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West, Ukraine unwilling to settle conflict – Lavrov

The Russian foreign minister says Moscow has no choice but to continue its military campaign against the neighboring state

Neither Ukraine nor its Western backers are willing to put an end to hostilities with Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed. For peace to prevail in Ukraine, he said its leadership must return to its “neutral, non-bloc and non-nuclear” status, as well as accepting “new territorial realities.”

Launching Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine nearly two years ago, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was seeking to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Kiev, with those goals remaining unchanged to date. He also cited Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO as a reason for the military action, with the Kremlin considering the US-led bloc’s continued eastward expansion to be a major national security issue.

In an interview with Brazil’s Globo newspaper on Wednesday, Lavrov said Russia was open to a diplomatic solution in Ukraine. However, “neither Kiev nor the West demonstrate the political will to settle the conflict,” he added.

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Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (C) gives a Union Jack flag to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and other Kiev officials.
UK even more hostile than US – Lavrov  

According to the foreign minister, the Ukrainian leadership and its backers are “fixated on the promotion of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky’s peace formula,” which constitutes an “unacceptable ultimatum to Russia.” Lavrov pointed out that Ukrainian and Western officials have rejected out of hand any other proposals aimed at putting an end to hostilities.

“We have no choice, the special military operation will be continued until its goals have been attained,” he said.

Lavrov was skeptical about the restoration of relations between Russia and the European Union. Referring to the upcoming presidential election in the US in November, he said both Republicans and Democrats view Russia as an “adversary and threat.”

“We have no illusions, we don’t expect the US’ anti-Russian course to change in the foreseeable future,” Lavrov concluded.

Over the weekend, President Putin stated that, unlike NATO member states, Russia considers the Ukraine conflict to be a “matter of life and death.”

In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this month, the Russian head of state said Moscow had not yet achieved its goal of eradicating the Nazi ideology in Ukraine.

Putin also claimed that the Ukrainian leadership was close to agreeing to clamp down on the far right at home during negotiations with Russia in Istanbul soon after the conflict flared up in February 2022.

Russian officials have claimed that the auspicious peace effort was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who convinced Ukraine to keep on fighting – an allegation he denies.

February 21, 2024 at 05:56PM
RT

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