Remarks to the Press by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy on risks of WMD provocations in Ukraine
Dmitry Polyanskiy: Dear colleagues, as you may have noticed, we do our best to keep you updated on the non-proliferation threats in Ukraine.
I will be frank – the situation is very alarming. Our Ministry of Defense keeps collecting information that the Kiev regime backed by the US is preparing staged provocations in order to accuse the Russian Armed Forces of using chemical, biological or tactical nuclear weapons.
There are three possible scenarios.
The first one is a staged incident under a “false flag” - an actual use of chemical or biological weapons resulting in casualties among the civilians. Another option - a staged “Russian sabotage” at those facilities in Ukraine where components of WMD were produced.
We have reasons to believe that this is exactly what Kiev regime and its sponsors are planning to do at the chemical and biological facilities in Kiev and Kharkov. There can be also provocations at the nuclear energy facilities, in particular, Zaporozhie Nuclear Power Plant controlled by the Russian Federation. On April 21, 2022 our Armed Forces countered an attempt by a convoy of 10 motor vehicles to transport dangerous cargo to this NPP. In addition, there are indications that Kiev regime is considering an option of striking the radioactive waste storage facility at the former “Pridneprovsky” chemical plant in the Kamenskoye settlement in the Dnepropetrovsk region.
Unfortunately, this scenario seems to be most probable now. I encourage you to take note of the specific locations so that it does not come as a surprise if an incident happens. We have warned the world about it.
The second scenario is a covert use of WMD by the Kiev regime and radical groups in small volumes for tactical purposes. According to the available information, this was planned to be implemented at the seized “Azovstal” facility. However, the decision of the Russian leadership to cancel the assault compromised these plans.
You cannot fully exclude the third scenario, when the Kiev regime and radical groups use the WMD on the battlefield in case they fail to gain superiority by conventional means. As far as we know, it is an option considered for Slavyansk and Kramatorsk that have been transformed into fortified objects.
I would like to stress – what has long been considered as unthinkable, is now a realistic scenario plotted by the Kiev regime, encouraged and supported by the USA.
There are numerous indications of that. One of them is the hysteria about the possible use of chemical substances deliberately stirred up by the Western media and the Western politicians. On this point, I would like to encourage you to stop and think out of this propagandistic fog of war. Even if we set aside a proven fact that Russia does not possess any chemical or biological weapons, what is the rationale for using them in Ukraine, in the close proximity to the Russian border? Clearly, in the wildest theory, we would gain nothing more than we could get by conventional means.
The only beneficiary here is the Kiev regime and radical groups, which use terror and intimidation of civilians as a method of warfare. They have nothing to lose and they will stop at nothing.
At the same time, the US and its allies has a proven record of using the WMD allegations to assault sovereign countries, which do not want to succumb to their pressure. This is exactly what happened to Syria and Iraq.
There is a clear pattern of how the US-backed groups stage such provocations in other parts of the world. First, a so-called chemical “incident” is orchestrated. Then the pro-Western NGOs, in particular notorious “White Helmets”, who stay on alert nearby, expeditiously arrive at the venue and collect, in violation of all non-proliferation norms and procedures, shaky “evidence”. Then they feed this narrative to the Western media. We all know this methodology.
I can say that the curators of the Kiev regime are not very creative, so they prepare more or less the same scenario for Ukraine. The “White Helmets” instructors are already stationed in Ukraine. You can see it on the news. The USA has been already supplying specific antidotes to toxic substances to Ukraine. In 2022 alone it transferred to Ukraine more than 220 thousand of vials with atropines which is another indication that the preparation of provocations specifically with the use of nerve agents is under way.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that on April 21, 2022, a container with ampules was dropped onto the positions of Russian troops from a drone. It was planned that their destruction would trigger a chemical reaction that would cause an explosion and fire, releasing toxic substances not included in the CWC lists. Laboratory 27 of the Scientific Center of the Russian Ministry of Defense, accredited by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, is analyzing the substances in the ampules. The results of this analysis will be sent to the OPCW Technical Secretariat in line with established practice.
Over the weekend we circulated these materials as an official document of the Security Council. They will be also circulated in the General Assembly.
The world should not be misled once again. This is why we want you to stay on high alert to these warnings.
Let me also stress that disinformation and provocations from Ukraine and its Western sponsors have recently become a trademark of the hostilities in this country. But now it looks that they get trapped in their own lies. You all remember Bucha – a staged and hyped-up case where the West collectively tried to shift the blame to the Russian Army claiming that it is responsible for mass killings of civilians.
However, it has been obvious from the very beginning that it is no more than a crude fake and provocation in Bucha following well-known patterns used by the Nazi in the Second World War. We have presented extensive evidence in this regard.
Some recent publications in Western media indirectly prove that the Russian Army could not have been engaged in this. I would like to specifically draw your attention to the article in The Guardian published over the weekend. It confirms that civilians died from artillery rather than from the shooting, and that many people were killed by artillery with flechettes - metal darts. This busts at least two myths about Bucha – first, that people were shot on the ground and that they were allegedly shot by the Russian military. You do not have to be a military expert to assume that our Army, while staying in Bucha, would not bombard the town where it was stationed. It is ridiculous and makes no sense.
I am absolutely sure that more publications of this kind are to come. Even Kramatorsk is remembered less frequently right now, because it is absolutely clear that this was a provocation against Russian forces.
So we will continue busting more myths. Stay tuned.
