Pretoria – Russia’s intervention in Ukraine cannot be classified as an invasion, but a special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine.
“First of all, it’s not an invasion. It is a special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine and to protect the civilians of Donbas and Luhansk People's Republics and the Donetsk People's Republic, who have been bombarded and killed, literally slaughtered by the Kyiv regime for eight years already,” said Alexander Arefiev, the spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Pretoria.
“We tried to draw this to the attention of our European partners and Washington, but they didn’t seem to find any problem there. Even the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz failed to recognise there was a literal genocide (taking place) in the Donbas region.”
Arefiev said Luhansk and Donetsk made “desperate cries” for Russia’s help as the European nations and the United States were “not listening”.
“Russia had to intervene, not because we want to intervene, but we had to as a peacekeeping operation, just to keep the civilians in Donbas safe and keep Ukrainians safe from the Nazis. We take it very seriously because, unfortunately, the current Ukrainian government – the Kyiv regime – openly supports neo-Nazis and the rise of Nazis in Ukraine,” said Arefiev.
He said the pro-Nazi activities in Ukraine are openly supported by the State.
The Russian diplomat said Russia had intervened to stop a war, not to start a war.
Asked if Moscow had the appetite to heed the calls to retreat from Ukraine, Arefiev responded: “There is an appetite in Russia to end the Nazis in Ukraine. As our president (Vladimir Putin) and public officials said, the point is not the occupation of Ukraine. It is exactly to demilitarise it and to de-Nazify it”.
He said Russian, Luhansk and Donetsk troops were targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only.
“They are not attacking the civilians and peaceful cities. As our president said, it is, according to the United Nations charter, the right of self-defence. For eight years, the punishers from the Kyiv regime killed civilians in Donbas. There were children in Donbas who were born in shelters. They have lived like that, for their whole life, in shelters, fearing imminent attacks from the Kyiv regime,” said Arefiev.
Al-Jazeera reported that the Moscow-backed separatists had controlled the south-eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known collectively as Donbas, for almost eight years.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised them, paving the way for the official presence of Russian troops in the rebel-controlled areas that occupy about a third of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The international news outlet also reported that Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria had joined Putin in recognising Donetsk and Luhansk – along with breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.