Lavrov comments on claims US urged Ukraine to negotiate
Western media reports that the US government has tried to nudge Kiev towards engaging diplomatically with Moscow are mere rumors, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. Even if true, the Ukrainian leadership appears to be ignoring the suggestions, he added.
“We’ve read reports citing anonymous sources,” Lavrov said, when asked about “signals” that Western nations are supposedly sending to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, urging him to negotiate with Moscow.
“There are rumors that the American administration has been telling Zelensky to be more pliable,” he added. “And there was clarification that this was not aimed at getting him to act constructively, but to counter objections from the parts of the West that doubt the need to supply additional arms to him.”
Last month, the Washington Post described communications between the US and Ukraine that supposedly echoed Lavrov's description. A change of stance by Kiev would tackle “Ukraine fatigue” among EU nations, according to the newspaper’s sources.
The Russian foreign minister highlighted the uncompromising public stance which Zelensky reiterated in a recorded speech, played at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Lavrov, who is heading the Russian delegation to the event, said “the only conclusion” he reached after hearing the 20-minute message was that the Ukrainian president “so far takes no Western suggestions” about talks.
The Russian diplomat went on to describe Zelensky’s speech as “militant”, “Russophobic” and “aggressive”. Zelensky addressed the gathering as the “G19” in an apparent snub to Russia’s membership in the club of leading world economies, and demanded a number of concessions from Moscow before he would agree to negotiate. Lavrov described the demands as “unacceptable.”