Russian Foreign Ministry briefing on current situation in Ukraine and the West’s flow of armaments and ‘scorched earth’ tactics – March 23, 2023

Russian Foreign Ministry

Excerpt from
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow,

March 23, 2023

Ukraine crisis

Peaceful life is being established on the territories of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, which were liberated from the neo-Nazi Kiev regime. Tens of thousands of specialists from other Russian regions are restoring and rebuilding residential blocks and civilian infrastructure and repairing hundreds of kilometres of roads.

On March 15, 2023, a technological complex of an asphalt concrete plant was installed, and a trial batch of road pavement was produced in the Lugutinsky District, LPR. This will make it possible to upgrade about 410 km of roads, 20 bridges and overpasses. In Mariupol, it is planned to repair 54 km of roads and five bridges, complete the restoration of the city centre, and build another 30 multi-storey buildings with 2,700 apartments in total this year. In Donetsk, a perinatal centre with modern equipment, designed for 149 beds, will open its doors by the end of 2023.

Time has shown that the Kiev authorities succeeded only in destruction. Russia returned to these territories forever (there is no doubt about this) and is actively restoring what was destroyed by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Naturally, they were not the only destroyers. They were actively assisted by those who created them and illegally brought them to power, first of all, the Anglo-Saxon duo of Washington and London. We will talk about this later today.

On March 18, 2023, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky introduced another package of sanctions against 300 individuals and 141 legal entities. In addition to Russian nationals, the list includes citizens of Iran and Syria, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Restrictive measures were introduced against a number of Russian defence, aviation, shipbuilding and automotive enterprises, including the Kalashnikov and Almaz-Antey concerns, as well as several companies from Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

The Kiev regime has wilfully cranked up the adoption of anti-Russia sanctions. This is being done to keep their own agenda afloat, including in the West, and to continue doing what they do best, where they are truly unequalled – professional scrounging against the backdrop of the total destruction of everything that was created by generations before them.

There is no end to the collective West pumping weapons into the Kiev regime. On March 20, the Pentagon said the amount of US military assistance to Ukraine had exceeded $32.5 billion since the beginning of the special military operation. According to Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, nine NATO countries agreed to provide Kiev with more than 150 Leopard tanks to put together nine tank brigades.

The EU announced the allocation of funds to purchase more than 1 million rounds of ammunition for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The money – about $2 billion – will be taken from the European Peace Facility, as before.

On March 21 of this year, UK’s Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence Annabel Goldie made a few highly irresponsible statements. She announced that London would supply Ukraine with armour piercing rounds, which contain depleted uranium, alongside two Challenger-2 battle tanks. Her words were later confirmed at the official level in the UK. It was not a slip or another mistake. No, this was downright stupidity confirmed at the official level by the UK.

All the above is additional evidence of the aggressive intentions of the West, which does not need peace in Ukraine, in the region, or in the world. The West is obsessed with the manic idea of inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia and is ready to sacrifice an entire country, other nations, millions of lives for this. They would go to any length to have this fevered mind’s idea, the need to dominate and feel exceptional, confirmed through such destructive logic and its practical implementation.

The recent statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken proved this. Commenting on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, he directly said a ceasefire in Ukraine was unacceptable. Let me remind you that the funding mechanism America’s satellites in Europe are using to send money to the Kiev regime is called the European Peace Facility. Antony Blinken does not believe there is a possibility of a ceasefire. How these things can coexist in one mind is completely incomprehensible. There can be only one answer – one of them is an overt and cynical lie. Which one? That’s obvious. It isn’t a “Peace Facility,” European or any other kind. That facility should have long been renamed a “War Facility.”  That would make more sense and deal with any inconsistency.

The Zelensky regime continues to fight dissent and potential opponents. The other day, the Verkhovna Rada approved in the first reading the draft law On Strengthening Democratic Civil Control over the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It limits the ability of the military personnel to participate in the country’s political life, which is understandable. Kiev’s political life is something sacred that belongs to those who occupied offices on Bankova Street. Those whose lives the Zelensky-led regime decided were cannon fodder should not be involved in governance institutions or even think about ever becoming part of them. They will be barred from pursuing options such as becoming deputies of any level or making public statements of any kind. They are limited in their ability to make public their opinions about domestic policies. Why do you think that is? Just because the Kiev regime fully (to the extent that it is capable) realised the inevitability of its own demise and is trying to do at least something to delay this terrible moment. I hate to break it to them, but the terrible moment for them came a long time ago. The lack of conscience and morality prevented them from realising this.

