Zelensky is a ‘puppet’ – Lavrov
The West and Russia will eventually sit down to discuss their differences, but this dialogue should be held not with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky but with those using him as a stooge, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa, India, Lavrov reiterated that Moscow had “never refused to settle issues arising from the actions of the US and their satellites to pump Ukraine with weapons” so that it could fight Russia.
The minister noted that many countries around the world are growing increasingly aware that these tensions cannot be defused solely by freezing the Ukraine conflict. “Everyone understands that the ongoing events are geopolitical in nature,” he said.
“Without solving the main geopolitical problem – that of the West aspiring to hold onto its hegemony and impose its own will on all the others, – it is impossible to resolve crises in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world,” Lavrov added.
The Russian diplomat pointed to China’s 12-point plan for a political settlement in Ukraine, which was released in late February. Lavrov said that while the plan does seek to settle the conflict itself, it also focuses on much more global and comprehensive issues.
“All this has to be discussed, of course, not with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters,” Lavrov said, noting that such talks would take place “sooner or later.”
In early April, amid speculation about an imminent Ukrainian spring counteroffensive, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ruled out any peace negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, suggesting that such talks would only help Russia to "ratify" its territorial gains.
Moscow has repeatedly said it is open to talks with Kiev if the latter recognizes “the reality on the ground,” including the new status of four former Ukrainian regions that overwhelmingly voted to join Russia last autumn. However, around the same time as the referendums, Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting negotiations with the current Russian leadership.