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Welcome to this program. My name is Glenn Diesen. I'm joined by Alexander McCurries from the Duran. Our guest today at UN in New York is Dimitri Polansky, who serves as first deputy, permanent representative of Russia to the United Nations. Welcome, sir.


My pleasure. Good to see you.


Yeah, it's a great privilege to have you on us. I think most people are very unfamiliar with Russia's position. I always said that at least during the Cold War, we were familiar with Moscow's perspective, but these days there's very little understanding, largely because of the censorship of Russian media, but also from personal experience, I can say any efforts to even explain Russia's position can very easily result in censorship and cancelation. So I think it's a great privilege and opportunity for people to become more familiar with the Russian perspective. So we have a few topics we really wanted to discuss, so I thought we'd just jump into it. We can start with, I guess, the most pressing problem, which is the conflict in Ukraine. Well, diplomacy obviously has failed completely, resulting in war and little efforts to end it. I was just wondering, how did we end up here and how do you see the undermining of diplomacy? And has all paths to peace, solar resolution been exhausted at this point?


Well, Glenn, you're absolutely right. Diplomacy has failed, and you know that there is a rule. Then when diplomats stop talking, then the military men and the cannons start speaking, and that's what we see right now. I think that this crisis was looming for many, many years, evidently at least from the legal anti-constitutional coup in Kyiv in 2014. But my perception is that it started looming even earlier than this when it was absolutely clear that the West, particularly the United States, are keen to make Ukraine a tool of their geopolitical game against Russia in their efforts to weaken Russia. Now they speak, at least not so loudly, but they used to do it quite recently. They speak about inflicting strategic defeat on Russia, which is, of course, wishful thinking and absolutely futile exercise, but they haven't given it up completely. Ukraine had a very serious role to play. But it all started, my perception, back at the beginning of the year 2000s maybe, I can recall the famous Vladimir Putin's speech in Munich in 2007, where he actually highlighted all the dangers that are facing right now. He made a very clear warning and a very clear picture of our position, of our approaches, of our red lines.


One of our red lines, of course, was the encroachment of NATO to the east. We were absolutely vocal about it from the outset. It's not that we started to speak about it recently. No, that's not true. We were speaking about it even in the 90s. Even Boris Yeltsin was not happy about this because he was aware of the promises that were made to Soviet leaders and to Russian leaders about the fate of NATO. Actually, what was on the table at that time was some a new security architecture for the world and for Europe in particular, where NATO, as far as I can guess, was destined to become part of a bigger organization, bigger structure, something like OEC plus, where Russia would play an equal role and would have a stake in this common European security. This was very understandable concept, very logical. After the end of the Cold War, when the Warsaw Pact was dismantled and it was absolutely clear that NATO doesn't have anymore the adversary. Actually, when the Soviet leaders were acting in good faith by dismantling Eastern Bloc. They were also accounting on the adequate response from the West. But the West was only paying lip service to this, but it never did anything concrete.


Nato continued to expand, Russia's interests continued to be ignored. There were attempts of interfering into Russian internal politics. It's enough to recall the conflict in Chechnya, what was the Western role behind this conflict? We all know about this. It came to the moment when President Putin in 2007 in Munich made a very clear warning to the West that if we are heading this way, then we will have inevitably problems. Then it all started. You remember about Georgia, about Mikhail Saakashvili, about all the things that happened afterwards, several attempts in Ukraine. On top of this, of course, is illegal Maidan coup in 2014, when the pro-American Kyiv regime was installed and absolutely sacrificed all the country's national interests for the sake of US just to teach your geopolitical and geopolitical interests. We were warning about the fact that the crisis is about to become very hot. Actually, it was very hot. It was hot in the east of Ukraine. You remember that the Kyiv regime started so-called counterterrorist operation, which was in fact the attempt to exterminate dissent at the east of the country to make those who were not agreeing with the new regime to make them shut up.


It was done with the help of arms, with the help of tanks, with the help of bombs. They have been bombing the Eastern part of Ukraine, Donbas, for eight years before we started our special military operation. We made several attempts to bring the situation back to the peaceful route. You remember, Minz agreements, Minz I, Minz II. Minz agreements, as many people accept right now in Ukraine, was the best chance for this country to reunify. That it was a clear path, what to do, how to do it. It was nothing extraordinary. It was no capitalation of Ukraine. It was just a number of actions which is normal for any democratic free state. They just needed to give to the people in the east of the country the same rights as to the others. These rights included the right, of course, to speak their own language, to give education to their children in their own language, to retain their cultural and historic identity. I don't think it's something that is extraordinary in any democratic world. I don't know. Look at Belgium, for example, look at Switzerland. Can you imagine that one part of Belgium, like Flemish part, would be oppressing French part, saying that they are not eligible of speaking in their own language?


