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July 1—Russian Ambassador to Italy Alexey Paramonov gave an interview to Prof. Franco Battaglia for the June 27 issue of Nicola Porro’s online newspaper nicolaporro.it, in which he explained the nature of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 14 peace proposal. Together with the proposal for a security architecture for Eurasia, it follows previous initiatives which, however, were sabotaged by the West: the Minsk Agreements, the December 15-17, 2021 security proposals to the U.S. and NATO, and the peace negotiations with Ukraine in March-April 2022. The questions and answers are translations from the original Italian.

“Well today, as then, we have a real opportunity to stop the escalation and to achieve peace. Refusal to conduct negotiations with Moscow will only aggravate a situation that is only destined to get worse for Kiev,” said Paramonov.

Q: Shall we recall the key points of President Putin’s proposal?

Paramonov: The key-points are: The withdrawal of Ukrainian military formations from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the status of Ukraine as a neutral, non-aligned and denuclearized country, demilitarization and denazification of the country, full guarantee of respect for the rights, freedoms and interests of Russian-speaking citizens residing in Ukraine, and recognition of the new territorial realities.

Q: What about the inhabitants of these regions? In the West we are convinced of the illegitimacy of the referendums held in Ukraine.

Paramonov: The inhabitants of these regions, who in most cases are Russian-speaking, have experienced in their skin all the wonders of the policy implemented by the new nationalist regime, which has declared war on everything Russian: on language, religion, culture. In 2019, Ukrainian authorities banned by law the use of the Russian language in the country’s public life. For the purposes of what the Kiev regime says is a fight against disinformation, a system has been put in place to keep the entry of books from Russia into the country under control. Works of literature considered inconvenient by the regime have been removed. Acts of persecution against people of the Orthodox faith also arouse horror.

However, as tragic as the situation related to the Ukrainian crisis is, and especially precisely for the sister peoples of Russia and Ukraine, international relations certainly do not end there. Russia, as a world power aware of its responsibilities, does not shy away from its leading role in global affairs. On the contrary, against a backdrop of the worsening situation on the international stage, Russia is looking to the future and proposing its own solutions to the most pressing issues, primarily those concerning the security sphere. And it is precisely in this key that the initiative recently put forward by the President of the Russian Federation concerning the creation of a continental security architecture operating for the entire Eurasian territory should be considered.

Q: Does this mean that Russia is shifting its focus to Asia? Are you saying goodbye to Europe?

Paramonov: President Putin’s initiative is unprecedented in its nature, as it is the only one that proposes an integration between the various regional dynamics. It is necessitated by the collapse of the pre-existing security model, and the huge security vacuum that has been created in the Euro-Atlantic space as a result of the irresponsible conduct implemented by the West. Russia has proposed to make such an architecture for security in Eurasia a system open to all interested Eurasian countries, which is not intended as a threatening element to any country’s interests. This model is based on the principle of “regional solutions for regional problems” applied to the Eurasian region and reflects the current objective trend associated with the process of regionalization of international relations; a trend that, in itself, constitutes a kind of insurance against geopolitical turmoil induced by the crisis of the globalization process as it was conceived by the West. The purpose of such an initiative, in the first place, is to give birth to a Eurasian space that is free of conflict and open to cooperation, but also to free the ongoing processes in Eurasia from the destabilizing impact that actors outside the region have on them.