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19 Apr, 2024 10:20

No ceasefire with Ukraine even if talks start – Lavrov

Moscow has no reason to believe Ukraine will keep its promises, the Russian foreign minister has said
No ceasefire with Ukraine even if talks start – Lavrov

Russia has no intention of ceasing hostilities with Ukraine even if the two countries engage in peace talks, as Kiev has proven itself to be an unreliable actor, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

In an interview with Russian media on Friday, the diplomat stressed that Moscow does not trust the leadership in Kiev.

“We have said that we are ready for the negotiations, but – unlike the Istanbul story – we will not make any pauses in the fighting during the negotiations. The process must go on,” he said.

The two sides have not directly talked to each other since their sit-down in Istanbul in late March 2022. Russia, which initially expressed satisfaction with results of the meeting and withdrew its forces from the outskirts of Kiev as a goodwill gesture, later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all progress achieved in Türkiye, saying it had lost trust in Kiev’s negotiators.

The foreign minister noted that a major obstacle to any peace process that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “forbid himself from negotiating” with the current authorities in Moscow. He was referring to a decree that Zelensky signed in the fall of 2022, which banned his government from any talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The realities on the ground have changed “significantly” since the time when the Istanbul negotiations took place, and “those realities must be taken into account,” Lavrov stressed.

He clarified that he was talking not only about the situation on the frontline, where Russian forces have recently been making gains, but also the fact that the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which joined Russia as a result of referendums in the fall 2022, are now parts of the country in line with the Constitution. “Everybody should understand this very well,” the diplomat stressed.

Lavrov said it is “absolutely clear” to Moscow that Kiev and its Western backers “do not understand this and... are not even ready to look for any hypothetical compromises.”

Since late 2022, Zelensky has been promoting his so-called ‘peace formula,’ which calls for Russia to withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev and pay reparations, and for the formation of a war crimes tribunal.

The Russian foreign minister again outright rejected the plan, calling it an “ultimatum” that provided for no alternative solutions.