Russian military doing best to end Ukraine operation in coming days: Putin spokesperson

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Apr 2022

"Our military are doing their best to bring an end to that operation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sky News in his first broadcast interview with Western media since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

 Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, on Dec. 23, 2021. AP

"And we do hope that in coming days, in the foreseeable future, this operation will reach its goals or will finish it by the negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegation," Peskov said.

He told Sky News' Mark Austin that "we're living in days of fakes and lies," and charging photos and satellite images of dead civilians in the streets of Ukrainian cities were a "bold fake".

"We deny the Russian military can have something in common with these atrocities and that dead bodies were shown on the streets of Bucha," he said.

He maintained the whole situation in Bucha, where photos show many murdered Ukrainian civilians, was a "well-staged insinuation, nothing else."

Asked by Sky News to reveal how many civilians have died since the war began on 24 February, Peskov said he did not want to answer as the numbers were not "double confirmed".

Peskov insisted it was not a war but a "special military operation" that was necessary because, he said, Ukraine has been an "anti-Russian centre" since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

He admited to Sky News: "We have significant losses of troops and it's a huge tragedy for us".

On NATO, he said "We have to rebalance the situation and we have to take additional measures to ensure our own security because we're deeply convinced that NATO is a machine for confrontation, it's not a peaceful alliance."

"It was tailored for confrontation and the main purpose for its existence is to confront our country," Peskov charged.

He added that if Finland and Sweden joined NATO Russia would have to "make our Western flank more sophisticated in terms of ensuring our security."

"Everything is about mutual deterring and should one side - and we consider NATO to be one side - be more powerful than the other, especially in terms of nuclear arms, then it will be considered a threat for the whole architecture of security and it will take us to take additional measures," he said.

Peskov accused in the interview Boris Johnson of not being constructive in his criticisms of Russia.

"He's very loud in his rhetoric about Russia from the beginning of the operation, he's rather not constructive in his attitude," he said.

"We've never heard any similar rhetoric from Boris Johnson in the last eight years."

"When people were killed in Donbas by Ukrainian nationalists, when they were heavily bombarded and shelled by heavy artillery, we have never heard a word coming from Mr Johnson."

Peskov shut down in the interview any suggestion Mr Putin would appear in a war crimes court, as Mr Johnson has called for, simply saying: "We don't see any possibility for that, we don't consider it to be realistic."

He told Austin Russia withdrew from the Ukrainian regions of Kyiv and Chernihiv as an act of "goodwill" after the two cities were hounded for weeks by Russian troops.

"It was a goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations," he stressed.

On Mariupol, which is in the Donetsk region Russia has claimed as its own, Peskov told Austin it was going to be "liberated from nationalistic battalions - we hope it will happen sooner rather than later."

Peskov said Mariupol is part of the "Luhansk people's republic", which Russia recognises as a separate state, and claimed troops were there "to assist those people who were suffering for eight years from heavy shelling from Ukraine."

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