MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Ukrainian forces are deploying air defense systems to civilian facilities, endangering civilian lives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his annual news conference devoted to reviewing Moscow’s main foreign policy achievements in 2023.
"Indeed, there are the rules of war that need to be respected and there is also international humanitarian law enshrined in a number of conventions. The Russian army is strictly following these rules while carrying out the special military operation. We precisely target sites belonging to the Ukrainian armed forces and related infrastructure and other facilities," Lavrov pointed out.
"It is a well-known fact that the Ukrainians deploy their troops and air defense systems to residential areas. This has been taking place on a regular basis. This is their dirty game to use civilians as human shields, which is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law. The rules of war must certainly be respected," the top Russian diplomat stressed.
"I have already mentioned what advice retired American generals and current British politicians are giving to the Ukrainians, saying that they should step up attacks on Crimea. Since they are unable to achieve anything on the frontline, they are being encouraged to throw the Russians off balance by wiping Crimea off the face of the earth and making it unsuitable to live there," the foreign minister noted. "We asked the Americans every now and then: ‘How do you feel about supplying long-range weapons that are being used to hit civilian targets?’ Both [White House National Security Advisor Jake] Sullivan and [White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John] Kirby stated that it’s up to the Ukrainians to choose targets. Meaning they can do whatever they like. And they are actually doing whatever they like. However, there are instructors to guide them, primarily the Anglo-Saxons," Lavrov added. "Sullivan was also asked about the Gaza operation - whether they are embarrassed by the fact that their weapons are being used in the operation, making tens of thousands suffer. They said: when we send weapons to Israel, we point out that they should be used in accordance with the laws of warfare so that no damage is done to innocent civilians," Lavrov added.
According to him, official statements make it clear that no one is telling Kiev to respect international humanitarian law. "This is more evidence of double standards," the top diplomat maintained.