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2 Mar, 2024 13:03

Moscow has received no ‘serious’ proposals for talks with Kiev – Lavrov

Russia has repeatedly stated it is ready for peace negotiations with Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said
Moscow has received no ‘serious’ proposals for talks with Kiev – Lavrov

Moscow has not abandoned the idea of peace talks with Kiev but has seen no genuine desire for this on the part of Ukraine or its Western backers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference in Antalya on Saturday.

Russia has not seen any “serious” negotiation proposals since the failed spring 2022 Istanbul peace deal, the foreign minister told journalists at the Diplomacy Forum in the Turkish city. Earlier this week, Türkiye’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that his nation was ready to host peace talks between Moscow and Kiev and act as a mediator in this process.

This is not a question for us,” he said, when asked about the potential talks and Ankara’s readiness to provide a platform for such a dialogue.

“We confirm once again… that Russia has never given up on [peace] talks,” Lavrov said, adding that this question has been raised “more than a dozen of times.”

In November, David Arakhamia – who was Ukraine’s top negotiator in Istanbul – stated that then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had traveled to Kiev and persuaded Vladimir Zelensky’s government to withdraw from the talks. Johnson himself has denied any role in this.

In autumn 2022, Zelensky issued a decree banning Ukraine from holding any talks with the current Russian leadership. He also put forward his own peace plan, which has subsequently become known as “Zelensky’s formula.” This plan demanded that Russia withdraw its forces from all the territories Kiev claims as its own before any talks could even be launched.

Moscow dismissed this plan as absurd and is blaming Kiev and its backers in the West for refusing any meaningful dialogue. It also said it was ready for peace talks as long as the reality on the ground is taken into account.

On Saturday, Lavrov said that the “legitimate interests” of the people of Donbass have never been taken into account by Kiev Western nations. When those people were still formally citizens of the Ukrainian state, the governments of the former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko and Zelensky were “consistently denying them their rights,” he added.

“We have no lack of goodwill [for talks],” Lavrov said, adding that Moscow “sees the lack of it on the other side.” The West also lacks “understanding” of the situation on the ground and still seeks Russia’s defeat through military means, he added.