Zelensky's Conditions on Resumption of Talks With Russia 'Not Serious', Lavrov Says
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Conditions put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the resumption of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, and on his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin are "not serious," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
"If you are talking about who wants and who is ready for negotiations, then Zelensky recently gave [a statement] - he gives something every day - an interview and said that he was prepared for negotiations, but negotiations can only be between him and Putin. Allegedly, it does not make sense to do this at any other level. The talks, in his opinion, should be held without any intermediaries and only after Ukraine regains control of the territory as of 23 February. The fact that this is not serious does not need to be explained and proved to anyone," Lavrov told RT Arabic.
Top Russian diplomat also repeatedly warned the West against supplying Ukraine with weapons capable of striking targets inside Russia.
"We warned the West in the most serious way that they are already, in fact, waging a proxy war with the Russian Federation with the hands, bodies, brains of Ukrainian neo-Nazis, but this will be a serious step towards an unacceptable escalation. I hope that sane minds in the West ... they understand it," Lavrov said.
The minister also touched upon the topic of US military presence in Syria.
"There [in Syria] there are still units of the armed forces of states that no one invited there. The American military, which has occupied a significant part of the eastern bank of the Euphrates, is still there and openly creates a quasi-state formation there, directly encouraging separatism, using a part of the Kurdish population of Iraq for this purpose," Lavrov told RT Arabic, adding that the US aims to keep Syria "in crisis" and resume hostilities.
However, Russia will continue to provide humanitarian support to Syria, the minister emphasized.
Commenting on other pressing issues of global agenda, Mr Lavrov spoke about joint drills recently conducted by the air forces of Russia and China. He said that the exercises were aimed at strengthening regional security.
"This is a continuation of our cooperation aimed at strengthening security in this region, complementing regular military activities: exercises, training held for anti-terrorist purposes, strengthening the security of our common borders within the framework of the SCO [the Shanghai Cooperation Organization," the minister said.
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