Lavrov: Ukraine must demilitarize or Russia will do it

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Tuesday that Ukraine must meet Moscow’s demands for “demilitarization” and “denazification,” as well as end the military threat to Russia. , otherwise “solve the Russian military (exercise) problem.”

Sergei Lavrov also accused the West of fueling the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia, saying it was up to Kyiv and Washington how long the conflict, which began on February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine, would last. its okay.

“As far as the duration of the conflict is concerned, the ball is in the court of the (Kyiv) government and Washington is standing behind it,” Lavrov told the state-run Tass news agency. “They can stop senseless resistance at any time.”

In an apparent response, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted that “Russia needs to face reality.”

“Neither full mobilization, panicked exploration of ammunition, secret deals with Iran, nor Lavrov’s threats will help,” he said. “Ukraine will demilitarize the RF (Russian Federation) to the end, expel the invaders from all occupied territories. Quietly wait for the finale…”

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A day before this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Koliba, said in an interview to the Associated Press. That his government wants a summit to end the war but does not expect Russia to participate.

Koliba said Ukraine wanted a “peace” summit within two months with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acting as mediator. But he also said Russia would have to face a war crimes tribunal before his country could talk directly with Moscow.

Both statements illustrate how complicated and difficult any effort to end war can be. Ukraine has said in the past that it will not negotiate with Russia before the full withdrawal of its troops, while Moscow insists its military achievements and annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 cannot be ignored.

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Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued on Tuesday in the Russian-claimed regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have been the scene of some of the worst clashes in recent memory.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hina Miliar said that Russian forces are trying to surround the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, but have not succeeded. Luhansk Governor Serhii Hedai said heavy fighting is also ongoing around the city of Karimna in the Luhansk region.

In the partially occupied southern Kherson region, Russian forces shelled Ukrainian-held areas 40 times on Monday, wounding one person, Ukrainian officials said. The city of Kherson itself – which Ukraine retook in a major victory last month – was hit 11 times, regional administrator Yaroslav Yanoshivitch said.

Since its initial advances at the start of the war 10 months ago, Russia has made few major gains, often overwhelming Ukraine’s infrastructure and leaving millions without electricity, heating and hot water in wintry conditions. give

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Lavrov did not specify how the Russian military would achieve its goals of demilitarizing and de-Nazifying Ukraine — Russia’s stated goal at the time of the February invasion. “Denazification” refers to Russian accusations that the Ukrainian government is heavily influenced by radical nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. This claim has been ridiculed by Ukraine and the West.

Lavrov warned that further Western support for Ukraine could lead to direct conflict.

“We continue to warn our adversaries in the West about the dangers of their path to escalating the Ukrainian crisis,” he said, adding that “the risk of the situation spiraling out of control is high.”

“The strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to achieve victory against Russia on the battlefield to significantly weaken or destroy our country,” he said.


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