By shutting the mouth of its own military, the Kiev regime is, in fact, trying to not only cover up the truth about what is happening in the war zone. Things are much worse. Torn by Western experiments and subjected to pitting people against each other by the West-led political forces, Ukraine is plunging into what, judging from policy statements by its leaders, was their nightmare scenario. Do you remember (I’m not talking only about Zelensky, since everyone prior to him did the same) them talking about the future of Ukraine as a democratic and free state where everyone can say what they want and has the right to participate in public and political life, and that all bodies of authority should be controlled by the media in accordance with the law to keep things open and transparent in order to overcome shortcomings? Unfortunately, what we see are problems that are immanent to that country, namely a merger of an all-out corruption and red tape.

As a reminder, Zelensky put the word “freedom” first, which was followed by concepts such as well-being, economic growth or financial stability. Sure enough, it was important, but came second, whereas freedom was in the first place: freedom and, comma, peace. Take a look. First, the Kiev regime dealt a blow to peace, as it allowed the West to turn Ukraine into a NATO foothold against Russia, to be flooded with weapons, to sell themselves out and be bought. The next blow targeted freedom. Things went incrementally and started out with reprisals against politicians, political scientists and journalists. Murders, disappearances, bullying, harassment and persecution of various kinds followed. After that came blatant censorship. All of that started long before 2022. There was pressure on the channels. Channels were closed down, reformatted and passed over to other influencers. Then something happened that could not be obstructed in any way, because the scale of the disaster was irreversible. The total dictatorship of one representative of the current group of authority (Zelensky) began. There was only one channel for dissemination of information. All others were supposed to join the mainstream. There was the total and most severe censorship of everything that was produced by the Ukrainian media. Persecution was followed by kidnappings, and people were disappearing not only in isolated instances, but systematically.

Today, all of that was enshrined, at least in the first reading, in the new law. This law does not just cross out (there’s no place left for crosses) the principles, but formalises the irreversible departure of the current group of ruling individuals from the principles (at least as voiced by them. There will be no return. It will only get worse).

Kiev also sees the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a threat. Why? Probably because (using the mid-20th century terminology), they refused to flash the Sieg Heil. They refused to swear allegiance to criminals and deviate from the covenants their ancestors had handed down to them. On March 20 of this year, President Vladimir Zelensky refused to meet with members of the Holy Synod who tried to urge him to prevent the escalation of inter-religious tensions in the country and stop persecution of clerics and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. They tried to do everything in their power to use whatever is left of the system of communication between citizens and what is known (or used to be known) as the state, now the Kiev regime. They called on the regime to keep the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, which is an important Orthodox shrine, and prevent its transfer to the schismatic church. They tried to talk and wanted to be heard. They were denied even that.

Apparently, today’s enemies of God who are in power in Ukraine are not going to stop. On March 21, Head of the Ternopol Regional Council Mikhail Golovko spoke about the planned expulsion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church clergy from the Pochayev Lavra – another holy Orthodox monastery, a “strategic objective” (terrible words, but this is what they said), which must be achieved in the near future. We have spoken about all these trends at international platforms, sent letters, statements and reports, appealed and urged, explained things long and hard, while it could still have been prevented. I am referring to something wider than dividing and trampling upon everything that was proclaimed as high ideals in Ukraine, and in Europe, for that matter.

In a broader sense, it would make sense to capitalise on this topic to prevent the degradation of the general situation in Ukraine. The international community, represented by Western countries blocking any discussion of these topics, was silent. Some refused to hear; others refused to understand. Still others could have heard and understood, but did not want to do anything. Some put up fierce resistance.

The new stage of the religious war in Ukraine unleashed by the Kiev regime will not lead us anywhere good. The consequences will be tragic.

The recent developments, especially the UK decision to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium munitions, show that neither Kiev nor its Western handlers are interested in resolving the conflict. They are interested in the opposite – in escalation. They do not care what their scorched-earth tactics are doing to Ukraine (scorched in the truest sense of the word, given the depleted uranium ammunition). They’re now turning it into a source of radiation pollution.

These are reasons why the special military operation will continue. The Russian leadership has outlined its goals and objectives and repeatedly reaffirmed them. We will go back to the fundamental principles, which, unfortunately, are now violated on the territory of Ukraine, to show what is happening there and give an objective assessment.

NATO and EU military supplies to Ukraine

We hear daily reports by the Western media about the growing supplies of weapons, ammunition and military equipment sent to the Kiev regime by the United States, the EU and their satellites. New initiatives and training events for the gunmen from the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being announced. This was discussed during the most recent meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (Ramstein group) on March 15, and at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council with the participation of defence ministers on March 20, which was held as part of a meeting of the Schuman Security and Defence Partnership Forum in Brussels on March 20-21. We are aware that Western intelligence services supply the Kiev regime with intelligence and act as spotters, i.e. carry out target marking, which is then used in hostilities. Tens of billions of dollars and euros are being spent on that. We are surprised at the fanfare with which the Western media reported this. This is not just a reprint of press releases by official bodies, but journalistic work. It turns out they’re happy with it too.

