According to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Moscow has rejected the “peace formula” put out by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a starting point for negotiations and thinks Kyiv is still not prepared for serious negotiations.
Lavrov also called Kyiv’s aspirations of forcing Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western assistance “an illusion,” according to Reuters. The remarks made by the seasoned Russian diplomat are the most recent illustration of the disparity in views between Moscow and Kyiv and how unlikely it is that the two governments will engage in negotiations to end the war, which is now in its eleventh month.
Ukrainian sources said heavy Russian missile attack, including explosions in major cities, including the capital Kyiv and Kharkiv, occurred hours after Lavrov dismissed Zelenskyy’s plan.
Zelenskyy has been fervently promoting a ten-point peace proposal that calls on Russia to respect and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all of its soldiers.
However, Moscow has argued that Kyiv must first recognize Russia’s annexation of Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south and Luhansk and Donetsk in the east. According to Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, “that does not take into account today’s realities regarding Russian territory, with the entry of four regions into Russia.”
Lavrov declared on Thursday that Russia will keep advancing its military and technological prowess in Ukraine. Additionally, he emphasized that while many mobilized forces were now on the ground and had received “serious training,” the majority were still not at the front.
Lavrov said that new strategies are being developed by his country’s armed forces to stop the Ukrainian troops from receiving supplies of weapons and ammunition that are being sent from abroad.
The statements made by the Russian foreign minister appear to be at odds with previous remarks made by President Vladimir Putin that seemed to indicate a readiness to resume negotiations. Putin’s claims have been labelled as false by the US and Ukraine.
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In the meanwhile, Ukraine is aiming for a February peace meeting organized by the UN. Zelenskyy has been pleading with the heads of the G20 and G7 groups for the past two months to endorse his idea for the summit, which he said would centre on his peace plan “as a whole or some specific points in particular.”
Zelenskyy discussed his peace plan with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. India will chair over the G20 for the next year. India’s government has not yet responded to Zelenskyy’s proposal, but Modi assured the Ukrainian president that New Delhi would back any effort to mediate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Later, Zelenskyy tweeted that he was “counting on” India to back his proposal.
During his visit to Washington, DC, in December, Zelenskyy also discussed the proposal with US President Joe Biden. Zelenskyy urged his country’s parliament to keep its unity on Wednesday and thanked Ukrainians for helping the West “find itself again.”
In a speech delivered annually behind closed doors, Putin declared that “our national colours are today an international symbol of courage and indomitability of the whole world.”