights and international cultural cooperation. He did so for Commonwealth of Independent Countries (CIS) and international organizations.
From 1994 - 2004, he was Russia's UN ambassador. In that capacity, he was Security Council president seven times (in December 1995, June 1997, July 1998, October 1999, December 2000, April 2002 and June 2003).
On March 4, 2004, President Vladimir Putin appointed him Foreign Minister. He succeeded Igor Ivanov.
He's a consummate, sophisticated, tough-minded, extremely capable diplomat. He received many well-deserved government awards.
He holds the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation.
He's arguably the world's most outstanding foreign minister. He deserves high praise for his efforts.
He's on the front lines for peaceful conflict resolution. He's up against Washington's lawless imperial agenda.
He's heavily involved in trying to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions. He faces enormous obstacles to overcome. He persists despite out-of-control rogue US policies.
On April 23, RT International's Sophie Shevardnadze interviewed him at length. His comments on Ukraine were incisive, straightforward and important.
Washington "put(s) all the blame on Russia," he said. "(I)ncluding the origin of the conflict and including the steps which must be taken. They accuse us of having Russian troops, Russian agents in the east and South of Ukraine."
"They say that it is for the Russians only to give orders and the buildings illegally occupied would be liberated and that it is for the Russians to make sure that the East and South of Ukraine stops putting forward the demands for the federalization and the referendum and so on and so forth."
"This is absolute…you know." They switch the goal post to suit their agenda.
"In Geneva we all agreed that there must be reciprocal approach to any illegitimate action in Ukraine, be it in Kiev, be it in the West, be it in the East, be it in the South."
"And the people who started the process of illegitimate actions must step back first."
Washington and other Western nations refuse to acknowledge Maidan's continued occupation, he added.
"(T)hat buildings in Kiev are still occupied and in some other cities, that those who put on fire the buildings belonging to Communist party headquarters in Kiev, the buildings belonging to the Trade Union headquarters are not even under investigation."
"I don't even want to mention the sniper cases because everyone forgot about those snipers."
"And we only hear that 'Let's concentrate on eliminating terrorist threats in the East and in the South."
In Geneva, four-party representatives agreed on ending all violence. Straightaway, coup-appointed president Oleksandr Turchynov declared a state of emergency.
He "ordered the army to shoot" peaceful protesters, said Lavrov. Right Sector thugs were deployed to do so. Multiple provocations followed. Reported killings keep mounting.
Vice President Biden visited Kiev after CIA director John Brennan days earlier. "So I don't have any reasons not to believe that the Americans are running the show in a very close way," said Lavrov.
They're manipulating events on the ground. They have "overwhelming influence. They act in a much more open way without any scruples compared to the Europeans."
"(T)here are numerous reports which were revived recently on what was the role of the American embassy during the events in Maidan - direct interaction and communication with the activists who were armed and who were planning the actions like storming the buildings and other illegal acts."
"All this has not been denied in the way which would be persuasive." He noted daily duplicitous John Kerry calls saying: "You must. You must. You must."
He blames Russia for lawless US actions. Eastern Ukrainians reject Kiev putschists. They "revolted after several months of total neglect of their interests," said Lavrov.
"They just don't want a repetition what happened in Kiev and what was attempted in Crimea, by the way, and these people, of course they want to be friendly with Russia, they have many Russian relatives, they listen very carefully to what Russia says."
"But these people are not puppets…They are fed up with words. They need real deeds."
"The regime must withdraw the order to use the army against the people. (It) must liberate political prisoners. (It) must start doing what (it) committed (itself) to" do.
Their policies are polar opposite. They represent hardline fascist rule. It's "absolutely unbelievable" for Washington to claim Kiev buildings were occupied legally, said Lavrov.
At the same time, they insist peacefully occupying Eastern Ukrainian ones are illegal.
Russia has no "moral authority" to pressure Eastern Ukrainians "to do something unilaterally in front of the army, being ordered to go against them, in front of the Right Sector who should have been, must have been disarmed long ago and in the face of the political prisoners who continue to be taken."
Russia has no troops, special agents or other elements operating in Ukraine, said Lavrov. Claims otherwise are false.
At the same time, "(i)f we are attacked, we would certainly respond."
"If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law."
"Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation."
"The only thing I would like to highlight at this stage is that the Russian troops are on the Russian territory."
"The request for inspections under the so called Vienna Document of 2011 and under the treaty of the Open Sky, they have all been granted."
"The inspectors visited the areas of deployment of the troops who are participating in training exercises."
"Planes flew over the areas where the exercises and no one who participated in the inspections, including the Americans, Ukrainians and Europeans ever brought up any fact that would indicate that Russia was engaged in some dangerous military activity."
"So we are on our territory and we are doing nothing which is prohibited by any obligation of us."
"The Ukrainian troops are also on their territory, but the difference is the fact that they have the order from Turchynov to use weapons against civilians and this is a criminal order."
What's ongoing goes way beyond Ukraine, said Lavrov. It reflects Washington's "unwillingness to yield in the geopolitical fight."
It "cannot impose ready-made solutions on everyone…" It cannot run things its way.
It cannot force others to accept its demands. It cannot force Eastern Ukrainians to surrender their fundamental rights.
"So if we think about (how) Ukrainians want to live, then it shouldn't be very difficult to help (them) find the national compromise and national reconciliation," said Lavrov.
He understands Washington's dark side. Doing the right thing isn't its long suit. What serves its interests harms people everywhere.
Lavrov remains committed to peaceful conflict resolution. Imagine if America and rogue EU partners had top officials like him.
Imagine peace, equity and justice. Imagine governments of, by and for everyone. Imagine a world safe to live in. Imagine democratic values replacing fascist ones. Imagine goals essential to work for.
A Final Comment
On April 24, Ukrainian troops, tanks and armored vehicles attacked Slavyansk. Three self-defense checkpoints were destroyed.
According to activist Miroslav Rudenko, "fighting started on the outskirts of Slavyansk. We are checking reports of one dead and one injured. There are shootings at a number of checkpoints at some of Slavyansk exit-roads."
Rossiya 24 TV reported a slow Ukrainian offensive. Other armored infantry vehicles targeted Izyum. Mi-8 helicopters overflew Artyomovsk near Slavyansk.
By early afternoon April 23, five activist deaths were reported. At least one police officer and a Ukrainian soldier were wounded.
Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near Slavyansk. Two activists were killed. According to self-defense spokeswoman Stella Horosheva:
"Unfortunately, the reports of a shooting have been confirmed. Every night some sort of an incident takes place at one of our checkpoints."
"This time suspicious armed people were passing by and the self-defense members approached them to check their IDs. But the gunmen opened fire."
Other gunmen opened fire in Artemovsk. Early reports said no fatalities or injuries are known.
According to an unnamed Slovyansk spokesman:
"(A) a group of armed persons was spotted on a motorway leading from Slovyansk to Slavianohirsk."
"A mobile group headed to the site from the 'Kombirkomochny' checkpoint. However, fire was opened on them from a nearby forest."
"The information available to us indicates that one person was killed and another one was injured."
Overnight Wednesday, armed men attacked activists inside Mariupol's city council building. Five injuries were reported.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry claimed about 100 people attacked an Artemivsk military unit with automatic weapons, grenade launchers and fragmentation grenades.
Ukrainian forces remain in charge, the ministry added. Vladimir Putin called attacking ordinary people "a very serious crime."
He called Kiev putschists "a junta, some kind of clique." Conditions remain fluid. Washington bears full responsibility. It's playing a dangerous game.
At risk is open conflict. Russia won't let its nationals be slaughtered. It remains to be seen what follows.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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