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Lavrov: Moscow 'open to resolving Ukraine conflict peacefully'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a statement that Moscow remains willing to peacefully resolve the conflict in Ukraine, but the self-imposed ban imposed by Kyiv is hindering the initiation of negotiations.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published February 21,2024

Moscow is open to resolving the conflict in Ukraine peacefully, and Kyiv's self-imposed ban prevents the start of negotiations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Speaking in an interview with the Brazilian daily O Globo, Lavrov doubted that Ukraine would engage in talks with Russia, saying: "Kiev and the West are focused on promoting (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy's formula, which contains an unacceptable ultimatum for Russia, and flat out rejects other initiatives, including Brazil's."

"The goals and objectives of the special military operation were outlined by President (Vladimir) Putin and include the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine and eliminating threats to Russia's security that come from its territory," he said.

The minister insisted on eliminating "the root causes of the Ukraine crisis" to achieve a sustainable and fair settlement.

"The West must stop supplying weapons to Ukraine, and Kyiv must stop hostilities. Ukraine should reinstate its neutral, non-aligned, and non-nuclear status and ensure the rights and freedoms of its citizens. It is critical that the basis be the new territorial realities and the situation on the ground," he stressed.

Lavrov regretted that "neither Kyiv nor the West demonstrates any sign of political will to settle the conflict," and therefore Russia has "no choice but to continue the special military operation until its goals are achieved."

Asked about prospects of normalizing relations with Europe, the official said "the EU countries have imposed this enmity for Russia on themselves."

"It is up to them to decide how to go about this choice. Considering Brussels' determination to inflict a "strategic defeat" on us, talking about prospects for restoring relations is beside the point.

"If the European countries drop their Russophobic policies and come up with realistic ideas regarding new principles of relations, we will consider them. Our decisions will be based on our national interests," he said.

Lavrov expects that the US will maintain its "anti-Russian course" in the foreseeable future, arguing that "the ruling elite of the United States views Russia as an adversary and a threat regardless of party affiliation."

"The former president (Donald Trump) did nothing to improve Russia-US relations during his four-year stint in the White House. ... We are prepared to work with any leader who wins the American people's trust. What matters to us is not specific political figures, but their policies towards Russia. President Putin made that clear recently in his televised interview," he said.