Embassy denies Russia targeting cities and civilians, describes conflict as a ‘special operation’
Says: "The operation is conducted to protect the citizens of Donetsky People’s Republic and the citizens of Lugansky People’s Republic from constant attacks, which are carried out by the Kyiv regime punishers."
Police officers stand guard at a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, where a military shell allegedly hit, on February 25, 2022. – Invading Russian forces pressed deep into Ukraine as deadly battles reached the outskirts of Kyiv, with explosions heard in the capital early Friday that the besieged government described as “horrific rocket strikes”. The blasts in Kyiv set off a second day of violence after Russian President Vladimir Putin defied Western warnings to unleash a full-scale ground invasion and air assault that quickly claimed dozens of lives and displaced at least 100,000 people. (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV / AFP)
The Russian embassy in South Africa has kept to the Kremlin’s line of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine – and says the presence or Russian armed forces in the country is “not an attack or an intended occupation but a special military operation” meant to “demilitarise” the country and “clear it of Nazis”.
“The operation is conducted to protect the citizens of Donetsky People’s Republic and the citizens of Lugansky People’s Republic from constant attacks, which are carried out by the Kyiv regime punishers,” Alexander Arefiev, the press attaché of the Embassy of Russia in South Africa, said.
According to the embassy, Russia had been trying for eight years to convince Ukraine authorities “to stop these inhuman attacks against the civilians – children, women and the elderly”, in the Donbas region.
Russia tried to convince the Western capitals to use their influence over Kyiv to stop the atrocities and yet there was no response, he said. Instead, he claimed, some Western countries rejected the idea that there was genocide being committed by Ukraine in the Donbas region since 2014, when an “unconstitutional coup” occurred in the capital.
The attitude of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and the statement issued by US President Joe Biden calling for the world to condemn Russian “aggression” and their announcements of sanctions was another example of the West’s pushing its line of confrontation, according to the press attaché.
“Nato have always been aggressive and this is pushing their line further, nothing new in that, unfortunately.”
Regarding claims that civilians were being targeted and allegations by the Ukrainian Association of South Africa that there was panic in the country after people witnessed Russia’s shelling of the towns, the embassy said these claims were false “because the civil infrastructure, civilians and cities were not targeted” by the Russian army and the forces of Lugansky and Donetsky republics.
“Only the Ukrainian military infrastructure are targeted and no civilian structures and no civilians were attacked.”