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Russia’s Lavrov: Either Ukraine fulfils Moscow’s proposals or the issue will be decided by our army | World News

Russia’s foreign minister appears to have ended any immediate prospect for peace talks over the Ukraine war, days after Russia’s president said he was ready to negotiate.

President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that the Kremlin was “ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions”, while also blaming Kyiv for the lack of diplomatic progress so far.

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promptly replied by saying that Mr Putin “needs to come back to reality”, adding: “Russia doesn’t want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility”.

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On Monday, Ukraine’s position appeared to soften, with foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba saying that, while Ukraine wants to win the war next year, diplomacy still has an important role.

Mr Kuleba suggested a summit before the end of February hosted by the United Nations, although he said Russia should only be invited after facing prosecution for war crimes in an international court.

But late on Monday night, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov appeared to put an end to any plans for peace talks.

He told the Tass news agency: “Our proposals for the demilitarisation and denazification of the territories controlled by the [Ukrainian] regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy.

“The point is simple: Fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also responded to Mr Kuleba’s words with disapproval, telling state news agency RIA Novosti that Russia “never followed conditions set by others – only our own and common sense”.

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Putin: ‘It’s not us who refuse talks’

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It is 10 months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and, with no serious peace talks for months, there is little end in sight.

Millions of Ukrainians have fled their country and millions of those left behind are without electricity due to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.

But Ukraine says it will not negotiate until every Russian soldier has left its territory, while Russia insists it will keep fighting until it achieves its aims.

Mr Putin has said that he believes the military action is “defending our national interests…protect(ing) our citizens” and that any negotiations must be on his terms.

Ukraine says this would be unacceptable, as it would mean bowing to Russian demands and accepting Mr Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

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