Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Ukraine’s conditions for ending the ongoing conflict and for restarting peace talks with Moscow have been “unrealistic and inadequate.”
“I said again that all problems are with the Ukrainian side, which is categorically refusing negotiations and putting forward conditions that are obviously unrealistic,” Lavrov told reporters at the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali on Tuesday.
The longer Ukraine rejects negotiations, the harder it will be to find common ground, the top Russian diplomat added.
“We’ve repeatedly, through the statements of our president, confirmed that we don’t refuse negotiations, if anyone does so, it’s Ukraine. And the longer it refuses to talk, the more difficult it’ll be to find common ground.”
Commenting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s video address to the G20 summit, Lavrov said it was full of “militant, Russophobic and aggressive rhetoric.” “I’ve made only one conclusion from his speech: that he’s still not listening to any advice from the West.”
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Likely referring to recent media reports, Lavrov said that Washington has been privately pushing Kiev to drop its uncompromising rejection of the peace process with Moscow.
Last week, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, acknowledged that a Ukrainian victory may not be achievable militarily and that winter could provide an opportunity to begin talks with Russia.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Lavrov also said he had a brief conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier on Tuesday. During this exchange, the French leader “confirmed his willingness to continue contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin to find some agreements that would allow this whole situation to be settled, as he put it.”
“I reminded [Macron] that all the problems are on the Ukrainian side, which categorically refuses any talks and puts forward conditions that are invariably unrealistic and inadequate, considering the situation,” the foreign minister said.
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On February 24, Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, the two regions had declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government.
Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”
Since then, the US and its European allies have imposed unprecedented waves of economic sanctions against Moscow while supplying large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev. Moscow has been critical of the weapons supplies to Kiev, warning that they will prolong the war.
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