Russia's “special military operation” in Ukraine is partly being fought to end the “total dominance” and “reckless expansion” of the United States on the world stage, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
Russian officials have given a number of different justifications for the country's invasion of Ukraine since President Vladimir Putin ordered troops over the border on Feb. 24 with the stated goal of "de-Nazifying and demilitarizing" Moscow's pro-Western neighbor.
“Our special military operation is designed to put an end to the reckless expansion and the reckless course toward the total dominance of the United States — and the rest of the Western countries under them — in the international arena,” Lavrov said in an interview with the state-run Rossia 24 broadcaster that aired Monday.
The foreign minister also accused the U.S. of not following international law.
“In Iraq … they saw a threat to their American security, they bombed it. And when neo-Nazis and ultra-radicals are being grown right on our borders …we are not allowed to react to this threat on our borders,” Lavrov said.
In addition to unfounded claims that Ukraine's government is controlled by neo-Nazis, carrying out a genocide of ethnic Russians in the east and seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, Russian officials and state media have also justified the invasion with accusations that the U.S. is funding research into the development of biological weapons in Ukraine.
Russia’s defense minister has said that the country's main task in its “special military operation” in Ukraine is to protect itself from Western threats.
In a widely scrutinized press briefing Friday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called borscht a manifestation of “Nazism and xenophobia” in Ukraine, saying Ukrainians “didn’t want to share” it with Russia.