UNITED NATIONS, January 31. /TASS/. The option of invading Ukraine is not being considered by Russia, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told reporters on Monday.
"I can rule that [invasion] out," he said, answering to a reporter’s question.
"The secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, [Ukraine’s] minister of defense, [Ukrainian] President [Vladimir] Zelensky himself said the rhetoric about what is happening is scaling up," the Russian diplomat continued. "I am not the person to decide whatever happens. No Russian politician or even public figure ever said that we are planning to attack Ukraine."
"The other thing is that we remember what happened in Georgia in 2008, when former President [Mikhail] Saakashvili gave a criminal order to strike [South Ossetia’s capital] Tskhinval with missiles. Then he moved his troops there. Our peacekeepers died, civilians died, and we had to react," Nebenzya said.
According to the diplomat, Russia does not rule out the possibility of provocations committed by the Ukrainian side.
"We do not exclude provocations from Ukrainians," he said, adding that the self-proclaimed eastern Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) "said they had information that such provocations may happen."
"Do you remember what happened in 2014? When we had Minsk-1, Ukrainian forces started moving towards the republics," Nebenzya continued. "We are trying to avoid that. <…> Attempts to resolve the conflict by military means are totally unacceptable.
In his words, Russia is alarmed by the possibility of Western nations holding Russia responsible for Kiev’s provocations.
"I am concerned that this might be a scenario. Even talking about an imminent war is a provocation by itself," the envoy said.