What would be the reaction in Paris, for example, or other countries, or Switzerland? It's even more than this. If you look at Ukraine, you will see that even today, almost virtually every Ukrainian speaks Russian, and majority of Ukrainians have Russian as Meditan, Meditan, Meditan. You can imagine the scope of all this madness that is being happening in Ukraine, all this oppression of Russian-speaking population, of all these attempts to exterminate their own identity, which has always been interlinked with Russian identity, to put it mildly. Some people would say that it's even the same identities. We warned that this crisis was looming when the West was absolutely sabotaging the implementation of Minz agreements when the Kif regime said that it was not going to implement Minz agreements and when Zelensky hinted that Ukraine is about to think about acquiring nuclear weapons again. That was, of course, something that we couldn't tolerate. We proposed draft treaties on European security to NATO and to the US, but they were condescendably rejected. Then I think that it was the only way for us to proceed. It was not our choice. We are not happy about what's happening. It's a big tragedy for both countries, but it's the only way to solve this problem once and for all, and it's the only way to chase United States and its allies away from this territory.


This is in a nutshell what's my perception and maybe we can discuss some more details.


Well, thank you for that. Can I just say that the whole idea of trying to inflict a strategic defeat upon Russia seems to me to be so astonishing and so incredible that if American spokesman had not been actually speaking about it, including the American Defense Minister, I could not have believed myself that such a strategy would be adopted by the United States. But it was, and I think there is now a general understanding in the United States and in Europe that this policy has failed, that there has been this attempt to do that and it was unsuccessful. Now we sense that there is attempts to try and find some way of ending the war in a way that will enable the United States to claim some victory out of it to preserve face. Now, I was reading today a very interesting interview that your former Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has been giving, which he discusses some of the recent messaging that we're getting from the West. There's also been suggestions that the Russians are actually seeking a ceasefire. There was an article to this effect in The New York Times. Can you just set out for us what the Russian position is about talks at this time?


Because this is something I think that there's a lot of misunderstanding about. If you could clarify what the official Russian position is on talks, that would be really helpful.


Well, first of all, I need to say that there is speculations about the fact that Russia is seeking some backdoor agreements on ceasefire have been already rejected by Dmitri Pesko, the spokesperson of a Russian President. This is, of course, a wishful thinking. This is something that maybe the US is promoting, but we are not paying very much attention, frankly. This is a US problem. They have started this whole thing. They now maybe are thinking of some exit strategy, some off-ramp, as they say here in the United States. What is their problem? Is their headache? We formulated from the outset the goals of our special military operation, demilitarization of Ukraine and denazification of Ukraine were two among them. Demiliterisation, I think, this aim was almost achieved. You see now that in reality, no matter how boastful the Ukrainian politicians could be, in reality, they can't fight without Western weapons and Western assistance. This has been acknowledged. These days there were several statements from Ukrainian politicians saying that if the Western support is not there, then the Ukraine will not be able to withstand, even for several days, will not be able to pay salaries to public serviceman.


What is it? It means that there is a regime which has been propped up by the West, financed by the West. This regime has already squandered several armies of ammunition. Now this regime, like a drug addict, is not capable of survival without life-saving assistance of this type. It means that this is 100% Western project supported by the West, financed by the West, and fighting for Western interests. That's what we were warning from day one. Again, from day one of our special military operation, we were saying that we are not rejecting negotiations. That was our position. It remains the same as per today. It means that if there is a serious approach from the part of Ukraine and its backers to implement the goals of our special military operation by peaceful means, then we are ready to sit and discuss. But there was a very memorable situation and it's now being an important point of reference for many people. It was the negotiations in Istanbul and in Minz in April 2022, immediately after the beginning of our special military operation, when our troops penetrated quite deeply into Ukrainian territory. You remember that they were near Kyiv.


