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18 Aug, 2023 23:45

Western calls for Ukraine peace talks a ‘tactical ploy’ – Moscow

The West wants time for Kiev to rearm, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov has said
Western calls for Ukraine peace talks a ‘tactical ploy’ – Moscow

The US and its allies do not want the Ukraine conflict to end and their purported peace initiatives are merely attempts to buy Kiev time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published on Saturday.

Geopolitical issues need to be discussed “not with [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters,” Lavrov said earlier this year. Negotiating directly with the Americans would make sense, he told the magazine International Affairs when asked about the idea. 

“The problem, however, is that the United States has no intention of ending the conflict,” Lavrov explained, noting that “their officially declared objective is to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia.” 

Prospects for negotiations between Russia and the West “are non-existent at this stage,” Lavrov said, while Kiev “Western sponsors are constantly pushing them to up the ante.”

Insisting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s so-called ‘peace formula’ at meetings in Copenhagen and Jeddah – to which Russia was not invited – “hardly demonstrates an intention by the West to negotiate with Russia,” Lavrov said. Moscow has dismissed Zelensky’s ten-point list of demands as an unacceptable ultimatum unrelated to reality.

Russia has repeatedly tried to negotiate, from the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements to the “drastic attempt to convey our concerns to Western capitals” in December 2021, Lavrov noted. The West “arrogantly rejected” Moscow’s initiative and ramped up deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Kiev instead.

“We regard the Westerners’ hypocritical calls for talks as a tactical ploy to buy time once again giving the exhausted Ukrainian troops a respite and the opportunity to regroup, and to send in more weapons and ammunition,” Lavrov said, adding that “this is the path of war, not a peaceful settlement process.”

Angela Merkel, the former chancellor of Germany, admitted last December that the 2015 Franco-German proposal in Minsk was “an attempt to give Ukraine time” to build up its military. This was then confirmed by former French President Francois Hollande.