ISW: Kremlin continues to falsely claim that Ukraine poses existential threat to Russia

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Vasily Nebenzya, Russian diplomat and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, responded to Ukrainian proposals for a peace summit on Jan.13 with a series of false claims framing Ukraine as an aggressor that was “about to attack Moscow.” He said that Russia’s war in Ukraine will only end “when the threat to Russia no longer comes from the territory of Ukraine” and when “the discrimination (against) the Russian-speaking population” in Ukraine ends.

“Kremlin claims of discrimination against Russian speakers in Ukraine are a longstanding information operation seeking to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update. Nebenzya claimed Ukraine is not interested in negotiations and is no more than a NATO paramilitary company—both longstanding claims that the Kremlin intends to delegitimize Ukraine as an independent actor and shift the responsibility for negotiations onto Western officials, who the Kremlin likely believes Russia can pressure into preemptive concessions.

Nebenzya reiterated the Kremlin’s narrative that Ukraine’s refusal to recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories and relationships with the West threaten Russia. He also claimed that Ukrainian ties with the West (rather than Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine) undermined Ukraine’s sovereignty and cultural identity, the institute said.

“Nebenzya’s speech again demonstrates that the Kremlin has not abandoned its maximalist goals in Ukraine, false justifications for its unprovoked war of aggression, and will seek to coerce the West to negotiate over Ukraine’s head,” the ISW found.

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