Russia claims with outrage that the West is supporting Ukraine in its “policy of physical extermination of ethnic Russians”, while simultaneously speaking of Ukraine as a nation of terrorists which “must be destroyed”.

“Neo-Nazi” sentiment is “stronger than ever” in Europe and Western powers want to see what seems to amount to a genocide against ethnic Russians, a Kremlin spokesman says. Director of press for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova said Western nations “openly supports Kiev’s policy of physical extermination of ethnic Russians”.

This, she said, was expressed by tacit approval of Ukraine counter-attacking Russian-held territory within the legal borders of Ukraine like Crimea. The comments by Zakharova build on Russia’s previously angrily-expressed shock at the comments of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham when he discussed American support of Kyiv’s defences last month.

As reported at the time:

In an edited video of his meeting on Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that was released by Zelenskyy’s office, Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, noted that “the Russians are dying” and described the U.S. military assistance to the country as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”

While Graham appeared to have made the remarks in different parts of the conversation, the short video by Ukraine’s presidential office put them next to each other, causing outrage in Russia.

Russia issued an arrest warrant for Graham over the spat. “Now the Westerners themselves have begun to talk openly about the extermination of civilians in Russia,” Zakharova said on Thursday, comparing Graham to “the Nazi criminals of the Third Reich”.

While missing no opportunity to complain Ukraine is launching attacks against them, Russia’s year-long invasion of its neighbour continues. The Kremlin continues to blame Kyiv for its own actions, and a top Kremlin spokesman has taken the chance to denounce a further counter-invasion of Russian territory by presumably Ukrainian-backed forces this week.

Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev, who was once the Russian President but is perhaps better known now for threatening to drop nuclear bombs on anyone who opposes Russia’s war, called Ukraine’s defiance in the face of the invasion of their country “an act of terrorism” which must face “the harshest retaliation possible”.

Accusing Ukraine of deliberately targeting civilians with drone attacks, Medvedev remarked: “there is no other way to qualify it. If it is an act of terrorism, there is only one way to respond to it. No country can afford to negotiate with terrorists, terrorists must be destroyed… it was not a military battle, not military action. It does not even fit in with any rules of warfare.”

While the Russian’s comments may be meant primarily for domestic consumption by an audience who may could have a particular impression of the war in Ukraine, referred to as a ‘special military operation’ by the Kremlin’s controlled media, to the outside world for Russia to complain of being struck by drones in civilian areas may seem remarkable. After all, the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv has been battered by Russian drones and missiles every night for a week, and many times before that over the past year.