Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Western countries were quietly changing their strategy regarding the war in Ukraine.
“‘Calls’ begin, whispers, like: why don’t you meet someone in Europe who would be ready to talk and talk about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Lavrov told state news agencies RIA Novosti and Rossiya 24, according to a Google translation of the interview transcript shared by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“They boasted about their position that ‘not a word about Ukraine without Ukraine.'” There are hints and leaks in Western media that the West now wants to look for a way out of this situation, but (by) means that would still allow Ukraine to declare victory.”
Russia says the goals of its large-scale military invasion of Ukraine, during which it occupied swathes of internationally recognized Ukrainian territory, are “demilitarization” and “denazification.” Moscow calls its activity in Ukraine a “special military operation” and has repeatedly accused Western countries, particularly the United States, of waging a proxy war.
Asked about the next phase of the conflict, Lavrov said Russia would continue to pursue its stated goals.
“Especially in the context where the West is really changing its tactics, perhaps… even thinking about clarifying the strategy. Because if the “strategic defeat” of Russia is a strategy, forgive the tautology “So she failed miserably,” he said.
Ukrainian officials strongly reject any suggestion of a deal that does not involve the full withdrawal of Russian forces and the restoration of Ukraine’s pre-war borders. Lavrov on Thursday criticized the 10-point peace plan drawn up by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in November 2022, which he said should be supported by G7 members and other allies early next year.
Ukraine and Russia have suffered heavy losses since the February 2022 invasion, and questions loom over the future of the conflict after the Ukrainian counter-offensive on the occupied lines progressed more slowly than expected.
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