Russia trusts reports about US’ non-involvement in attempted Wagner rebellion

MOSCOW (AA) : Russia has said reports claiming the US has nothing to do with the attempted rebellion of the Wagner paramilitary group are “quite reliable and plausible.”

“We have reason to believe reports alleging that when it all started, or even the day before that, the Department of State rushed to instruct its foreign missions to refrain from commenting on this situation so that no one could argue that the US was somehow involved,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Russian TV channel Pervy Kanal late on Wednesday evening.

He said that according to information at his disposal, Washington also asked Kyiv to refrain from using the opportunity to stage any acts of sabotage in Russia amid the Wagner mutiny.

“I cannot guarantee 100% the accuracy of these reports, but they were quite reliable and plausible,” he said.

Asked about possible reasons of Washington’s position, Lavrov said it can be fear for the fate of nuclear weapons.

The top diplomat doubted remarks by US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who said the US does not interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs and does not intend to carry out a coup in Russia.

“There were American foundations and nongovernmental organizations working in Russia just a few years ago. What did they do here? They went to great lengths to court and train the opposition. I do not think that we need to go into details on this subject,” he said.

Lavov also said he believes that the West would have turned against any country that would challenge its domination.

Russia is the target of the Western sanctions because of these reasons and also to “teach a lesson” to China, which is seen as a strategic threat, he argued.

The foreign minister declined accusations of Russia’s fault in undermining the strategic stability, pointing out that three of four most important arms control agreements were terminated by the US – the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Treaty on Open Skies and the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces.

He also called Ukraine “the West’s bullet” and “a tool of waging war” against Russia, insisting the conflict would not have happened if the West had not intervened and supported a “coup” in Ukraine in 2014.

Commenting on Ukraine’s “peace formula,” Lavrov said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demands Russia’s capitulation, and with this statement of the question there can be no space for any “flexibility” on behalf of Moscow.

He also criticized the double-dealing approach to African and Asian countries, which are invited to support separate point of Ukraine’s “peace formula,” which then will be turned into full support of the entire document.

From the West there has not been any serious proposals for peace talks, he said.

In his address at the Group of 20 summit in mid-November, Zelenskyy said Kyiv has its own “plan for achieving peace” consisting of 10 points, which he named “a peace formula.” Under the plan, Russia has to withdraw its troops from all Ukraine’s territories, pay reparations, the country’s authorities have to appear in a specially established military tribunal while the West has to provide Ukraine with security guarantees.

Lavrov argued that the US cannot be named “the most powerful state” because it did not have success in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Vietnam, and cannot even establish a functioning system in Haiti, although it has been assisting this state for over 100 years.

He also welcomed Washington’s unwillingness to start a nuclear war, stressing that “no one wants it (nuclear war).”