In a recent interview with Russia 1 TV channel, Russian government spokeswoman Maria Zakharova exposes the direct, murderous threats that were leveled at the Russian government and military by Western politicians, in particular officials from the US State Department, including John Kerry.
(Those outside of the U.S. may be able to view the video on YouTube.)
Zakharova cites statements made at private discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov and John Kerry, and at other high-level meetings, where Russia was directly threatened with “pain” and a “media campaign” to twist the truth of what Russia was doing in Syria:
Zakharova: I’d like to remind you that since October 2015, when Russia’s air campaign to Syria was announced, as an invitation extended to the entire world to united in this struggle – not even our struggle, but a threat to the whole world – I’d like to remind you how events unfolded.
I reviewed many recordings of diplomatic talks from October 2015, and this is what we were told at a high level by Ministers of Foreign Affairs: “We were asked to pass on to you the most serious of warnings: Russia is going to be hurting. They will make sure that Russia truly feels what pain is. Keep this in mind.” And this came from diplomats during a diplomatic round of discussions.
[They said,] “Keep in mind that everything you do in reality will be manipulated by a media campaign, which will cancel out the results of your work. You’re going to fight terrorists? You will look like the aggressor.”
This was said in October/November 2015 [i.e., the first 2 months of Russia’s air campaign in Syria]. After they failed to scare us —
Solovyov: Was this during the famous talks between Kerry and Lavrov?
Zakharova: I can’t directly quote anyone because the talks were closed to the media. I can only say that such words were delivered to us not once, but throughout much of October , as part of the discussions of Russia’s Representative of Foreign Affairs and his international counterparts. I’m talking about Sergey Lavrov’s colleagues, who attribute themselves to be from the most forward and civilized of countries.
So we’re not talking about someone who just recently barged into the world of foreign affairs. We are talking about people who constitute the world’s elite. They told us these words.
What happened after that? After it became clear just how openly, transparently, and on which precise targets Russia’s Airforce was working, and how perfectly Russia’s personnel were carrying out commands, then began the direct disinformation campaign that discredited our actions. Well, the media is one thing, but I’d like to remind you: The U.S. State Department and the White House, from the mouths of their official representatives, directly threatened to cause us pain.
So, those words that were said in October 2015 behind closed doors were then delivered publicly. You remember the promised ‘graves’ and ‘coming home in body bags’. This was said by all: the U.S. Secretary of Defense, not only diplomatic representatives. Then all of this was regurgitated into the media, as a result of closed-door discussions in Washington. But then they went even further. Official Foreign Affairs representatives began to call upon their people to come out and protest in front of Russian embassies.
Solovyov: Yes, I remember that, the words of Britain’s Foreign Secretary.
Zakharova: Yes, just one example. He is seen as somewhat of a marginal character in terms of foreign policy, or politics as a whole, and his words may not hold as much weight as some more experienced officials, but nevertheless he said those words. These words, within a matter of weeks, were converted into specific actions.
He wasn’t the only one to call for protests outside Russian embassies. He is only that which was in the public eye. All [anti-Russian] campaigns over the past couple years have been supported by official Ministries of Foreign Affairs of other states, either financially or by other creative means.
That which began in October 2015 ended with the murder of our ambassador in December 2016.
I’ll remind you of one more thing – we’ve talked about this. Let’s remember the real attacks, not those campaigns with plastic arms and legs in London or posters in front of our embassies in the EU, but the shelling of the Russian Embassy in Damascus. Russia’s official representative [to the UN], Vitaly Churkin, would always pose this question at the UN Security Council. Who were the people who blocked these questions? It was the very same people who, through the mouths of their official representatives, promised that we would “feel pain”. It was the very same people who, in collaboration with the mainstream media, deliberated how to truly hurt Russia. They blocked all statements by our representatives to the Security Council who condemned the attacks on Russia’s diplomatic representatives.
Solovyov: When our ambassador was killed, Trump sent his words of sympathy, the U.S. State Department did also, but Obama personally did not. Is this in line with international protocol? Or is this an attempt at insulting us?
Zakharova: Obama, I think, is a unique person. I’m only talking about foreign policy, because domestic policy is for Americans, and it is only U.S. citizens who should have the right to assess it. But Obama is a person – and I mean the whole administration under him – whose team, as it worked out on the international arena, was bad for everyone. I think during his 8-year term – under the pretext of ‘exclusivity’ – they became the subject of disgust for the entire world. That’s my impression.
They did not deliver on any responsibilities they had to other nations, nor did they deliver on what the American people entrusted to them, on the international arena. This is an obvious thing. And the main thing – of course, I am not a lawyer or a human rights activist – but from a moral point of view, they have committed crimes. They showed us that the strongest [military] has unlimited rights to create evil [in the world]. That’s what is going to go down in history for this administration.
Let me say it again: they demonstrated the belief that the strongest has the right to create evil.
This is in the 21st century! We’re not in the Middle Ages, we’re not in antiquity, this is today.
Solovyov: I’d just like to confirm the facts. So Obama personally did not send condolences [for the ambassador’s murder]?
Zakharova: I can’t say. I know that we received genuine words from our colleagues in the State Department, I can confirm that. We received an immense amount of letters, and between 19-20 December had to announce that we cannot acknowledge each message and call at a high level. A lot of them we couldn’t answer as we also had to tend to the real practical steps of the investigation. We had to send investigators as well as other urgent steps, etc. So words of sympathy were said by many, but what Obama did or didn’t–
You know the question is not over what he said now, but what he and his team have done over the past eight years. I emphasize the team that surrounded him in the White House. I think we’re going to find out a lot. Give it six months to a year. We’re going to find out a lot about the real under-the-carpet struggle that took place there, between those who understood at least something about foreign affairs – that [the U.S.] is leading the world into a dead end – versus those who pursued these mindless policies, illogical for all of us.
No matter who I’ve talked to, I’ve never met anyone who said, “These guys are doing great, they’re doing the right thing!”
Solovyov: Where have they ever done right?