Amid Ukraine’s effective counter-offensive, Russia’s FM Lavrov proposes negotiations with Kyiv

12 September, 11:18 AM
Russia demonstrates a flexible position against the background of a successful counteroffensive of the Armed Forces (Photo:Alexander Zemlianichenko / Pool via REUTERS)

Russia demonstrates a flexible position against the background of a successful counteroffensive of the Armed Forces (Photo:Alexander Zemlianichenko / Pool via REUTERS)

Moscow is not against negotiations with Kyiv, amid the broad Ukrainian counter-offensive in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the propagandist TV channel Russia-1 on Sept. 11.

"Our position was stated by the President,” he explained, referring to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

"We are not against negotiations, we do not refuse to negotiate.”

Traditional threats were also voiced by the Russian diplomat: according to the official, "the more they (Ukraine) delay this process, the more difficult it will be to agree."

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"There is a recent historical example when an agreement was reached in Istanbul in late March, based on the proposals made by the Ukrainian delegation," Lavrov said.

“We supported this approach. Ukrainians themselves refused it. A provocation was staged in Bucha two days later.”

Bucha was the site of wide-ranging atrocities, committed by occupying Russian forces outside Kyiv. The Russian Federation has persisted in calling Bucha a ‘provocation’, engaging in genocide denial. 

After the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, Moscow and Kyiv held a series from talks in February to March.

According to Ukrainian negotiators, initially, Moscow set ultimatums, actually demanding Ukraine's surrender.

On March 29, a face-to-face meeting of the delegations took place in Istanbul, following which the Ukrainian delegation presented the idea of a new system of security guarantees for Ukraine in exchange for Kyiv's refusal to join NATO, which would provide for immediate military assistance from the UN Security Council member states in case of aggression.

Ukraine then began negotiations with possible security guarantors.

However, further negotiations between Ukraine and Russia stalled as the Kremlin, after withdrawing its troops from the north of Ukraine, focused on the goal of completely capturing Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

According to Mykhailo Podolyak, a member of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation and presidential advisor, the talks were held exclusively on humanitarian issues.

But after six months of war, Russian plans to capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast by Sept. 15 are likely to fall through, following their retreat from the whole of Kharkiv Oblast by Sept. 11.

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