From Rossiiskaya gazeta, March 16, 2022, p. 4. Complete text:

During the special military operation, documentary evidence was obtained confirming Kiev’s preparations to invade the DPR/LPR and the Crimea in March.

This was announced on Tuesday by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev at an off-site meeting on national security issues in Grozny [see the second feature in this issue].

Furthermore, according to him, a large number of foreign consultants and advisers based on Ukrainian territory are constantly provoking new threats to Russia’s security. Patrushev recalled that the security crisis in Europe was caused by NATO’s active expansion, the development of military infrastructure near Russian borders [and] the collapse of the arms control system, as well as by the development of Ukrainian territory as a potential theater of military operations.

At the same time, Russia’s proposals to enforce the principles of equal and indivisible security [and] to provide legally binding security guarantees [see Vol. 73, No. 51‑52, pp. 3‑9] were ignored. Since the 2014 coup d’état in Kiev, nationalism, cultivated by the people who seized power, has acquired the form of aggressive Russophobia and neo-Nazism. Ukraine has effectively fallen under the US’s external administration, which is aimed at turning it into a state hostile toward Russia. Overall, Patrushev said, all threats to Russia’s security in Ukraine were created by the US and its allies.

“It has become obvious that US advisers are encouraging and helping the Kiev regime to create biological and nuclear weapons. Ukraine has everything needed to do so – expertise, technology, raw materials [and] delivery systems,” Patrushev stated.

Therefore, according to him, statements by the Ukrainian leadership regarding the possibility of changing the country’s nuclear status are not empty words. And these intentions could have come to pass – which, as the Russian Security Council secretary stressed, poses an obvious threat to the security of not only Russia but the whole world by provoking a nuclear war.

“We could not allow rabid, uncontrollable nationalists to have nuclear weapons,” Patrushev said.

Especially in a situation where, in his words, the US has deployed tactical nuclear weapons in Europe that can be brought into play by using newly built missile defense infrastructure near Russian borders. “Are there any guarantees that a loaded gun will not go off yet again?” Patrushev asked.

According to him, everyone remembers very well that the US already used nuclear weapons against peaceful civilians by dropping atomic bombs on Japanese cities. In addition, the Americans used depleted uranium munitions widely in Iraq and Yugoslavia. Nikolai Patrushev also stated that for years the US has failed to comply with its obligations to destroy chemical weapons. And these were the weapons that killed people in Vietnam, Korea [and] Laos.

“Under these circumstances, we had to take preemptive measures to ensure the security of Russia and its citizens,” the Security Council secretary concluded. As for the ongoing military operation, according to Patrushev, “it is going according to plan.” Russia is already providing humanitarian assistance on the territories that have been freed from radical nationalists. In his words, Russia is committed and will do all it can to facilitate Ukraine’s economic development and help its brotherly people return to normal life.

He reiterated that, by order of the Russian president, a special military operation is being conducted, aimed primarily at protecting the people who have been subjected to abuse [and] genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years, as well as at demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine. Patrushev stressed that Ukraine’s Declaration of State Sovereignty, which was adopted in a nationwide referendum in 1990, proclaimed the intent to become a permanently neutral state that would not participate in military blocs and would not accept, produce or procure nuclear weapons. Ukraine’s 1996 Constitution also refers to this declaration. “It is therefore necessary to ensure Ukraine’s neutral status in practice, precluding the possibility of its admission into NATO,” the Security Council secretary said.

At the same time, he pointed to continual shelling of peaceful civilians in the people’s republics. For instance, a missile attack on March 14 killed 20 Donetsk Basin residents and injured 28 injured. “This war crime reaffirms the Nazi essence of Ukraine’s ruling regime,” Patrushev stressed.

He also recalled that people from the North Caucasus, including the Chechen Republic, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and other regions, are actively participating in the special military operation.

“Many of them have already been given high national honors, including the Hero of Russia title. Unfortunately, there are losses. I would like once again to express gratitude for the courage, heroism [and] self-sacrifice shown in defending the national security and national interests of Russia,” the secretary said.

He said that [Russia] has received data confirming the development of biological warfare programs at Ukraine’s biological laboratories with funding from the US and the direct involvement of foreign consultants and advisers. According to him, this is precisely why the US is afraid that the public will learn about the biological weapons research it is conducting in post-Soviet states in contravention of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

In this context, Patrushev recalled that under [former US] president [Barack] Obama, a moratorium was imposed on biological tests with dangerous pathogens on US soil. According to Russian Security Council secretary, it was no accident that US Under Secretary of State [for Political Affairs] Victoria Nuland said it was necessary to take measures to prevent research materials and pathogen samples stored [in Ukrainian labs] from falling into the Russians’ hands.

“They really have something to fear. No wonder the outbreaks of infectious diseases in a number of countries could be directly related to the activity of Ukrainian biolabs,” Patrushev stressed.

In his opinion, an investigation into such activities should shed light on the real purpose and consequences of such research projects.

As for the main topic of the meeting – at which he arrived, as usual, together with [Chechen leader] Ramzan Kadyrov behind the wheel – Nikolai Patrushev drew the regional heads’ attention to the need to constantly monitor the sociopolitical situation, in addition to socioeconomic processes.

“[We] need to ensure employment, establish tight control over prices on goods [and] services, [and] take necessary measures to preserve stability and public security,” the Security Council secretary said. In his opinion, it is equally important to act in a timely manner to block the work of nonprofit nongovernmental organizations engaged in illegal activities and to designate them as undesirable [entities] on Russian territory.