Lavrov blasts Zelensky’s ‘illusions’
Russia is not about to engage with Ukraine based on the ‘peace formula’ put forward by President Vladimir Zelensky, as it deems the terms unacceptable, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. He reiterated, however, that Moscow has not refused to engage in talks in general.
Speaking to RIA Novosti, the foreign minister stated that “obviously, Kiev is not ready for dialogue.”
“By putting forward all sorts of ideas and ‘peace formulas’, Zelensky cherishes the illusion that with the help of the West he will be able to achieve the withdrawal of our troops from the Russian territory of the Donbass, Crimea, Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, the payment of reparations by Russia, [and] that it would ‘give itself up to international tribunals’, etc,” Lavrov said. He added that Moscow “will not talk to anyone under such conditions.”
However, the minister went on to say that Moscow has not refused to resolve the conflict through negotiations, pointing to the previous rounds of talks with Kiev.
“Immediately after the start of the special military operation, Vladimir Zelensky proposed sitting down at the negotiating table. We did not turn it down and agreed to a meeting with his representatives,” Lavrov said, adding that the talks showed that finding a compromise is not an impossible task.
The diplomatic process that began in February, however, “demonstrated Zelensky’s complete lack of independence in making important decisions,” Lavrov said. “Already in April, at the behest of the Anglo-Saxons, who were interested in continuing the hostilities, he swiftly wrapped up negotiations and sharply toughened his position.”
Earlier this month, Zelensky floated the idea of a UN-sponsored “Global Peace Summit,” to take place in February 2023, with a ten-point “peace formula.” The plan includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from all territories claimed by Ukraine and the restoration of the country’s “territorial integrity.” Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba stated, however, that before the talks can start, Moscow must face an “international court” and be prosecuted for supposed war crimes.
On Wednesday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed that the plan ignores the reality on the ground. He was referring to the results of referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which, along with Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, overwhelmingly voted to join Russia this autumn. Crimea did the same in 2014 following the Maidan coup in Kiev.