Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the war in Ukraine is no longer a hybrid one, as it has almost escalated into “a real one,” with the West continuing to ‘plot’ against Moscow.
“When we speak about what is happening in Ukraine – it is a war, not a hybrid one, almost a real war, that the West has been plotting for a long time against Russia,” Lavrov said Monday.
Speaking at a press conference during a visit to South Africa, Lavrov said, “The goal is to destroy everything Russian, from language to culture, that has been in Ukraine for centuries and to prohibit people from speaking their mother tongue.”
“Any cultural contacts related to the Russian language are prohibited,” in Ukraine, Lavrov said. “And this is all supported by the West.”
The top diplomat made the remarks as European governments, including Poland, push Germany to give permission for supplying Kiev with German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
Moscow has warned the West against sending military hardware to Ukraine, saying the move would prolong the war.
Russia started its “special military operation” in Ukraine with the declared aim of “de-Nazifying” the country in February 2022.
Russia's TASS news agency reported that Lavrov also said Moscow was willing to negotiate with Kiev in the early months of the war but that the US and its Western allies advised the Ukrainian government against it.
Lavrov said by the end of March 2022, delegations from both sides agreed “on the principle to settle this conflict.”
“It is well known and was published openly that our American, British, and some European colleagues told Ukraine that it is too early to deal, and the arrangement which was almost agreed was never revisited by the Kiev regime,” he said.
The West, however, claimed Russia was not serious about negotiations.