The top Russian diplomat has once again charged that Kiev's backers failed to follow through on the Minsk agreements
Ukraine's Western supporters are the ones that undercut the country's territorial integrity by effectively reneging on the Minsk agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed. The diplomat added that despite talk of potential negotiations coming from Western capitals of late, Moscow has yet to see readiness for serious dialogue.
In an interview with TASS published on Thursday, Lavrov speculated that Kiev's backers are likely seeking a few months' respite to supply Ukraine with more weapons. He suggested that this was the pattern first tried back in 2014-2015 when France and Germany brokered the Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 agreements, putting an end to the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass. Ukraine, however, never kept its side of the deal, with Berlin and Paris fully aware that Kiev had no such intentions in the first place, Lavrov recounted, citing last year's admissions made by former French President Francois Hollande, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko.
According to Lavrov, the West used the accords as a mere ploy to buy time and beef up the Ukrainian military.
"If they had complied with the Minsk agreements, then Ukraine's territorial integrity would have been ensured," the diplomat alleged, adding that this was the whole point of the accords, which also called for a special status for the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
Lavrov went on to say that Russia was ready to negotiate with Ukraine as recently as last April, but that London and Washington had intervened.
The minister noted that while Moscow is ready for peace talks in principle, it would not agree to an immediate ceasefire this time around. Lavrov lamented a lack of any "serious [peace] proposal on the part of the West" so far, with the latter insisting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's peace formula as the only possible framework for negotiations.
The top diplomat described the Ukrainian head of state's vision of peace as a "pure ultimatum," which Russia would never accept.
Earlier this month, commenting on a remark by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said that "it takes two to tango" and accused Russia of being unwilling to negotiate with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that the "Americans, they don't know how to do this tango themselves."
The Russian leader maintained that Washington typically deals "with everything from a position of power," resorting to economic sanctions, financial restrictions, threats, and force.