The 11th Moscow Conference on International Security which began on Tuesday, Aug 15, at the “Patriot Military Park” in the Kubinka suburb of Moscow was billed to be “held against a backdrop of fundamental changes in the military and political situation in the world, and the establishment and consolidation of a genuinely multipolar world order.”

 

Instead it became a forum for Russia to attribute blame for the continuing war in Ukraine on the West’s support to Kyiv.

 

The following extracts from the key speakers amply illustrate the tenor of Moscow’s interpretation of events.

 

President Putin

 

After the usual welcoming platitudes, Putin got straight to the nub of the issues, as he saw them: “…long-standing hotbeds of conflict are simmering in various parts of the world, and new ones are being provoked. There is no doubt that those behind these conflicts are seeking to benefit from human tragedy by pitching nations against one another, subjugating states into feudal obedience within a neo-colonial system and exploiting their resources without mercy.

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“NATO member states persist in ramping up and upgrading their offensive capabilities… They use military and non-military means to pressure others.

 

“Ukraine is a case in point, demonstrating where this policy of pouring fuel on the fire leads: by pumping billions of dollars into the neo-Nazi regime and supplying it with equipment, arms and munitions, sending military advisors and mercenaries there, they are doing everything to further escalate the conflict and draw other countries into it.”

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Russia’s Defense Minister called the US Secretary of Defense to “lower risks of returning to a Cold War,” while the Pentagon says sporadic calls are important to “maintaining lines of communication.”

 

Sergei Shoigu

 

The Russian Defense Minister swiftly went on the attack: "The special military operation ended the collective West’s military dominance [and] its ability to impose its interests in various regions of the world has been significantly reduced.

 

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“Just as in the last century the defeat of fascism in Europe by the Red Army gave a powerful impetus to the anti-colonial movement around the world, so today the defeat of the Western-backed Ukrainian neo-fascists will serve as a factor in countering modern neo-colonialism.

 

“During the special military operation, the Russian Army has debunked many myths about the superiority of Western military standards.

 

"Despite the full assistance of the West, the AFU has not been able to achieve any results ... The skillful actions of the military personnel of the Russian Armed Forces, their coherence and high level of training make it possible to react flexibly to the implementation by Kyiv of the plans of its Western handlers.”

 

He then went on to put an even more interesting spin on the West’s motives for supporting Ukraine: “Preliminary results of the hostilities show that Ukraine's military resource is almost exhausted. Under the slogan of supporting Kyiv, the United States is cleaning up its partners' military arsenals in various regions of the world, promising favorable supplies of Western-manufactured hardware in return. Essentially, there is a clearing of the market for products of the US military-industrial complex.

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Without a shred of irony, he went on to say: “I would like to draw attention to the fact that we also have cluster munitions in service. Until now, we have refrained from using them for humanitarian reasons. However, this decision can be reconsidered… as the US is committing a war crime using cluster munitions in Ukraine.”

 

Sergey Lavrov

 

Russia’s Foreign Minister was again quick to point the finger of blame everywhere other than at his own country: “Today, for the sake of saving their geopolitical project of containing Russia and dividing the Russian world, the United States, NATO and the European Union are pumping more and more advanced weapons into Ukraine, increasingly fueling the conflict and while simultaneously provoking the uncontrolled spread of weapons around the world... Their adventurous, irresponsible lines significantly raise the threat of a direct military clash between nuclear powers.”

 

“Look how amicably the West is now reacting to the military takeover in Niger, demanding a restoration of democracy. [However] the West expressed little or no reaction to the ousting of the legitimate authorities in Ukraine through a ‘bloody coup’ in 2014 – such instances of hypocrisy and double standards can be cited endlessly.”

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Then, no doubt conscious of the presence of the Chinese Minister of Defense, Li Shangfu, in the audience he switched the direction of attack to the Indo-Pacific region: “In particular, we see that such risks are being created as a result of explicit attempts to exempt the Anglo-Saxon nuclear project within the framework of a new military bloc – AUKUS.

 

“In September 2021, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom unveiled the AUKUS strategic partnership, aimed at building Australia's fleet of nuclear-powered submarines by the late 2030s. As part of the partnership, Australia has also announced its intention to acquire its own weaponry and to work with partners to develop supersonic missiles.

 

“A course has been set for the destruction of an inclusive, consensus-based, ASEAN-centered security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, for the creation of military blocs there, and for the promotion of NATO infrastructure there.”

 

Li Shangfu

 

The Chinese Defense Minister unsurprisingly directed his comments mainly towards Russian concerns but also indicated that Beijing was not issuing a blank check to Moscow. While again. He mentioned military relations between Russia and China but emphasized that these were not directed against third countries, which many commentators have interpreted as a reference to the War in Ukraine.

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Shangfu stated that China was ready to step up security work and military cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), particularly with Iran, which became a full member in July, while Belarus signed a memorandum of understanding to become a member state of the SCO.

 

Current members of the SCO are China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan and Mongolia are currently Observer States along with so-called “Dialogue Partners” which include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey; with Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia having expressed interest in joining.

 

Li Shangfu also announced China’s readiness to strengthen international cooperation on arms control. He stressed that, in China’s view, the Taiwan issue was purely an internal matter and the interference of any external forces would be unacceptable. Beijing’s view is that the reunification of China was an unstoppable historical trend and any attempt to use the Taiwan issue to contain China was doomed to failure.

 

He ended his speech by saying:“A Russian proverb says ‘The path to success is thorny and difficult.’

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“In China we say 'The road is paved with feet!'

 

“I am sure that if we continue to walk hand in hand, with all our hearts and confident steps, we will be able to overcome all difficulties and make a new, even more significant contribution to ensuring security around the world!”

 

Other speakers at the conference included Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergei Naryshkin and Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin.

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