The United States and its Western allies have declared a hybrid “total war” against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday.
“Today a real hybrid war, a ‘total war’ has been declared against us. This term, which was used by Nazi Germany, is now used by many European politicians when they explain what they want to do to the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said, according to state-run media. “And their goals are not hidden: to destroy, to break, to strangle the Russian economy, and Russia as a whole.”
“The desire by the West to maintain its dominance in international affairs, to subjugate everything and everyone and return to a unipolar world … these are, of course, illusions,” Lavrov also remarked, adding: “In fact, we are witnessing the culmination of the policy of containment of Russia, which the West has pursued for a long time.”
Lavrov’s comments appear to be an escalation in rhetoric from Russia’s leadership against the United States and NATO allies amid its month-long invasion of Ukraine.
Since Feb. 24, the start of the conflict, the United States, Europe, Japan, and other like-minded nations have placed heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov, and other top Kremlin officials. On Thursday, the White House announced even more sanctions against hundreds of Russian lawmakers, defense companies, and other entities.
The United States also placed a ban on Russian oil imports, although European Union countries have not done so, citing the bloc’s heavy dependence on Russian energy products.
On Thursday, about three-fourths of the United Nations General Assembly voted to demand aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine and claimed Russia was creating what they said is a dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies have claimed Moscow is attacking civilians indiscriminately, which the Kremlin has denied.
But Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev claimed Friday that the sanctions won’t sway the Kremlin. The sanctions will only consolidate the Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Medvedev told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.
“Let us ask ourselves: can any of these major businessmen have even the tiniest quantum of influence of the position of the country’s leadership?” Medvedev said. “I openly tell you: no, no way.”
Reuters contributed to this report.