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West’s ‘breakdancing’ is blocking Ukraine peace hopes – Lavrov

It takes two to tango in diplomacy but Kiev and its backers are all “dancing solo,” the Russian foreign minister has said

Kiev and its Western partners are showing no interest in resolving the Ukraine conflict at the negotiating table, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. He also claimed that NATO members are not even trying to hide their direct involvement in the hostilities.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Friday, Lavrov said he sees no sign that the conflict will be settled diplomatically any time soon, blaming the situation on Kiev and the West.

“It takes two to start a political process, like in the tango. But the guys on the other side are not dancing tango, they are breakdancing. There, you all have to go solo.” 

Lavrov recalled that Moscow and Kiev had essentially reached a peace agreement during talks in Istanbul in March 2022, noting that senior Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia, who led his country’s delegation, had recently confirmed this.

However, hopes for peace were shut down by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who suggested that Kiev should “make more war,” Lavrov said. “Everyone knows that. We’ve said it many times, but now it’s the Ukrainians who admit this,” he added.

Moscow currently sees no sign from either Kiev or its “masters” that they are ready to negotiate, Lavrov stated, recalling that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had signed a decree last autumn banning any talks with the current Kremlin leadership. That move came after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Moscow, however, has always insisted that it is open to talks with Ukraine.

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David Arakhamia during Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Istanbul, Türkiye.
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Lavrov also noted that Western officials have repeatedly claimed that they must support Ukraine because defeat would pave the way for a Russian incursion into the Baltic states and Poland. Moscow has consistently denied having any plans to attack NATO countries.

The revelations about a potential Ukraine peace deal were made last week by Arakhamia, a key political ally of Zelensky. He stated that Russia’s primary goal had been to pressure Ukraine to accept neutrality and abandon plans to join NATO. Kiev did not trust Moscow to keep its word and wanted “security guarantees” from third parties, Arakhamia said, while also pointing to Johnson’s role in thwarting the talks.

December 01, 2023 at 06:35PM

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