Russia Ukraine conflict

Moscow accuses West of aiming to destroy Russia

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday accused the West of wanting to inflict a lasting defeat against Moscow and lashed out against EU chief Ursula von der Leyen as she visited Kyiv.

“Ursula von der Leyen... said that the outcome of the war should be the defeat of Russia, the kind of defeat that for decades, for many decades, Russia cannot restore its economy,” Lavrov said in comments aired on Russian state television.

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“Is this not racism, not Nazism -- not an attempt to solve ‘the Russian question’,” Lavrov added, evoking Russia’s victory against Nazi Germany in World War II.

The European Commission chief announced she had arrived in Kyiv with a team of commissioners and the bloc’s most senior diplomat earlier on Thursday, a day before a Ukraine-EU summit in the war-torn country.

In recent weeks, von der Leyen has said that Europe must prevail in the face of Russia’s aggression and that unprecedented EU sanctions have left its economy facing a “decade of regression.”

Last week, the French foreign ministry denied that France or its allies were fighting a war against Russia, following a Western decision to send heavy tanks to Ukraine.

“The crucial part is we do it together and we do not do the blame game in Europe because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on January 25.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has frequently drawn parallels between what he calls Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine and the war against Nazi Germany.

He launched the conflict in Ukraine in February last year with the announced aim of “de-Nazifying” the country.

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