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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

West has ‘no honest arguments’ on Ukraine – Lavrov

NATO countries prefer “slogans” over substantive dialogue, the Russian foreign minister said

The West does not want to take an honest look at the origins of the Ukraine crisis, and only resorts to pinning the blame on Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the UN on Wednesday.

“Today, the rhetoric of our opponents is filled with slogans: ‘invasion’, ‘aggression’, ‘annexation.’ And not a single word about the root causes of the problem,” Lavrov said in a speech at the UN Security Council.

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He went on to accuse the West of “fostering a blatantly Nazi regime [in Ukraine], which has been openly rewriting the results of World War II and the history of its own people.”

“The West is avoiding having a substantial discussion based on facts and the respect for all tenets of the [UN] Charter. Apparently, it doesn’t have arguments for an honest dialogue,” the minister said.

Moscow has insisted that it was forced to launch its military operation in Ukraine last year in order to protect the people of Donbas and has cited Kyiv’s failure to implement the 2014-2015 Minsk peace accords. The West has also thrown its support behind the nationalists, who came to power during the 2014 coup in Kiev, Russian officials have said.

Lavrov accused the Ukrainian authorities of stonewalling peace negotiations. He noted that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky issued a decree in October 2022, in which he stated “the impossibility of conducting negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

“If the US is interested in [negotiations], I believe it wouldn’t be difficult for them to instruct [Kiev] to have Zelensky’s decree revoked,” Lavrov said.

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Meaningful negotiations between Russia and Ukraine broke down in the spring of 2022, with both sides blaming each other. Putin said Ukrainian negotiators approved a draft treaty on Kiev’s neutrality – one of Moscow’s key demands – but later went back on their words, “throwing away” the agreement.

Kiev has since insisted that negotiations can resume only after Moscow surrenders Crimea and four other former Ukrainian territories, which joined Russia after holding referendums in 2014 and September 2022 respectively. Moscow has repeatedly rejected this condition as unacceptable.