The statement by Sergei Lavrov to which the Kyiv Post article refers can be found at “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at the Primakov Readings International Forum, Moscow, June 30, 2017“. Here is the whole paragraph so as not to take his quote out of context. This is from the official Russian statement release.
Sergey Lavrov: Everything depends on who looks at this or other situation. I don’t know whether the political community thinks that we are playing in the wrong league. I have read and heard much criticism regarding our decision to join the fight in Donbass and in Syria. But you should probably look at each given nation comprehensively. Is bread and circuses all they want? Do they care how they portray themselves on the international arena – as serious, responsible, independent and worthy players, or as those who are ready to approve anything the dictator does provided he gives them bread and circuses? This is very important for me, and I would like you to know this.
I admit it appears to be an admission of Russia fighting in Ukraine, but the statement is weak enough that Russia will most certainly say it was a misstatement.
I do not dispute the Kyiv Post headline: “Lavrov admits Russian involvement in instigating the war in eastern Ukraine”, however I do not believe the case is as black and white as is stated. I understand I appear to be splitting hairs, but I am trying to make an airtight case against Russia.
Ukraine is currently building a case to present to the World Court, declaring that Russia has de facto invaded Ukraine. This helps make Ukraine’s case, but we should expect Russian denials. If Russia is found to have invaded Ukraine, another sovereign state, it is an illegal, undeclared, and unjustified action and Russia will be subject to major punitive measures.
Published July 2 at 3:59 pm
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov publicly admitted Russian state involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine on June 30, according to Russian and Ukrainian press reports.
Lavrov said in comments in Moscow that he is frequently criticized for “joining the fight in Donbas and Syria,” according to a transcript published on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Russian foreign minister made the statement after being asked about whether Russia was capable of compromising with other nations in its foreign policy.
“[Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger once said that Russia always preferred the risk of defeat to compromise,” the question went. “Do you think that we are out of our league on a number of international issues?”
“Everything depends on who looks at this or another situation,” Lavrov replied. “I don’t know whether the political community thinks that we are out of our league. I have read and heard much criticism regarding our decision to join the fight in Donbass and in Syria.”
Lavrov justified Russia’s invasion by claiming “protection of Russian-speaking population.”
Previously Lavrov and other Russian officials claimed that Russia is not taking part in the war in the eastern Ukraine that cost country more than 10,000 lives.
Russia also denies that it supplies weapons to separatist-controlled territories, despite numerous reports from international organizations, the media, and the Ukrainian government that point to the contrary.