Then the negotiations were conducted quite successfully and there was a draft deal initialed in Istanbul. It means that it wasn't signed, but it means that the negotiators at their level at the referendumate adopted this arrangement. It was up to Kyiv to take the political decision and to sign this treaty. The treaty was advantageous for Ukraine and it was recently acknowledged by one of the participants, by Ukrainian diplomat, Charlie. There are also a lot of testimonies from different politicians that Ukraine withdraw from these negotiations, well, let's put it mildly under the influence of the UK and the US, which somehow managed to convince Zelensky that he is capable to win with the help of Western weapons. He made this absolutely foolish and fatal mistake to reject the deal that was on the table and to start fighting Russia seriously with the help of Western arms, accounting on the Western support. Maybe he was having in mind the situation that the West will introduce its own troops to Ukraine. I don't know what he was calculating. It's his problem. But in reality, he absolutely missed this best chance for peace ever. I need also to remind to those who are watching that now Ukraine is boasting, for example, that it has pushed our troops from Kyiv and there was a battle for Kyiv.


But let's recall the situation, the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv from, I would say, 30% maybe of the territories that was taken in the first days of the war. What's the gesture of goodwill? It was announced like this that because of the progress at our associations to show our goodwill, we are withdrawing from Kyiv, from Sumi, from Chernihiv, and from other regions. Now they are presenting this as a strategic mistake for Ukrainian troops. It was not. They were absolutely surprised by this move and they were not even believing that this was serious. They were, of course, incapable of fighting back with their military force at this moment. But nevertheless, our troops were withdrawn back to our frontier. What happened then? Ukraine not only rejected the negotiations, but also President Zelensky, in the fall of last year, adopted a decree through Vitorovna rada, the Parliament, which literally prohibits him of entering any negotiations with current Russian government. It means that any negotiations, any speculations about negotiations from the part of Ukraine may lead service because they can't enter into any negotiation with Russia with this bill being enforced. Western commentators quite often try to omit this deliberately, saying that there are no serious Russian proposals for negotiations.


Well, there was one in Istanbul. They rejected it. Now, everything that we heard from Ukraine was ultimatum. Russia is returning back to the frontier of 1991. We shouldn't forget about the fact that there are our people living there. These regions have made their choice to become part of Russia. Ukrainian regime was warning about some guerrilla warfare that will start there after, as they put it, Russian aggression. What kindsof a guerillas are there? There are only Ukrainian sabotage groups which are being penetrating this territory and this is being discovered by local population, which is quite loyal to Russia and which is absolutely not willing that Russia leaves this territory. Also in the bordering areas, it's also quite obvious that the support towards Russia is too high. Ukraine is trying to do something to evacuate these people forcefully, but they don't want to leave. They are waiting for Russian troops to arrive. That's the reality. How can we abandon these people? How can we just trade them off and saying that, Guys, it's happened like this that because of because of the, we want to give you back to Ukraine and you will again be assimilated forcefully and all your rights will be violated and breached by Kyiv regime and we'll just sit there, idle, and look at what's happening.


How can we do it? Any deal should encompass several points. It's quite clear. So denazification is one of them. We don't want to have at our borders a state which praises Hitler collaborators as heroes. But they're in. People who have blood on their hands, blood of Jews, Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, by the way. How can we tolerate this? We will not tolerate this. If we can achieve these goals through negotiations, if we can achieve the goal of Ukraine being neutral and not threatening us anymore from its territory and pursuing the policy that would answer to the interests of Ukraine and not to the interests of the United States, I can't exclude that there might be some a deal, but I don't see it coming and looming at all. I can assure you that at least from the UN perspective, many people think that something maybe is happening at the UN, backdoor negotiations. Nothing is happening there. Nothing. We only sit there in the Security Council Chamber and are trading barbs and they are being absolutely delirious about describing the situation, not mentioning the Ukrainian representative who is absolutely crazy and Russophobic and has been so even before the start of our special military operations, not helpful at all.


So nothing serious is happening in the UN. I'm not aware of what's happening elsewhere, but I don't see any signs of this. As far as the waning of Western support is concerned, well, we're keeping champagne on ice, of course, so we hear all these reports. But it's not that we will just stop our military operation, which is now in a very, very active phase, and we know that our troops are dominating almost everywhere and there have been very important territorial gains which are being ignored by Western press recently and I think it's only the beginning. We can't stop it and say, Okay, guys, let's sit empty-handed and wait when Ukraine collapses. I am absolutely sure that in January there will be some a deal in the Congress. There will be some the arrangement and there will be more lifeline of help approved by Ukraine. But it will not change the situation drastically because the level of support to Ukraine, which it saw recently, was absolutely unprecedented and it didn't help this country to withstand. It will only make its end more tragic, more, I don't know, it will bring more suffering to the Ukrainian people, but it will not change the course of history.


