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US seeks to demonize Moscow with claims of crimes against humanity: Russian envoy

Russia’s ambassador to the United States has accused Washington of plotting to demonize Moscow and foment the crisis in Ukraine with allegations of crimes against humanity.

“We regard such insinuations as an unprecedented attempt to demonize Russia in the framework of the hybrid war unleashed against us,” Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in a statement on the Russian Embassy's Telegram messaging platform on Sunday.

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity during its nearly year-long ‘military operation’ against Ukraine and vowed that it will be held accountable for its actions.

Antonov noted that, "There is no doubt that the purpose of such attacks by Washington is to justify its own actions to fuel the Ukrainian crisis."

Friday will mark a year since Russia launched what it calls "a special military operation" to "denazify" and "demilitarise" Ukraine. 

Also at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, accused the West of instigating “deep Russophobia”, saying that Russia had no other choice than war as the conflict is moving into its second year with no end in sight.

“We had no choice other than to defend our country — defend it from you, to defend our identity and our future,” said Nebenzia at the meeting in the council, the only international venue where Russia regularly faces Ukraine and its Western supporters.

In the meeting, US deputy ambassador, Richard Mills, accused Russia of failing to implement “a single commitment it made” in the Minsk agreements while the other signatories — France, Germany, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — “sought to implement them in good faith.”

France ambassador, De Riviere, claimed his country and Germany have worked “tirelessly” since 2015 to promote dialogue between parties, adding that the “difficulties encountered in implementing these agreements can never serve as justification or mitigating circumstances for Russia’s choice to end the dialogue with violence.”

In response, Nebenzia accused the Western nations, including France and Germany, of “holding back” on implementing the Minsk agreements brokered by the two countries to end the conflict between Ukraine and the separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk in the Ukraine's mostly Russian-speaking industrial east that flared in April 2014 after Crimea joined Russia.

“You knew very well that the Minsk process for you is just a smoke screen, so as to rearm the Kiev regime and to prepare it for war against Russia in the name of your geopolitical interest,” Nebenzia said.

The envoy added that the West has no desire to “build a European and Euro-Atlantic security system together with Russia [because] for you such a system can only be aimed against Russia.”

“We have no trust left in you and we are not able of believing any promises you make – not as regards a non-expansion of NATO in the east, or your desire not to interfere in our internal affairs, or your determination to live in peace,” Nebenzia said.

“You have shown that it’s impossible to negotiate with you,” he said. “You’ve shown how treacherous you are by creating on our borders a neo-Nazi, neo-nationalist beehive and then stirring it up.”

The Minsk agreements were a complex series of measures negotiated by Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine in 2014-2015 in a bid to put an end to the armed conflict between the Kiev authorities and the breakaway region of Donbas.

Moscow repeatedly stated that Kiev was not fulfilling the deal by not granting self-government to the Russian-speaking region of Donbas. In February 2022, Russia began the "military operation" to defend the territory from Ukrainian troops.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted he never intended to implement the Minsk agreements. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel also recently acknowledged that Minsk deal was simply “an attempt to give Ukraine time” so that its army could get stronger.

The revelation was confirmed by former French President Francois Hollande, and Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said the Minsk agreement had been nothing but a “diplomatic imitation.”

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