An adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stressed that Western countries left Russia with no choice other than to launch a military operation in Ukraine as they failed to honor their commitments and the US-led NATO kept expanding eastward.
According to Syria’s official news agency (SANA), Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with Syria's al-Ikhbariyah TV channel that the Russian military operation was “a necessary step” to preserve Russia’s national security and interests.
She emphasized that the West left Russia with no other option in Ukraine after it reneged on its commitments not to expand NATO eastward.
Assad’s aide attributed the current crisis in Ukraine to decades of accumulation of tensions in the Russia-West relationship.
She added that when former US President George H. W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker led negotiations with the former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev on the entry of United Germany into NATO, Moscow accepted the admission under the condition that “NATO does not move one inch eastward”, but it has since expanded to include 30 member countries.
Shaaban also referred to the misleading coverage of the conflict in Western media, saying “Moscow can’t accept that Kiev becomes a member of NATO” or that its neighbor hosts nuclear weapons “because that means the destruction of Russia.”
The Russian military campaign came to “avoid a greater loss”, she added.
The adviser also questioned whether Washington would accept a similar scenario in which its neighbor, Mexico, joins a military alliance with Russia.
Noting that US sanctions against countries such as Russia and Syria violate international law, Shaaban said that it is therefore “unacceptable” that Western countries speak about a Russian violation of international law.
She also expressed hope that the Ukraine conflict would herald a “global transformation” for the benefit of the nations and the end of the last stage of “the colonial mindset” and that the crisis would push the people to recognize the urgent need for a new global system that respects the sovereignty of the countries and ties between them.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at the “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in eastern Ukraine.
The regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.
More than 14,000 people have been killed so far across the regions as a result of the conflict that ensued between the Ukrainian military and the pro-Russian separatists.
Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”