Well, I think that again, it's my perception that we can compare the situation in Ukraine now with the situation with Nazi Germany, let's say at the end of 1943, maybe beginning of 1944, when the Soviet Army was already on the borders of Soviet Union, pushed away, in most situations, on Nazi troops. But Germany, instead of surrendering and saving a lot of lives and contributing to establishing some security system in Europe, Germany decided to sacrifice its own population. Hitler was absolutely misleading their own public. A lot of Germans after that, after the victory of Russia, were very much, I would say, devastated by the news about concentration camps. They said that they are not knowing about concentration camps. I think that in the same way, a lot of Ukrainians will be devastated by the news of what really happened in Donbas during these eight years. I am sure that many of them are not aware of this. They are absolutely brainwasheded by the propaganda. Now the Zelensky regime has the same choice as Nazi Germany back then to stop it and to save a lot of his countrymen or to sacrifice almost everybody, and of course, to sacrifice the future of his country.


I don't want to speculate here, but I think it's obvious to everyone that this is a moment of truth and destiny for Ukraine right now. You see right now also how common Ukrainian citizens are reacting to what's happening in the country, how enthusiastic they are in terms of fighting for the Lensky regime, in terms of this conscription, which is being called conscription to the grave in the country. You see the long queues of Ukrainians trying to get their passports and all the documents before this law on force for mobilization enters into force. This is the most important thing. This is the decisive factor, the level of support and not the amount of arms delivered or not delivered and money delivered or not delivered, it's absolutely playing no crucial role. It will delay our victory, but it will not derail it. That's my perception.


I wanted to switch gears to another war, which is in Gaza. Of course, Russia has an important voice there as well. I was just wondering what is the diplomatic maneuvering or what are the main challenges for a ceasefire? Do I see it and what is the stand of Russia?


Well, there is only one obstacle for the UN and for international community in this situation, and this obstacle is the position of the United States. United States is covering its strategic ally in the Middle East at any price, at the price of its own reputation. The US has already used Veto three times in the Security Council showing that they are not ready to accept any product, any Security Council resolution which would compromise Israeli plans on the ground. This is quite obvious. The latest situation, which was I think, last week when we agreed to resolution number 2720, we tried to introduce there an amendment which was vetoed by the United States with a clear demand to humanitarian cease-fire because that is the thing that is being most needed on the ground, and it's not our opinion, it's the opinion of Secretary General of humanitarian agencies is quite clear that it's impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance and to help those in need in Qatar when there are hostilities on the ground. But the US introduced very sly formula which is about a need to create conditions leading to the sustainable cessation of hostilities. Can you imagine how tricky this formula is?


Of course, it's being interpreted in Israel that what it is doing, it is creating conditions for sustainable cessation of hostilities. We absolutely, from the outset, exposed this sly thinking behind this amendment and we would have vetoed this draft. But Arabic countries were asking us very much not to do it and to abstain because the second part of this resolution implied a very serious humanitarian delivery aid control mechanism. But we are very skeptical, frankly, because again, this mechanism will not work without a cease-fight. That's quite clear. There is no mechanism that would help, no humanitarian mechanism which will help the cousins on the ground when they are being shelled and killed in such big quantities and numbers. Absolutely, the work of Security Council is paralyzed because of the United States, because of its veto, and the US is absolutely isolated in terms of Security Council. I think even the UK is not ready to follow the US in this case. If you take the wider UN membership, you will see that the latest resolution of the General Assembly got 153 countries supporting it and only a handful opposing, like 10 countries, most of them very close allies of the United States.


This is a very deafening isolation on the international arena that the US is facing now in the Security Council. Of course, they are very much interested to change the situation, but so far they are not interested. They're not capable of doing anything that would prevent Israel from implementing its aims in Georgia, fortunately.


We're coming up, I think, to our time. If you will allow me just one further question, which is about the fact that you mentioned that the United States, that there's no secret diplomacy going on between Russia and the United States and the Security Council. We've heard the same thing, by the way, from others. There is, in fact, no secret diplomacy of any kind going on between Russia and the West. But what about your partners, the Brick States, which is a subject we become very interested in? At the Security Council, do you work closely with the Chinese, the Brazilians who are now on the Security Council? Do you meet with their teams? Do you discuss resolutions together? Do you work on resolutions together? Is there that coordination taking place at the present time within the Bricks, working at the Security Council? Because we have been impressed, the two of us, by how actually how effective a lot of the work in the Security Council and in the General Assembly has been since the start of the gas crisis, despite the fact that there is this obstacle with the United States.


