Sergey Shoygu, Antonio Guterres talk over recent developments
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu discussed the situation in Ukraine with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres via telephone on Friday.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shoygu informed Guterres about Russia’s motives to start a special military operation, citing “Ukraine’s unwillingness to implement the Minsk Agreement for 8 years, infiltration of people with neo-Nazi views in army and state bodies, shelling of Donbas regions.”
In addition, last year Western countries significantly increased arms deliveries to Ukraine, “preparing Kyiv to resolve the conflict by force,” said Shoygu.
“The support of Western countries inspired Kiev to such an extent that it announced claims to possess nuclear weapons. The meaning of Ukraine’s existence has become hostile opposition to Russia, through the efforts of the West, it has turned into a territory from which a serious threat to Russia’s security emanates,” he said.
Shoygu reassured Guterres that Russian armed forces use “only high-precision weapons, and only to disable the military infrastructure.”
“The Russian army does not threaten civilians, does not fire at civilian objects, and fully complies with the requirements of international humanitarian law,” said Shoygu.
The Russian defense minister told the UN chief that “nationalist and neo-Nazi formations, in which there are also foreign mercenaries, use civilians as a human shield,” place tanks, artillery, mortars and multiple launch rocket systems in residential areas, drawing response fire at peaceful people.
Shoygu also asked Guterres to urge Ukrainian authorities to create human corridors for foreigners, including students, who were “taken hostage by neo-Nazis.”
“Neo-Nazis opened fire on Chinese students who tried to leave Kharkiv. Two of them were injured. Hundreds of foreigners are trying to leave the war zone, but they are not allowed to do so. In fact, they are being held hostage, their lives are at great risk,” he said.
Guterres thanked Shoygu for evacuating UN personnel from Ukraine, which went “smoothly, without incidents.”
He also asked Shoygu to help increase the interaction of UN structures with the Russian military regarding humanitarian issues in Ukraine.