Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued an ultimatum to Ukraine: Meet Moscow’s demands — including the handover of Ukrainian territory now controlled by Russia — or the Russian military will decide Ukraine’s fate.
Speaking a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin again said he was open to peace talks – which the United States has called dishonorable – Lavrov told Kyiv that it should, for its own “interest”, comply with Moscow’s wishes.
“Our proposals to disarm and disarm the areas controlled by the regime and eliminate security threats to Russia from there, including our new lands, are known to the enemy,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by the official Tass news agency. Monday.
“The point is simple: do it for your own good. Otherwise, the Russian military will decide.”
In response to a question from TASS about the duration of the conflict, Lavrov said: “The ball is in the court of the regime and Washington is behind it.”
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said again that Moscow was open to negotiations and blamed Kyiv and its Western backers for not holding talks, comments the United States denied as dishonest.
As the war enters its eleventh month and despite countless battlefield setbacks for Moscow, Russian forces are engaged in fierce fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine, while missile and drone attacks have devastated Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, leaving millions of people without electricity, heat and water. .
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his video address Monday night that the situation on the front lines in the Donbass region is “difficult and painful” and requires all the country’s “strength and focus”. He said that in the wake of Russia’s targeting of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, nearly nine million people are now without electricity. This figure represents about a quarter of the population of Ukraine.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians were also killed in the cities. Russia fell to the ground and thousands of soldiers were killed on both sides.
Putin, who hosted leaders of the former Soviet Union in St Petersburg on Monday for a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, did not directly refer to the war in Ukraine but said threats to the security and stability of the Eurasian region were increasing.
“Unfortunately, the challenges and threats in this field, especially from abroad, are increasing every year,” he said.
Since the February invasion, Ukraine has driven Russian forces from the north, defeating them on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, and forcing Russian forces to retreat to the east and south. But Moscow still controls large swathes of the eastern and southern regions that Putin claims to annex.