MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said it’s necessary to stop attempts by "placeholders" in Kiev to "betray the vital interests" of the Ukrainian people and conduct the policy that’s aiding the transformation of the country into an "anti-Russia."
"The main thing is to stop the attempts of the placeholders, who illegally seized power, to betray the vital interests of the Ukrainian people and, in order to please the West, turn their country into an ‘anti-Russia’ as the meaning of their existence," the minister said at a session of the UN Human Rights Council, speaking by a video link. "The real hysteria observed today in NATO and the EU only confirms that it was the creation of an ‘anti-Russia’ that was and remains the goal of the US and all its allies lined up by Washington."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 21 said Russia recognized independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance were signed with their leaders. On the morning of February 24 Putin said that, amid a strong escalation of the situation in Donbass and in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics, he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. He stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, but aims to demilitarize and denazify the country. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, therefore there are no threats to the civilian population.