Well, of course, we have a very high degree of coordination and we have a lot of like-minded states, especially on the gas issue in the UN and in the Security Council. That's absolutely clear. It's not only the Briggs countries. There are a lot of other countries who clearly understand that the real intention of the US and Western foreign policy in this region. They also see the blatant double standards because what's happening in the gas, if it's compared to the Ukraine, to the situation in Ukraine, well, the striking difference is quite obvious. There was a piece of news recently that at the beginning of the crisis in Israel, the hot stage of the crisis, about 4,000 Ukrainian refugees decided to return to Ukraine saying that Ukraine is much safer than Israel, not Gaza, but Israel. Can you imagine all these absolutely false narratives that West is being promoted about the cruel character of our war against civilian population? We were saying that we are targeting military infrastructure and sites linked to the potential, military and industrial potential of Ukraine. It's quite clear that in terms of Ukraine, the Western countries are crying wolf. In terms of in terms of Gaza, they're absolutely silent.


They are not calling for Security Council meetings. They are not exposing the atrocities that Israel is committing. They are quite tepid, let's put it this way, to any condemnation of Israel's action. Yes, their position is evolving, but very, very slowly and I would say absolutely unwillingly. These double standards has pushed a lot of our colleagues to better understanding the position of Russia and aligning with Russia and even in the Security Council, when we proposed this amendment on ceasefire, we got the immediate support of 10 Security Council members, something that was absolutely unimaginable several months ago. A lot of countries from the global south are now understanding quite better our reasoning behind this confrontation with the West, provoked by the West. We see it in the gas and crisis in the most vivid colors. The West has shown its true colors in the Western crisis. Now they see its true colors also in the crisis in Ukraine. That helps us to coordinate, that helps us to formulate our positions. Again, the West is very much isolated, especially the United States now in Security Council and in General Assembly.


I think that, Ambassador, because you've been very generous with your time and I know you're on the tie and.


Always- Maybe last question and then I will go on.


The question.


Right, okay.


Well, I guess my question would be given that the West and Russia has this conflict which has escalated to this extent. What is the state of diplomacy at the moment? Can you reach any common views on even basics like international law? How do you see the main challenges there at the United Nations?


The main challenges is that everything that is linked to legality and everything that is linked to international law, international humanitarian law. In case of Russia-Ukraine conflict and actions of the Kyiv regime is being thrown under the bus. That's the problem. Again, it's also obvious in terms of Gaza. This is undermining very much the position of the West, the promotion of so-called democratic values that the West is trying to do. You also mentioned, Glenn, at the beginning of our conversation, the absolutely outrageous situation with the freedom of speech and freedom of information. I'm not speaking only about the punitive and dictatorial character of the Kiv regime. I'm speaking about the situation when any truths that you are trying to promote, any other different opinion that you're trying to promote now about the situation in Ukraine or even the situation in Russia is immediately being labeled as Russian propaganda. You are being labeled as conspiracy theorist and Putin apologist and whatever you name it. It means that there is absolutely clear censorship in the West for any information that is different from the official narrative. This is something that reminds me of the worst times of the Soviet Union when there was only one opinion and any other opinion was absolutely illegal.


The West is very close to this situation and this is quite obvious. That's why so many people right now at the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis have been reaching out to us, to me personally, saying that they don't have any platform to express their views, to promote their opinion, to defend their position. That's why a lot of independent journalist experts used our invitation to speak before the Security Council during official meetings and they promoted very important facts, important information, because Security Council so far remains maybe one of very few platforms which is totally uncensored, where nothing that we would say is being censored or being distorted, or tempered or doctorate. So it's our direct speech. We can bring forward our position. We may be criticized for this, but at least we can say whatever we want to say and this position is being archived and it is being accessible to everybody. Everything else is very questionable and in many situations it can be risky for those people who are trying to speak the truth, to challenge the public narrative. It can be very risky for them. Well, let's remember, Gonzala Lira, the US citizen who is being detained by the Kyiv regime right now and the US is not doing anything to save this brave man.


It can happen to anybody and everybody. A lot of people, by the way, a lot of foreigners are seeking asylum in Russia right now. It's not in tents, it's in hundreds, if not in thousands of people who are trying to get asylum in Russia and who are saying that they feel more safe, more free in Russia in expressing their opinion and they are not fearful of their life and their dignity in my country. That's very good sign for me, but very bad sign for the West.


Well, thank you again for your time. It will be very much appreciated. I understand you have a meeting there at the European Security Council quite soon. Thank you, guys. We will let you go. Exactly.


Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Take care. Bye.