- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

West's Irresponsible Ukraine Policies Lead to Greater Risks to Global Stability: Russian Ambassador

© AFP 2023 / DANIEL LEALAn Ukrainian recruit holds a Javelin anti-tank weapon during a five-week combat training course with the UK armed forces near Durrington in southern England on October 11, 2022
An Ukrainian recruit holds a Javelin anti-tank weapon during a five-week combat training course with the UK armed forces near Durrington in southern England on October 11, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.02.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov on Wednesday outlined the reasons why it was unavoidable for Russia to undertake a special military operation in Ukraine and warned that the longer Western countries continue promoting their irresponsible policies, the greater the threats to global stability.
"The longer the West continues ignoring the will of its constituents and proceeds with its irresponsible policies, the greater the risks to global stability," Stepanov said in an opinion piece published on the Russian embassy’s social media accounts. "Before it is too late, the West and Europe in particular must realize that there is a way out of the crisis. Kiev will announce that it ceases hostilities, order its troops and nationalistic units to lay down their arms, voluntarily subject itself to demilitarization and denazification. This is the only way to build a healthy society in Ukraine in accordance with the interests of its people."
Stepanov said while this outcome remains the future, the conflict will be settled sooner or later.
"Russia will not retreat from ensuring its interests, whether someone likes it or not," he said. "We are realists and proceed from the interests of our own citizens, our own security and economic well-being. So, are our Western counterparts ready to meet the interests of their citizens? This is the question for their governments and voters to answer."
Stepanov emphasized that Russia reaffirms the goals of the special military operation and they all will be achieved.
"Ukrainians will live in a federal, multilingual, multicultural, democratic, stable, prosperous country free from internal conflict where every citizen feels free and safe. And Russia will provide it," he said. "This is the only finale for the current crisis. Whether it will be achieved by diplomatic or military means largely depends on the West."
The ambassador said that if the collective West continues to supply Kiev with weapons, equipment and expertise, the conflict will be protracted and result in more blood and suffering, while the final result will be the same for Ukraine and for the geopolitical balance.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.01.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
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"The Ukraine conflict is not a thing-in-itself core issue. It’s just a symptom, a sign of ailment the current world order is striving to survive," he said. "Western leaders and thinkers have to pay utmost attention to the ontological differences in how Russia and the West look at the crisis. We comprehend it through spiritual optics, they - in a very materialistic manner."
Stepanov said the resolution of the Ukraine crisis would be been based not only on striking a balance of powers and interests, but also inserting the traditional values-based multiplier in the equation.
"For the West to believe it is all only about territories, borders and military balance in Europe, would be a shortsighted error, he said.

Special Military Operation Became Unavoidable

Stepanov noted that following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the accords signed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Russia set on the path of building a federal multi-ethnic state with a Russian majority, but one that respects the rights, cultures, interests of all other nationalities.
"In all our regions people could speak not only Russian, but also their native tongue, be it in the North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Yakutia or elsewhere," he said. "Also, we provide the same rights and freedoms to vibrant diaspora communities (Armenian, Azeri, Georgian and others)."
Stepanov said Russia's hope was for its neighbors to take the same approach.

"And here Ukraine comes to the fore," he said. "What happened there during the same period? Part of Ukraine was historically under the rule of Poland, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, another part was populated by Russians. The Bolsheviks toyed with the lands and their borders, including by adding to what is now called Ukraine various regions such as Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Crimea and others that have historically been Russian."

Independent Ukraine appeared three decades ago in that composition and Russia looked at it as a sister state in which half of the population was historically Russian, Stepanov said.
“We hoped it should become the new Switzerland, Canada or Belgium in terms of adherence to democratic and human rights norms. A democratic state where all peoples, languages and ethnicities peacefully live side by side and build common future,” he said. “That was in 1992. It’s 2023 now. More than 30 years passed, presidents changed in Ukraine. Despite the difference in their publicly expressed views, they were all disastrous for the domestic agenda. Regardless of political affiliation, each leader repeated the same fatal error - they acted from the ultranationalist Western Ukrainian positions in trying to create a mono-ethnic state.”
Stepanov pointed out there were regions in Ukraine that did not want to be separatist and never thought of seceding but wanted to enjoy dignified democratic equality complete with television, newspapers and education in their native language.
Canada is an example of how a country managed to build a democratic society with two official languages and respectfully cherishing indigenous languages, he said.
The Canadian flag flies at half-mast at the Consulate General of Canada in New York October 23, 2014. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2022
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“Canada, given its strong Ukrainian community and connections, invested heavily in building a new Ukrainian state, but inexplicably failed to share its experience of bilingualism,” Stepanov said. “Had it shared, maybe there would not be a conflict.”
Thee ambassador noted that another milestone was the 2014 coup in Ukraine when the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted from power.
“Frenzied opposition nationalists, who violated the agreements reached with the mediation of the West, seized power and said they would ‘take care’ of the Russian Ukrainians,” he said. “Their first draft legislation was aimed at excluding the Russian language from Ukraine. It didn’t become law, however, the intent of the new authorities was a warning to the half of the population that it would soon be discriminated against in terms of language and culture.”
After this first attempt to discriminate against Russians, a significant part of Ukraine’s population realized the new authorities would bring hardship and that prompted Crimea and Donbass to rebel, he said.
“The West, instead of suppressing the nationalistic sentiment in Kiev, began to play along with them, thereby igniting the conflict. This is one of the indications that the West has never been pro-Ukrainian, but always anti-Russian in order to drag us into the conflict,” Stepanov said. “Crimea unequivocally decided to rejoin Russia.”
Then followed the civil war in Donbass, he said, adding that this was an inter-Ukrainian conflict between the nationalists and the regions who were eager to stay in Ukraine if their rights had been respected. However, Kiev denied them this opportunity.
“Denied were the very same rights of being bilingual that are enjoyed in Canada, but refused in Ukraine. Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet has been silent about this as was Harper’s government in 2014-2015,” he said.
Stepanov emphasized that the civil war in Donbass was eventually halted by the signing of the Minsk agreements and President Vladimir Putin personally was constantly trying to convince the Kiev authorities to implement the accords.
“As it turns out now, the West did not want a win-win situation, but a zero-sum game in order to achieve not a consensus, but the defeat of Russia within a broader geopolitical game at the expense of the Russians living in Ukraine,” he said.
Stepanov also noted that Russia had tried to reach a settlement with Ukraine and the West for seven years, including proposing draft security guarantee agreements at the end of 2021 that were "haughtily rejected.”

“Some accused Russia of lying that there would not be military operation. Forgetting that at the same time we reminded: there would be no need for employing military if there was no provocation,” he said. “Only if Kiev did not decide to arrange a blitzkrieg against Donbass. For years we have been telling our partners that any such attempt would be a disaster, primarily for Ukraine and European security. But no one listened or heard.”

Between November 2021 and January 2022, there was a lot of talk in the Western media that Russia was amassing 125,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, while remaining silent that Kiev throughout 2021 was concentrating some 300,000 troops to engage in a lightning strike against Donetsk and Luhansk.
“To take over the republics, reach the borders of Russia, enlist NATO support and put us before this fact,” he added. “That is why our special military operation became inevitable.“
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