A student confronted the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry during a talk at the faculty of international relations at the Ural Federal University in the city of Yekaterinburg. The exchange sparked a fierce dispute when Maria Zakharova was questioned by the student about Vladimir Putin’s decision to ignore Ukraine’s independence and launch his invasion in February, then the pair clashed over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The student told Ms. Zakharova: “The Russian government and the Foreign Ministry, in particular, have spoken proudly for decades about the country’s sovereignty and about the rights of nations to self-determination.
“But suddenly he decided to ignore Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty.”
Mrs. Zakharova interrupted: “Wait!
“We have never ignored Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
The Kremlin spokeswoman continued: “Actually, we were one of the few countries that treated that very independence and sovereignty in a genuine way, not just on paper.”
“Sorry, yesterday we were from the same state as them, the same nation.”
The pair also clashed over the annexation of Crimea and the legitimacy of the ‘referendum’ Russia was holding at the time.
After the student questioned the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum, Ms. Zakharova burst out: “No! Wait!
In its latest update on the war, which Russia calls a “special military operation,” the Russian Defense Ministry also said Russia had targeted numerous Ukrainian command posts.
The West has increased arms supplies to Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24 and the Russian military is trying to intercept and destroy them.
Moscow says Western arms deliveries to kyiv and the imposition of drastic sanctions against the Russian economy amount to a “proxy war” by the United States and its allies.
The Russian military said on Saturday it had destroyed a major Western arms shipment in Ukraine’s Zhytomyr region, west of kyiv, using Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles.