Russia's Lavrov: Eastern Push Is 'Very Important Moment'

Foreign minister also downplays risk of nuclear weapons
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2022 12:29 PM CDT
Russia's Lavrov: Eastern Push Is 'Very Important Moment'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.   (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia's foreign minister has confirmed what has been obvious over the last day or so: The Russian military has begun a new phase in its invasion of Ukraine, one aimed at conquering the eastern region of Donbas. "This operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed as it was announced from the very beginning to fully liberate the Donetsk and Luhansk republics," said Sergey Lavrov, per CNN. "Another stage of this operation is beginning and I'm sure this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation." He avoided use of the word "war," as the Kremlin demands.

  • Nukes: Lavrov was questioned repeatedly about the possible use of nuclear weapons during a TV interview with India Today, and Bloomberg reports that he sought to downplay the threat. "We never mentioned about this," Lavrov said, referring to allegations raised by Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky. "When the Soviet Union and the US in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan decided that they have a special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed a solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched."
  • Blame: Lavrov reiterated Russia's view that the West forced the Kremlin's hand on Ukraine. "The current events are rooted in the US and West's desire to rule the world," he said, per India Today. "They wanted to show the world there would be no multipolarity, only unipolarity, and created a springboard [Ukraine] against us [Russia] at our borders. They pumped arms into Ukraine."
  • Cease-fire: UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a four-day cease-fire starting Thursday, to coincide with observances of Orthodox Easter, reports the AP. "The four-day Easter period should be a moment to unite around saving lives and furthering dialogue to end the suffering in Ukraine," he said.
(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.