As a reminder, the West is not investing money in returning peace and stability to Europe, but in military escalation and further destruction. The West has nothing to brag about in this regard, because it is only interested in its own gains. The current authorities of the United States and the EU, as well as their allies are ready to sacrifice the lives of all Ukrainians and other peoples of the post-Soviet space in order to achieve their own global (as they believe) domination.

I speak about this openly and mention the peoples of neighbouring countries and countries of the region for a simple reason. The UK’s announcement about the depleted uranium munition supplies to the Kiev regime is changing the situation, no questions asked. Now, neither the neighbouring states, nor the states of the region will be able to control the impact of the used guns and shells. It simply cannot be done. You can participate in target marking or intelligence exchanges, or ask Washington to control the Kiev regime so that it does not hit the territory of Poland, and does not shoot down objects over the territories of other countries. You can do anything. But you cannot say anything to radiation. It’s impossible to make a bargain with it, or to put it under control.

We went through the tragedy of Chernobyl and Fukushima. We know that both tragedies had dire consequences that last to this day. They are of a different scale, but the lesson is the same: it is impossible to strike a deal with radiation.

When we hear London claiming that nothing special happened, and they are doing as they always do and absolutely everything is within the standard procedure, one gets mixed feeling. Usually, we give clear definitions, but there is a certain duality here. On the one hand, they are prevaricating when they say that these shells do not pose any particular threat. They do. Iraq and Yugoslavia are cases in point. But when they say that they use all of that regularly and it meets their standards, they are not lying. This is really business as usual for them. The use of these shells, which is consequential not only for the participants of the hostilities, but also for the people within the affected area or next to it and, most importantly, for future generations who will be using the fruits of this soil. Indeed, for them, this is a certain standard. Western standard. For us, it is not. That is why we are mentioning this.

This kind of destructive Western approach is not new. There have been many examples in history and recent history. We talk about them regularly. Let me remind you that the world was rid of the “brown plague” only thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Soviet Union, the entire Soviet people. Our ancestors paid for this with an enormous loss of life and thought that this lesson would last for centuries. But as we can see now, they were wrong.

It’s not a secret who is benefiting from the drawn-out conflict in Ukraine. The US defence corporations are raking in windfall profits from arms and equipment supplies. The empty arsenals of the European states are being replenished with new American weapons, and their depleted budgets are being replenished with US (not money) but loans. We know perfectly well what the phrase “US loans” means. In the military-political sphere, the EU has become fully dependent on Washington, completely erasing ideas about its “strategic autonomy.” Until recently, they were talking about their security forces. The European Union talked about a lot in the context of ensuring its genuine sovereignty. Apparently, this is unlikely to ever happen. The Baltic countries, Poland and some other Eastern European members of the EU and NATO have found their niche. They are openly using the Ukraine conflict to realise their morbid ambitions and to siphon resources both from their Western coalition allies and Ukraine. Remember the outlandish reports about Poland exporting Ukrainian black soil? This is one of the most heinous tricks pulled by the current Polish regime.

We have conducted research and summed up the publicly available data about the volume and range of supplies by NATO and the EU countries and weapons and military equipment to Ukraine. We will post visuals on this subject on our website and social media accounts soon.

We do not claim that this provides the full picture. A number of Western NGOs and institutions engaging in these calculations are talking about even larger amounts of military aid to Ukraine. One way or another, the existing information gives us an idea about the level of involvement of individual NATO and EU countries in the Ukraine conflict and, in fact, their complicity in the killing of civilians by the Ukrainian military, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and terrorist attacks against Russians and social facilities located in Russia. Since February 2022, the United States alone has supplied the Kiev neo-Nazi regime with weapons and military equipment worth $33 billion, the UK $5.2 billion, Germany $2.8 billion, and Poland $2.3 billion. The supplies include tanks and armoured vehicles, artillery systems, multiple launch rocket systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles. According to official statements, NATO countries have allocated at least $65 billion and the EU countries over $12 billion towards this end. These sizable funds could be spent on social and economic projects in Europe, which the citizens of these countries have been insisting on with their governments. They could be used to reinforce law enforcement bodies for them to better combat transnational crime, such as drug trafficking. There’s much the European states could do with that kind of money. But no. There’s a more exciting game to play called “the West’s war to the last Ukrainian.”

These statistics clearly demonstrate the scale of cynicism and violation of law by Western regimes, their disregard not only for human lives, but also for those theoretical developments that they call “human rights issues” and which they themselves created. Since February 2022, the Ukrainian military has used about 110,000 munitions against the DPR and LPR, including tactical missiles, attack drones, various MLRS missiles and large-calibre artillery shells. More than 4,600 civilians (including almost 200 children) were killed in the DPR, LPR and the liberated regions of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions during this period, and several thousand people were wounded (more than 300 children among them). After the Ukrainian forces started using heavy weapons supplied by Western countries, the number of civilian casualties quadrupled.

We will post a spreadsheet soon. The world must know its anti-heroes.


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