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30 May, 2024 05:53

Kiev ‘war party’ making peace talks impossible – Lavrov

The country’s rulers don’t care about the people, the Russian foreign minister has claimed
Kiev ‘war party’ making peace talks impossible – Lavrov

The current authorities in Kiev are “indifferent” to the interests of the Ukrainian people, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, reiterating that Moscow considers Vladimir Zelensky an illegitimate leader. 

Ukraine was due to hold a presidential election on March 31, but the vote was suspended indefinitely due to martial law imposed after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state in February 2022. Zelensky’s term was supposed to expire on May 20. 

In an interview with Rossiya Segodnya published on Thursday, Lavrov remained skeptical about a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. 

“The ‘war party’ is in power in Kiev, and it is trying, in their own words, to achieve victory ‘on the battlefield.’ It is hard to imagine dialogue about peace in such circumstances,” he said.

He added that the prospects of talks were further complicated by Zelensky’s 2022 decree on the “impossibility” of negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As for Zelensky’s current status, Lavrov pointed to Putin’s recent press conference in which he argued that Zelensky has lost his legitimacy.

“We hope that sooner or later, political actors will emerge in Ukraine that are not indifferent to the interests of the people,” Lavrov said. “As for now, there is no other option but to continue the special military operation until its goals are met.” 

In order for diplomacy to succeed, “the West must stop pumping Ukraine with weapons, and Kiev must stop the fighting,” the foreign minister stated. “The quicker it happens, the sooner political settlement will begin.” 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Putin argued that Ukraine’s legislation regulating martial law “contradicts” the Ukrainian Constitution because the constitution does not mention extensions of presidential terms. Citing a “preliminary analysis,” Putin suggested that, instead of Zelensky, Ukraine’s parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – and its speaker have “the only legitimate power” in the country.

Rada Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that “Vladimir Zelensky will remain as president of Ukraine until the end of martial law, all in accordance with the Constitution and Ukrainian laws.”

Meaningful negotiations between Russia and Ukraine broke down in spring 2022 after Kiev walked away from engagement on the advice of the UK. Putin has dismissed the upcoming June summit in Switzerland as an attempt to pressure Russia into accepting Kiev’s demands. Russia has not been invited to the talks.