Q: A question about Secretary-General’s visit to Moscow tomorrow. President Putin has not engaged with the Secretary-General since this war started. Why has he now agreed to meet with UNSG in Moscow? Is there an opening for a humanitarian ceasefire?
A: As far as I understand, by “war” you mean our special military operation. I do not remember Secretary-General asking for a meeting with President Putin before.
Q: I believe he [Secretary-General] tried to speak with him on the phone.
A: Not to my knowledge. But I may be missing something.
Q: So why has he agreed to meet with him now? Is there an opening for a humanitarian ceasefire?
A: Secretary-General asked [for a meeting], and the President accepted. It is very simple: you ask – we accept. You don’t ask – we don’t accept.
Q: Is it time for a ceasefire?
A: I don’t think so.
Q: If Secretary-General asks for a ceasefire, will Russia comply?
A: I think he asked for an Easter ceasefire, and Easter is over now.
Q: So you didn’t comply with this call for an Easter truce. If he asks for a ceasefire when he goes to Moscow, will Russia comply and end this war?
A: We are not supposed to comply with calls. People comply with orders, but not with calls.
There was a call for a ceasefire, and we opened humanitarian corridors, which Ukraine does not use. Besides, Ukraine is ocmpromising our efforts to open these corridors.
We don’t think that ceasefire is a good option right now. The only advantage it will present is that it will give Ukrainian forces a possibility to regroup and stage more provocations like the one in Bucha. It is not up to me to decide, but I do not see any reason in this right now. Everyone willing to get evacuated (e.g. from Mariupol) has an opportunity to do so thanks to humanitarian corridors. They were opened again today. Ukrainians claimed that there were some civilians in “Azovstal” but they didn’t let them go. Frankly, I see no logic in this.
Q: Turkey has offered to serve as a guarantor. Is there any chance that Russia would accept that in terms of a ceasefire?
A: I am not aware of any details of this.
Q: Is there a role for the UN in any ceasefire?
A: There is a role for anybody who can really convince Ukraine to adopt decisions that will be for the benefit of this country. But there is no role for anybody who would try to use ceasefires to strengthen positions of the Ukrainian army and stage more provocations – either directly or not.
Q: Just to be clear. What you just said was you don’t think it is the moment for a ceasefire, was it not?
A: It is not up to me to decide. I explained the reasoning. We saw initiatives on ceasefire which resulted in two provocations – in Bucha and Kramatorsk. So I do not see any reason to believe in sincerity of the other side anymore. But again, it is the Ministry of Defense and Presidential Administration that will decide.
A: Can we get your reaction to some of the latest comments by the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken. He has said that Russia has failed in the aims of its war. Do you agree with that? Could you perhaps remind us what are the aims?
Q: I am not aware of any war that we waged. I am aware of a special military operation.
A: The war that has happened in Ukraine for the last two months since you invaded the country.
A: War is not what we waged. War is what we are trying to stop. War is what has been there for 8 years already.
Q: Have you failed in your aims? Since you seem to have completely changes your strategy, what are your aims?
A: First of all, as we said from the very beginning, our aim is to spare as many civilians as we can. Since nationalist battalions are using them as human shields, of course we have to adapt our strategy. We do not act as Americans did in Raqqa and Mosul. We do not want to erase cities from the surface of the Earth.
Q: You adapted your strategy because you failed so badly militarily?
A: Do you mean we failed to kill as many people as Secretary Blinken would like us to kill? I do not get your logic.
Q: Your attempt to take Kiev seems to have failed miserably. Is that why you adapted your strategy?
A: I do not think we failed anything. Our special military operation – it is not a war – has its own aims and strategy. It was never meant as a “Blitzkrieg”. Maybe it is something Secretary Blinken was imagining. It’s really very difficult to comment on his remarks, because they are very contradictory.
Q: Those countries who criticize Palestine and condone Israeli occupation, calling it self-defense, do they have the moral authority to criticize Russia for what it is doing in Ukraine?
A: If you specifically mean Western countries, they have no moral authority to criticize Russia after all the crimes that they committed in many parts of the world. I would not link it directly to Palestine, but there are a lot of examples of those countries committing terrible crimes. So of course they have no moral authority.
Q: Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov met today with the US Ambassador in Moscow. Is this a beginning of the end of this military operation or just a routine meeting?
A: Do you think every time our Deputy Foreign Minister meets a US Ambassador is an end to something? I do not think so. It was a routine meeting. We had certain things to tell our American colleagues. You know that channels for dialogue are very limited right now. So we have to use every one of them. I do not think anything will change in our strategy.
Q: We have heard accusations from both Russia and the West on the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine. If there is such an attack, would Russia agree to OPCW inspectors going in straight away to determine how the attack happened and who was responsible?
A: If it depended on me, I have no credibility in the OPCW after what happened in Syria and all these things. But in any case, we would document it. I told you about the ampules, so we will need to see what was the substance used there. Of course, we will share it with the OPCW Secretariat. But the OPCW Secretariat proved to be absolutely pro-Western, anti-Russian and anti-Syrian. So I do not think it would be a constructive engagement. But I hope there will be no chemical provocations. The more vocal we make it, the fewer chances there are that these provocations would be committed.
Q: Your country launched bombs in Odessa on Friday. I do not understand the logic of this offensive in the eastern part of the country.
A: If you looked in the details, you would see that rockets that hit residential buildings in Odessa were not launched by Russia, and it was confirmed. They were from Ukrainian air defense. The Ukrainians fired and they missed the target, which happens unfortunately. Russia was striking other military targets with high precision weapons. To my knowledge, we do not strike anything else in Odessa.