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28 Dec, 2023 15:32

Zelensky plan is ‘figment of a sick imagination’ – Russian FM

Under the current circumstances, demands for Ukraine to reclaim its 1991 borders are a call “for genocide,” Sergey Lavrov argues
Zelensky plan is ‘figment of a sick imagination’ – Russian FM

Ukraine’s conditions for ending the conflict with Russia, as declared in the ‘peace formula’ presented by President Vladimir Zelensky last year, are impossible to implement, and any support for it is futile, Moscow’s top diplomat has said.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated Russia’s negative view on the proposal in an interview with national media on Thursday. He said the ‘formula’ is being promoted by Western backers of Ukraine, who have been trying to sell it to neutral nations in a series of meetings this year – the last of which took place recently, in strict secrecy, with attendance dwindling compared to the previous gatherings.

The minister described Kiev’s plan as a “baby comforter” and “a figment of a sick imagination.” It includes “fluff” such as commitments to global food and energy security, but its essence is a demand for Russia to “hand over Crimea, hand over Donbass, and you know what, we are going to establish an alienation zone around Russia on the country’s own territory”.

Western attempts to whip up international support for the Ukrainian plan is a “hustle”, Lavrov claimed. Nations who took part in the meetings and spoke to Russia about what happened there acknowledged that, and said they were trying to shift Kiev’s position, the minister added.

The diplomat stressed that a return to Ukraine’s borders as they were in 1991, following the collapse of the USSR, is now impossible, because Kiev has reneged on commitment to maintain neutrality and respect the rights of its Russian minority. Several Ukrainian governments have imposed discriminatory policies, while top officials including Zelensky have used hateful language, when speaking about ethnic Russians, the minister noted.

Considering that, demanding that Ukraine retake all land within its 1991 borders amounts to a “call for genocide” against Russian speakers living in those territories, Lavrov stated.

Western support for the ‘Zelensky formula’ is now becoming part of an effort to find an off-ramp, the diplomat argued, adding that the US and its allies want to wind down the conflict and declare Kiev the winner. Western officials do not care that such a declaration would not be grounded in reality, not unlike Soviet officials, who declared unrealistic production plans and cooked their books to falsify achievements, Lavrov said.

“What the West is doing now resembles the worst examples of gaslighting by officials [in the USSR],” the foreign minister concluded.