Sergei Lavrov says US is ‘leaving war against Russia’
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Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said that Russia is “almost” in a conventional war with the West as the Kremlin fumes at the level of support for Ukraine. His comments come as the US and European nations pledge billions in military aid for Ukraine to help the country fight off Russia’s invading forces.
Mr Lavrov’s made his remarks on Monday while on a state visit to South Africa. He said the was could no longer be branded a “hybrid” conflict and is now “almost a real one.”
He added: “It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict,’ Lavrov said.
“It is well known and was published openly that our American, British, and some European colleagues told Ukraine that it is too early to deal, and the arrangement which was almost agreed was never revisited by the Kyiv regime.”
This week, tanks have been a key subject of debate in Europe as leaders assess how best to help Ukraine win the war.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country needs as many tanks as possible to gain the upper hand.
The UK and France are among the countries that will send tanks to Kyiv, and the US has announced additional military aid worth around £2billion.
Despite pressure from other Western allies, Germany is yet to commit to sending its Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine.
A peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine remains an ambitious objective. Ukraine has said it will not back down until the Russians have fully retreated from Ukrainian territory, including the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
But Russia wants control of areas in the east and south of Ukraine before it considers a peace process.
On Monday, Mr Lavrov met with South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor. She said that her country is trying to support a “peaceful resolution” in Ukraine.
Ms Pandor added: “We are fully alert that conflict, wherever it exists in the world, impacts negatively on all of us, and as the developing world it impacts on us, particularly as the African continent.
“This is why as South Africa we consistently articulate that we will always stand ready to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the continent and throughout the globe.”
More to follow…
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