MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. The West was silently encouraging the rise of neo-Nazism and Russophobia in Ukraine and covering up the crimes of the Kiev regime in Donbass, which in the end led to the country’s tragedy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said opening talks with Foreign Minister of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Vladislav Deinego and First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Sergey Peresada on Friday.
"During this entire period, the population of your republics was subjected to abuse, perennial shelling on the part of the Kiev regime that openly adopted a course towards Russophobia and genocide," the Russian top diplomat noted. "All these years, our Western colleagues were consistently covering up for the Ukrainian regime, turning a blind eye to military crimes against civilians, to the murders of women, children, seniors, to the destruction of civilian infrastructure and silently encouraging the rapid rise of neo-Nazism and Russophobia which in the end led to the country’s tragedy. And, of course, the West fully supported the Kiev regime in its attempts to sabotage and finally destroy the Minsk Accords," he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
Russia's Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.