Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Russia had “no invasion” plans for Ukraine.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’ll get right to it. President Biden says that President Putin has decided to invade Ukraine. Is he correct?
ANTONOV: You’ll say that it’s very difficult to correct your president. I do not want to be involved in any discussions in your country. I just would like to express our position. If you don’t mind, I will start from basic things. There is no invasion and there is no such plans. It was fixed in Russian documents that we conveyed to our American friends in the State Department. Russia has publicly decided- declared its readiness to continue the diplomatic efforts to resolve all outstanding issues. By the way, I would like to say a few things. Each state has a right to protect its boundary and border. The Russian Federation, the United States, as well as any state, has such a right. It’s no exception. Russian troops are on sovereign Russian territory. We don’t threaten anyone. Why do you- why do other countries try to impose their decisions on us? Where can we deploy our troops and how many? I would like to emphasize once again that this is our own territory. Can you even imagine that Russia will impose on the United States not to deploy your forces in Florida or in San Francisco?
BRENNAN: Respectfully, Ambassador, you have troops in Belarus, which is not technically Russian territory. You have troops in Moldova. You have separatists you are funding and supporting in the east of Ukraine. This is not your territory.
ANTONOV: Yes. Well, we are talking about Belarussia. I hope that there will be an opportunity for us to discuss it. We will discuss joint drills that are undergoing. And I would like to say–
BRENNAN: They were supposed to end today. Are those troops staying in Belarus indefinitely?
ANTONOV: You’ll see that as to United States, you have so many military bases in various countries. As to us, we have just only a few. And we can’t see any contradiction to any legally binding norms on this issue.
BRENNAN: It looks like intimidation. You have over 190,000 personnel in and around Ukraine, you’ve got it surrounded on three borders. Your words and your actions don’t seem to match, sir.
ANTONOV: Again and again, I would like to say you that we have our legitimate right to have our troops where we want on Russian territory, on Russian territory. And I would like to say you that we are not threaten to anybody. We are not threaten to United States. We are not threaten to Ukraine. It’s very easy to solve this crisis. If you persuade Kyiv to sit at the table of negotiations when Lugansk and Donbas people, so there will be no fighting, there will be peace, there no will be any casualties. It’s so easy. But as to us, as to Russian Federation, we have a grave concern regarding activities of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And I would like to say you that forces of this bloc have came- have come to a Russian boundary.
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