Moscow Demands Ukraine Surrender or Face Battlefield ‘Elimination’
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine and its western allies of trying to destroy his country late Monday night, demanding Kyiv accept Moscow’s prescription for ending the war or be “eliminated” on the battlefield.
Reuters reports Lavrov’s comments came against a backdrop of continued heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine and followed Russian President Vladimir Putin hinting he was open to negotiations, but only on Moscow’s terms.
Putin said on Sunday the Kremlin was “ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions” while blaming Kyiv for the lack of diplomatic progress so far.
Moscow’s terms include Ukraine recognising Russia’s conquest of a fifth of its territory. Kyiv, armed and supported by the U.S. and its NATO allies, says it will recover its occupied territory and drive out all Russian soldiers.“Our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the territories controlled by the regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy,” state news agency TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
“The point is simple: Fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”
It is 10 months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and, with no serious peace talks for months, there is little end in sight.
Just last week, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was visiting Washington, the U.S. announced another $1.85 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, including a transfer of the Patriot Air Defense System, angering Moscow.
“It is no secret to anyone that the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country,” Lavrov told TASS.
Millions of Ukrainians have fled their country and millions of those left behind are without electricity due to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.
But Ukraine says it will not negotiate until every Russian soldier has left its territory, while Moscow insists it will keep fighting until it achieves its battlefield objectives.
Putin has warned the military action is “defending our national interests…protect(ing) our citizens” and any negotiations must be on terms set by the Kremlin.
Ukraine says this would be unacceptable, as it would mean bowing to Russian demands and accepting Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
As recently as Saturday Russian shells pummeled the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, killing seven people and injuring 58 more in the city Moscow’s forces were forced to abandon last month.
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