Iran urges Russia and Ukraine to resolve crisis through political means
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says he hopes the crisis between Russia and Ukraine will be settled through political channels.
In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, Amir-Abdollahian said that efforts are underway for the repatriation of Iranian nationals living in Ukraine through neighboring countries.
"It is our serious priority to ensure security and health of Iranian citizens living in Ukraine and we expect that grounds will be prepared for their safe exit," he added.
The top Russian diplomat, for his part, briefed his Iranian counterpart on his country's stance on the Ukrainian crisis and slammed Western states' position in this regard.
Lavrov assured Amir-Abdollahian that Russia is serious about protecting the lives of foreign citizens in Ukraine, including Iranians.
In a televised address early on Thursday, Putin announced a “special military operation” in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Lugansk — which are ruled by self-proclaimed republics — to “defend people” there against Kiev’s forces.
In 2014, the two Ukrainian regions were turned into self-proclaimed republics by ethnic Russians, leading to a bloody conflict between the government forces and the armed separatists.
In a post on his Twitter account on Friday, the Iranian administration's spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi expressed concern over the provocative expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the East, stressing the importance of remaining committed to the international law and relying on dialogue and diplomacy as the main solution to end the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Moscow may respond to Western sanctions by opting out of the last nuclear arms deal with the US, cutting diplomatic ties with Western nations and freezing their assets, a senior Russian official warned Saturday as Russia's ties with the West dived to new lows over its invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia's Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, also warned that Moscow could restore the death penalty after it was removed from Europe's top rights group.