Ukraine war: Russia’s Lavrov rejects Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s ‘peace formula’ | World News
Russia’s foreign minister has rejected Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “peace formula” as a basis for negotiations.
According to a report by Russian news agency RIA, Sergei Lavrov believes Ukraine is still not ready for real peace talks.
Mr Lavrov also told RIA that Ukraine’s aim of driving Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help was “an illusion”.
It comes just a few days after Mr Lavrov appeared to put an end to any immediate prospect of peace talks in the 10-month-old conflict.
Late on Monday night, he told 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.”
But his comments had come just hours after Russia’s president Vladimir Putin had insisted he wanted to negotiate “with everyone involved about acceptable solutions”, and that Kyiv and the West were to blame for the lack of progress so far.
Mr Putin’s comment had prompted an angry response from President Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, who had said the Russian leader “needs to come back to reality”.
But later that day, Ukraine’s position appeared to soften, with its foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba suggesting a summit before the end of February hosted by the United Nations, which Russia could attend after it faced prosecution for war crimes.
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There have been no serious peace talks for months in the conflict, and there is little end in sight for the fighting.
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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